• Martin Gylding Lindved
4. term, English, Master (Master Programme)
The Purpose of this thesis is to examine the Final Girl as she appears in Halloween (2018) as well as the Final Girl of slasher films from the 1980s for the sake of understanding a difference or similarity between the 1980s’ American society and contemporary American society as well as perceive a possible change of the representation of the Final Girl herself. The assumption was that the representation of the Final Girl would reflect contemporary ideals and social issues for reason of her being the character to survive unlike her friends.

That horror films reflect social concerns was supported through research stating that horror films of the 1980’s represented anxiety regarding nuclear annihiliation and the AIDS epidemic. To represent such concern was of course not only seen with horror films but generally with pop culture of the time. Moreover, horror films and slasher films alike came to reflect reactions to Reagan and his politics that would primarily benefit the upper class while the lower class would suffer. Regarding women’s movement, the NOW faced much backlash from supporters of Reagan’s ideology that were nostalgic for the 1950s. These patriarchal values contrasted directly with the organization’s wish to create equality for women in both their homes as well as in the work force. Aforementioned supporters of Regan, that encompassed outspoken conservative like radio personality Rush Limbaugh, ridiculed the organization for reason of their politics clashing with Reagan’s. It was during this backlash that the slasher film came along and gained much success. Some believe that the genre was successful because it was considered to be part of the backlash against feminism. This was believed because the slasher film seemed to promote conservative ideology by way of being about promiscuous teenagers being killed as punishment for not being proper.

When looking at the origin of the slasher genre, it is believed that the desire to enjoy grotesque violence signifies a civilized society. Furthermore, discourse surrounding the promotion of controversial films and have them be made with small budgets turned out to be important for their success. Additionally, the slasher film was formed by elements coming from films before it, and these elements were all part of the original Halloween. Halloween itself did however invent the concept of the Killer being indestructible, which future slasher films would adopt for the sake of guaranteeing franchises.

It was understood that the Final Girl has both been seen as a feminist icon and also as a male surrogate. This was problematic due to the understanding that the character cannot be both simultaneously due to these two terms contradicting each other. Furthermore, it was regarded that there were different reasons for considering the character ato be a feminist icon, mainly either by considering her being proactive and surviving or by her getting revenge through means comparable to the Killer.

When looking at the modern Halloween film, it was discovered that the film may reflect contemporary social concerns while also intentionally invoke nostalgia for slasher films. To do so makes sense as it is illustrated in the film itself that slasher films do not belong into a modern context due to the genre not being as extreme when being compared to contemporary issues. It was furthermore surprising that the film can be argued to be even more conservative than those of the 1980s. This may be due to the political climate of 2018 being comparable to the 1980s’ due to a likewise controversial president and an ongoing backlash against media being considered feministic. In connection to such media, it is possible the film is intended to be viewed as a feministic film similar to other contemporary horror films and that this may be the main motivation behind the filmmaking opposed to financial gain. Likewise, the film’s feministic message promoting women working together correlate with a postmodern understanding of the Final Girl that is different from the term’s original meaning while it also compares the Final Girl with the Killer of a slasher film. However, it was concluded that it is the discourse surrounding the Final Girl that has changed opposed to the definition and representation of the character herself as even older examples otherwise not considered to be Final Girls can both be viewed from this definition as well as from a postfeminist perspective that would consider such character to be a feminist icons.
Publication date1 Jun 2020
Number of pages62
ID: 333418623