Who’s the Best Slasher Nemesis?

As slasher films continue to get sequel after sequel, it reaches a point that the villain is the only character we’re following through and connecting with film to film.  But that doesn’t stop them from being defeated each time, and quite often, the ones who defeat them become just as iconic as the slasher villains themselves.

They’re sometimes referred to as the final girl, however not all are female, and we’re not quite looking at just final girls, we’re analyzing people who have gained the rank of slasher nemesis.  Here we’re defining slasher nemesis as a character who did battle with, and defeated the villain at least twice on film.

We’ve decided to take a closer look at a few of them and rank them from, shall we say, least compelling to most interesting.  We’ll be looking at their character growth (across multiple films), their creativity in winning at the end, as well as their resilience and strength time after time as they fight their slasher villain.

7. Andy Barclay (Child’s Play franchise)

While Andy spends the first two films as a cute and innocent kid, we can’t help for feel immensely for him.  After all (unlike the others on this list), he’s just merely a small child dealing with a psychotic killer.  But as he grows up, he stops being quite as compelling.  In Child’s Play 3, he’s kind of a generic whiny teenager and is so uninteresting that the franchise continued on without him.

When he was finally brought back in Cult of Chucky, it seemed like little more than fan service, and the main plot barely involved him at all.  It was as if by now the series didn’t know what to do with Andy.  His character just seemed to work better as a little kid.

6. Tommy Jarvis (Friday the 13th franchise)

Much like the misfortunate Andy Barclay, Tommy Jarvis is another character whose franchise wasn’t really sure what to do with.  His only real strong portrayal was his first by Corey Feldman as just a young boy.

He brought a real vulnerability to the role.  Aside from his small cameo in the opening of the next film, recasting Jarvis became the worst thing for the character.  He spent the next two films as nothing more than a boy crying wolf and being ignored by everyone.

5. Marybeth Dunstan (Hatchet franchise)

On the subject of recasting, sometimes it can work for the benefit of a character.  Tamara Feldman (now Amara Zaragoza) did a decent job in the first film, but Marybeth didn’t really come into her own until Hatchet II with Danielle Harris in the role.

Harris brought a bold determination and a spirit that refused to be broken.  Given that these films have the unique narrative of only taking place one day after another, we don’t get as much chronological time with Marybeth’s growth, but it’s still evident.  However, given the inconsistency with how she was played from one film to the next, we can’t have her higher on this list.

4. Dr. Samuel Loomis (Halloween franchise)

Perhaps some may riot that the iconic Dr. Loomis only occupied the fourth spot on this list, and while not knocking him or Donald Pleasance’s brilliant performances, he’s here for a reason.  While most of the other characters on this list could be considered “final girls”, he’s perhaps the only one that really fits the term “slasher nemesis”.

In the first film, Loomis provides an excellent counterfoil to Michael Myers, and his entire speech about the nature of evil really sums up who and what Myers is.  That said, over the films, he becomes little more than a gimmick spouting out this same speech, becoming ever more insane himself.

He drops a few points not from his awesome portrayal in the original, but for how he seemed to become more tired and weary as each sequel went on.

3. Sidney Prescott (Scream franchise)

Unlike any other on this list, Sidney is aware of horror clichés and uses this knowledge to her advantage.  She’s the very embodiment of what it means to be a survivor, rather than just a victim.

Between the trauma of her past, and dealing with killers every few years of her life, it’s amazing that she remains as strong and resilient as she does.  The moment she decides to leave the door unlocked at the end of Scream 3 demonstrates that despite enduring all this, she will not live in fear.  In many ways, she’s the ultimate final girl who spins the tropes on their heads.

The only reason she sits at 3rd rather than 2nd or 1st is because sadly she’s kind of treated as an afterthought in Scream 3 and Scream 4.  She definitely deserved to be given better material in those later sequels!

2. Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise)

Who else felt like Nancy never got as much credit as the others listed here?!  While she only technically appeared in two films (three if you count New Nightmare), she was a clever and determined character.

In just her first cinematic appearance, she unraveled the truth about Freddy Krueger, figured out how to bring him into the real world, and Home Alone’d her house in order to trap him.  Then when we meet her again several years later, she manages to train a team of terrified teens to fight back and become the titular Dream Warriors.

Unlike every other character from this list, Nancy not only survived for herself, but taught others how to do the same, and that’s pretty damn impressive!

1. Laurie Strode (Halloween franchise)

How could it be anyone else, other than the original final girl herself?!  Clocking in a total of five film appearances (with two more on the way), Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie is one of the few characters we’ve been able to see grow from a teenager to grandmother, and that grown truly feels earned.

While her continuities haven’t always been the same, the one thing that has remained is a woman determined not to let the trauma of her past define her.  Sometimes that involved starting a new life with a new name like in H20, or sometimes it meant going full badass Sarah Connor as she did in Halloween (2018).

And it’s really her portrayal in this most recent film that solidifies her number 1 spot on the list.   Nancy may have mastered the art of Dream Warrior, but Laurie became a real life warrior/survivalist who went to head to head with Michael Myers, and even pulled his signature move on him after she disappeared when he looked back where she had fallen.  We can only wait with eager anticipation to see what they do with her in the next two films!

No matter how the rankings go, each of these characters is worthy of mad respect and admiration.  They say a hero is only as good as their villain, but perhaps in horror the roles are reversed!  What do you think of our rankings?! Who is your favorite/least favorite?  Tell us in the comments below!

For more rankings, reviews, and other fun horror posts, follow Halloween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!

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