As an avid lover of horror films, I have grown accustomed to the gore, story lines and typical plot twists. The gorier and the creepier the better in my opinion. During my extensive movie watching career I’ve noticed a trend in the roles portrayed by women. From my observations (countless hours of watching movies) I’ve come up with a simple list of female stereotypes found in horror movies and I’ve also included their male counterparts.
Let us begin our journey…
The Ditsy Cheerleader and the Jock
The ditz/dumb blonde/cheerleader or even a combination of all three is a staple female character in nearly all horror films. This female character always opens the wrong door, is oblivious to her impending doom, trips and falls during a chase scene, and screams the loudest throughout the movie. I present to you with Cindy, played by Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise.
Her counterpart is in fact the jock. Often chauvinistic, he exudes everything masculine, and demands respect. More often than not he is also the bully, creating more problems than he solves. His domineering and cocky take on life is often the source of his own demise. The jock is usually the love interest of the cheerleader type in the film. Today’s jock example is the character of Carter in the Final Destination movie.
The Virgin and… the Virgin
She is almost always the portrayal of innocence or levelheadedness sometimes known as “the girl with the mysterious past”. Typically the virgin is a Caucasian female with brown or simply non blonde hair and average or subtle beauty. She normally evades the killer at the last second. There are only two scenarios for the virgin, either she lives and goes on to the sequels or she is killed off as a virgin sacrifice. Most memorable movie virgins are Sidney in the Scream films, and Laurie Strode from the Halloween franchise.
The male counterpart to the female virgin… is also a virgin. The same rules apply to the male, he is of average sex appeal and very levelheaded. But this counterpart almost always dies in a sacrificial way. However, Randy from Scream survived as a movie virgin, at least in the first film.
The Fighter and the Warrior
This female is probably the most respectable. This female character is typically cast as the lead. She has that much required survivor mentality, and is looked up to every other character in the film except for maybe the “ man-eater”. We root for the survival of this character throughout the entire film, because of her conservative mannerisms and outspoken views. I found my example in the lead of the movie The Descent.
Her counterpart, the warrior, is strong and cautious, as well as great with his hands. This male is often the group leader due to superior instincts and creativity in the face of adversity. The warrior almost always survivors or makes it close to the end of the movie. Meet Adrien Brody from Predators
The Man-eater and the Bad Boy
This sexy woman has one role in the film… to look good and take names. She is there to look sexy and be the object of desire for either the male virgin or some other male lead. She is the quintessential obtainable yet unobtainable beauty. This promiscuous vixen is either cast as an evil succubus or oversexed bad girl. Her character almost always dies after having had some kind of sexual interaction on screen; but if cast as the evildoer she is always trumped in the end by either the virgin male or female. Fellas I present you with Jennifer, played by Megan Fox, in Jennifer’s Body.
The bad boy: Sexy eye candy for the females, this mister mysterious is the object of desire for the female virgin and other less significant female roles. This guy is the epitome of sex appeal and the definition of aloof with his leather jacket and beat up mustang. His goal in the horror movie is convince everyone that he isn’t the killer while popping up at inopportune times to make the audience believe he could be the killer. Drugs in tow this bad boy always finds himself in trouble. Ladies I give you the character of Zeke in the Faculty.
Token “non white” person
Their jobs are to be the best friend, the teammate, or the comic relief. This character doesn’t necessarily have to be black, just any race other than Caucasian. Sadly neither holds any significant importance other than to diversify the cast, and give witty or encouraging remarks. This character is neck and neck with the cheerleader when it comes to the first to die. The picture above is from I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. The gif is from Not Another Teen Movie.
Whether intentional or not, each horror movie I’ve ever seen includes at least one of the female characters from my list.
For more discussion on stereotypes and roles found in movies check out these links below: