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The term "Final Girl" was termed by Carol J. Clover in her book Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. It refers to the last person standing, who is usually a female, in horror films, particularly slasher films. The final girl is also the one who (usually) tells the story. Examples of the final girl can be found in films such as; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974/2003), Friday 13th(1980), Scream (1996), Alien (1979), Halloween(1978) and Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

The final girl has an androgynous name, is virginal and pure - or at least avoids vices, and possibly a shared history with the killer. Since the murderer is usually an effeminate male - the gender of both hero and bad guy is fluid.

The final character must show terror in order for the audience to identify with them, and to enjoy the slasher film. Thus, Clover argues that the final character must be female, as a male-dominated audience would reject the portrayal of abject terror in the hypothetical "final male". Therefore, whilst the killer is male, the audience is rooting for the final girl, the female, to win. Thus, the final girl theory was the turning point in Feminist Horror Film Theory.

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