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SYFY WIRE Halloween

Celebrating the first Final Girl: Jamie Lee Curtis' greatest 'Halloween' moments

As Jamie Lee Curtis closes out her iconic Halloween run as Laurie Strode, SYFY WIRE honors the first Final Girl.

By Tara Bennett
Halloween Kills Still Jamie Lee Curtis

When you think of the horror genre's "Final Girl" most go right to the pinnacle example: Halloween's Laurie Strode. As a young actress starring in Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis helped define a new kind of modern horror with director John Carpenter. Laurie Strode was the everygirl, who could be from any town being relentlessly stalked by the boogeyman come to life, Michael Myers. With the release of Halloween Ends in theaters and on Peacock today, Curtis has played the character in seven films over a span of 44 years. In those appearances, we've seen all facets of the character from the pure victim with grit to a worthy nemesis, bent on wiping Michael Myers from the face of the earth. Laurie Strode has seen it all and we've been right there with her along the way, cheering for her survival and screaming in terror for her. 

To celebrate the first Final Girl's final bow, SYFY WIRE's taking a look at all of her Halloween appearances leading up to Halloween Ends and ranking them according to how well she was used and how satisfying her arc was in the overall movie.

6. Halloween Resurrection (2002)

Yes, Laurie was barely in this movie but the scene she gets with Michael plays out like a self-contained mini-movie. Laurie starts empowered as she catches him and attempts to unmask him, and then has to make a huge shift when he turns the tables. She's heroically defiant before he ultimately claims her life. Certainly not the outcome we wanted for the character (and was gratefully it wiped out in subsequent film canon), but there is some pathos in the moment to appreciate.

5. Halloween II (1981)

In the first, direct sequel to Halloween, Laurie is in the hospital after her hellish night getting chased by Michael Myers. As such, she's not exactly in a proactive mode which makes her appearance in the sequel less dynamic. She's basically rendered the "girl in the haunted house," just with that lovely antiseptic smell. She does get to team up with Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) which is a major plus because the two of them work as a team against Michael's onslaughts. This movie also reveals that Laurie is Michael's sister, which adds a more personal dynamic to the insanity. (The 2018 film would undo this twist, as Halloween II and subsequent sequels aren't part of the newer trilogy's canon.)

4. Halloween Kills (2021)

Middle films in horror trilogies are tough because we know there isn't going to be the resolution we really want to see until the final resolution in the last installment. With Halloween Kills, we get more of tough Laurie who has a mission to stop her brother's havoc. In her conversation with Will Patton's Deputy Frank Hawkins, there's a sense of history between their characters and a real resolve in how she speaks about snuffing out Michael that works nicely. 

3. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

The first of the Halloween sequels to go back to the canon of Halloween II and pick up the story from where that installment left off. Laurie survived Michael and then faked her death so she could escape her past. She's now known as Keri Tate, the successful headmistress of a private school. However, the trauma of her experiences haunts her and the past lives large in her life. When he does return, we get an interesting arc for her to play as a mother to a son (Josh Hartnett) with that protectiveness extending to her students. It's a strong first taste of a Laurie who fights back but there's still some victim there that tempers the overall growth of the character. But having her lop off Michael's head with an axe is pretty sweet.

2. Halloween (2018)

Laurie Strode returns in this installment as a survivor, mother, and grandmother. She's lived a life of relative safety with Michael locked up for 40 years but she's a far more prepared person because of her experiences. Similar to Aliens and H20, the maternal element adds a lot to Laurie's character and legacy. She's got two people to protect outside of herself which makes her more potent and feral as Myers returns to make the whole family his targets. Every shot Laurie gets on Michael feels more rewarding as she's got more agency and resolve as a character which is the best aspect of the new trilogy.

1. Halloween (1978)

You have to give ultimate credit to the movie that created Laurie Strode as a character and introduced her as the iconic "final girl" that became a benchmark example for the horror trope. Strode is the quiet, girl next door who has to use all of her resources to survive the lethal stalking of masked Michael Myers. The whole movie is an exercise in terror for the poor girl but she's resourceful and is the only one who actually holds Michael off and survives. 

Halloween Ends is now in theaters and available to stream exclusively on Peacock.