Film Studies Program
The Final Girl term, created by Carol Clover, tried to identify the surviving victim as a virtuous and chaste girl, eventually masculinized in overcoming her killer. 1980s horror cinema portrays characters being plagued by normative society. The main cast of protagonists in these films are teens in late adolescence, and/or early adulthood. These teenagers are targeted because of their substance abuse, sexual tendencies, and their independence. As a way to explore Clover's theory of the Final Girl, this essay uses Lee Edleman's theory of reproductive futurism to understand the generational conflict through three selected films: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Pieces (1982), and The Slumber Party Massacre (1982). Using Edleman's theory, we can identify our protagonists as the Final Generation, being a group of adolescents being punished for their independence. Parents and institutions are entirely absent or making it more difficult for their youth to defend themselves. Without the parents or authority to punish them for their liberal attitudes, we have the Bogeymen. The Bogeymen are trying to stop the Final Generation for their misbehavior before they can cause damage to society's traditional beliefs. The Bogeymen represent a challenge to the Final Gen: a monster of their childhood that their parents couldn't destroy, or created themselves. The Final Gen use their resourcefulness, fighting together to amend the previous generations' sins. By the liberated youth choosing to act on their own, they overcome the ideals of reproductive futurism and can end the generational curse.
Bruscini, Lily Mae, ""Morality Sucks": The Final Generation in 1980s Horror Cinema" (2023). Honors Projects. 219.