Most horror films are fitted with a female protagonist (which is probably why we love it so much) though not all of these final girls are alike. They can be portrayed with the wrath of 1000 suns or the conviction of a fart in the wind. For every agent of badassery, there is a female lead who is as basic-as-balls on dolls. She flails, she flounders, she makes kindergarten level bad decisions and more over she sets a bad example for all aspiring massacre survivors.
In this new series we are going to talk about two films; one with a badass bitch and one with a hopelessly basic one (insert tattered wife beater here). In the case we are pitting Bruce McDonald’s (we love you Bruce!) hopelessly horrible Hellions(2015) against Gerard Johnstone’s New Zealand, horror-with-heart Housebound(2014.)
We will begin with a brief summary of each excluding of course the ending / twist of the film. We’re not THAT rude.
On all Hallows eve, our basic as-all-hell protagonist Dora, finds out she’s been knocked up on by her edgy boyfriend Jace (I bet his middle name is spaceship, or banana). This is a real bummer for Dora as she wants nothing more than to smoke weed with Jace and continue wearing see-through plastic leopard print raincoats while she cycles moodily around her small town.
For some loosely explained reason (A blood moon curse? We’re sure there is a period joke in here somewhere), demon trick-or-treaters besiege her house in hopes of acquiring her rapidly growing unborn baby. Fetus’… so hot right now.
Dora doesn’t catch on at first that some fuckery is a foot as the hellions repeatedly come-a-knocking because she’s clearly done all the rocking. She doesn’t even flinch when when their malevolent chorus of “trick or treat” echoes with the memory of a thousand dying souls, not to be confused with Dalmatians. Girl, these creatures have tiny little demon hands and are wearing intentionally terrifying costumes of an autumn-horror-harvest variety. That concept is far to sophisticated for a six year old to have come up with and then subsequently recruit a whole gang of other six year olds to go along with it. They aren’t even out of the bowl cut phase! If there isn’t at least one Iron Man in the bunch board up your fucking windows immediately.
Anyway, the hellions return with dreamy Jace’s head in their dirty burlap candy sack and Dora does not cope well, she’s a Twix fan. We will cut the girl some slack, she’s been through a hell of a lot that day already what with finding out she’s a potential Teen Mom 6 applicant, but after the initial 911 call etc she really needed to pull it together.
She subsequently spends the rest of the film in a state of confused and utter panic, running amok in a virginal angel costume that we’re sure is supposed to allude to something or other. Its almost offensive how useless she becomes in the face of danger.
Upon discovering the hellions melt after being sprinkled with a mere pinch of salt, instead of making a salt circle around herself in an open space and shouting “demon away,” or using it in ANY OTHER FUCKING WAY POSSIBLE she messily loads shot gun pellets with the remaining sodium spilling much of it on the floor, which was literally more useful than the pellets. She then runs outside into a veritable maze of billowing white sheets drying in the wind, and fires her few shells blindly at the childish cackling laughter of the demons echoing, of course, from all places at once. Basic.
Badass-bitch Kylie (not to be confused with the puffy lipped cyst in pop culture) is surrendered to her parents care, and put under house arrest after a buffoonish ATM robbery got her booked. She’s also fitted with an ankle bracelet which is monitored by a security officer named Amos, who clearly wants to bone her. Kylie, a legal adult but maybe just, has a terrible attitude and is hilariously and unapologetically rude to her pottering mother and boring stepfather Graeme (On a side note, we would love a spin off about these two brilliant elders.) She is slobbish, ungrateful and subsequently enviable in her total lack of fucks given.
This big old house Kylie’s mum owns, her now prison, tends to go bump in the night and her mother has taken to calling into a paranormal radio show to air her grievances. Kylie thinks this is utter shit, because caring is over rated. Amos, we discover, is an aspiring ghost hunter and brings in all the bleeping and blooping ghost hunting equipment to check things out, he clearly has Amazon Prime and is NOT afraid to use it.
After Kylie reluctantly teams up with Amos after a few spooky experiences of her own, we spend the remainder of the film engrossed in her badass antics. An amateur sleuth already, she fearlessly breaks into her suspicious and hickish neighbour’s house in search of clues of a decades old murder. She battles with a verbally abuses her sinister psychiatrist who is trying to institutionalize her and all-in-all never backs down or lets out anything resembling a high-pitched scream. Badass.
Where Dora and Kylie differ is in their attitudes towards the danger they are faced with. Dora uses the last of her salt shells, which to her knowledge is the only thing that will kill her enemy, to have a cinematic meltdown in linen tornado.
Kylie bravely confronts three different people on three separate occasions who she believes to be murderers. She stirs the MFing pot, all the while knowing she is literally trapped via ankle bracelet right in the middle of all the ratchetry.
One could argue that different characters should have different reactions to different situations. One being basic and one being badass, thus adding complexity and diversity to the narratives we view. We are arguing that watching our protagonist fumble through danger helplessly shrieking, crying and ultimately succumbing to the evil just sucks. We much prefer a horror hero who embodies the characteristics we would hope ourselves would have when faced with a similar situation.
Give us a badass over a basic any day.
Peace out Sauce Monsters,
Screams and Scarah