Horror movie characters have it rough. The chances of their survival are extremely slim, especially when they’re sharing the screen with iconic and terrifying killers like Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. But even if you’re a character trapped in a low-budget movie with a second-rate killer, chances are you won’t make it to the end credits. As I mentioned in my previous post, only the best of the best survive their respective horror film, and even they have it difficult. Death could rear its sadistic head at any time, and all it takes is the ire of overambitious, bloodthirsty writers and filmmakers looking to fill kill counts to spell doom for even the most likable of characters.
Unfortunately, the characters on this list didn’t survive their movie, no matter how much audiences rooted for their survival and were unprepared for their deaths. Some of them survived one movie only to bite the dust in the following film, and other characters were killed before audiences got to connect with them. Since this post is about characters who met their maker, most often, thanks to the violent whims of an insane killer, a spoiler warning is herby in effect. So lock your doors and crawl under the bed; here are more horror movie victims who should’ve survived.
Vera Sanchez—Friday the 13th Part III
Listen, kids, never go to the deathtrap that is Camp Crystal Lake. A certain hulking, hockey-mask-wearing killer stalks its forests, brutally killing anyone who dares to disturb the seemingly charming and tranquil campgrounds. For Vera Sanchez (Catherine Parks) and most of her friends, Camp Crystal Lake became their final resting place in Friday the 13th: Part III, the second sequel of the popular slasher franchise. Vera probably should’ve stayed home with her mother, but she willingly joins her friends on their weekend romp to Crystal Lake after one of her friends, Andy Beltrami, sets her up on a blind date with class clown Shelly Finkelstein.
It takes Vera a little bit of time to adjust to the over-the-top and socially awkward Shelly, but she’s patient with him and willing to work to build a rapport with the jokester, which is more than I can say for the other characters in the film. After encountering a local biker gang, Vera is momentarily impressed with Shelly’s bravado, but he ruins their budding positive relationship with one of his tasteless and bloody pranks. It’s a shame we never got to see the two characters patch things up. Once Jason crashes the party, the bodies start piling up fast, and Vera gets spear-gunned in the eye by the remorseless killer while retrieving Shelly’s wallet from the lake. She was one of the nicest of Jason’s victims, and her kindness and patience are qualities most often possessed by the genre’s Final Girls. I could easily see a version of this film in which Vera and Shelly match wits against Jason, but alas, death came calling very quickly for the two, which is why Vera takes the top spot on this list.
Kirby Reed—Scream 4
There’s a small possibility Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), who stole the show in every scene she was in, is still alive, but we’ll have to wait until Scream 5 to confirm her fate. Kirby is the cool and fun friend of Jill Roberts whose love of horror movies and tough but hilarious attitude made her one of the film’s breakout characters. She’s brave and attempts to keep her cool when the new Ghostface killer hunts her and her friends. Kirby was close to making it to the film’s end credits in one piece, but sadly, she’s stabbed in the stomach by Charlie, one of the killers who spent the movie flirting with the young woman and earning her trust.
So how could she possibly survive? Well, she probably didn’t, but the last time the audience sees Kirby, she’s still alive and quickly losing blood. Her body is never shown onscreen, meaning the character’s fate could very well be up in the air, and she could return for the new installment of the Scream franchise. Maybe the next film will be Sydney’s final bow, and who better than to lead the franchise into a new generation than Kirby, who was forged into the stuff of Final Girl legend after her encounter with Charlie and Jill. If she is dead, it’s a shame because Kirby was likable and memorable enough to be the star of her own film.
Hicks and Newt—Alien 3
Talk about wasted potential. At the emotional core of Aliens stands Rebecca “Newt” Jordan (Carrie Henn) and Corporal Dwayne Hicks (Michael Biehn), who faced down the most terrifying nightmare-inducing creatures the universe could cough up alongside Ellen Ripley and almost lived to tell the tale. In Aliens, Hicks is one of the Colonial Marines sent to investigate the radio silence at the colony of LV-426, a mission supervised by Ripley, who remains adamant that the Xenomorphs, one of who butchered her crew, are responsible. Hicks and Ripley share some chemistry and cute moments throughout the film, and I couldn’t help but wish they’d make it home safely. Ripley’s worst fears prove correct as the Xenomorphs hunt and slaughter the colonists, many of whom are the family and friends of Newt, a little girl who survives the carnage longer than anyone else. Drawn together by tragedy, Ripley and Newt form a close bond, with Hicks complementing their found family.
Hicks and Newt are important characters because of how much they meant to Ripley. Their tender and quiet interactions provide a brief respite from the violence and chaos the Xenomorphs unleash upon the survivors. While Aliens ends on the hopeful note that Ripley and her friends will return to Earth, Alien 3 picks up with a devastating shuttle crash which leaves Hicks and Newt dead and Ripley alone once again. Their deaths are deeply tragic and come from troubled behind-the-scenes production. It felt like there was so much more to these three unlikely heroes’ stories, but sadly their time together was cut cruelly short.
Robin Crenshaw—Mountaintop Motel Massacre
Mountaintop Motel Massacre is a low-budget 1983 slasher flick about an insane woman, Evelyn, who goes on a killing spree in the run-down and off-the-road motel she manages in the mountains after she catches her daughter practicing witchcraft. Evelyn picks off the guests one by one in graphic ways with her sickle, and sadly, one of her victims is Robin Crenshaw (Major Brock), a friendly everyday man who visits the motel and enjoys sharing a beer with the other guests. Crenshaw is the kindest and smartest character of the film, and when he and the other guests catch on to Evelyn’s murderous tendencies, they band together to fight and survive the night.
Crenshaw offers up the best plan of the film: get the hell out of the motel. He’s also reluctant to go chasing Evelyn in the tunnels beneath the motel, but he does it anyway in an attempt to catch the crazed caretaker off guard and end her violent spree. Unfortunately, Crenshaw should have listened to the inner voice telling him to flee the motel and leave Evelyn to the other guests. He was so close to surviving, and his friendlessness and intelligence make him stand out in a mostly forgettable movie.
Rachel Carruthers—Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Rachel Carruthers (Ellie Cornell) fights against unbeatable odds to protect her younger adoptive sister, Jamie, Lori Strode’s daughter, from the bloodthirsty and silent masked killer, Michael Myers in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. When Lori is “killed” in a car crash, the doomed Carruthers family takes Jamie into their fold, unknowingly drawing the attention of Michael, who hunts after the young girl. Rachel is the savvy Final Girl of the film, and there’s no denying the chemistry between her and Jamie. Just as Lori protected Tommy and Lindsey from Michael in the first film of the series, Rachel keeps Jamie safe for as long as she can. She’s funny, kind, and intelligent, and she proves she’s more than a match for the masked killer hunting them and murdering everyone in his path.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers took everything that made Rachel great and squashed it, creating an airhead who’s killed quickly by a pair of scissors to the chest, courtesy of The Shape himself. Rachel’s death was senseless and cruel; the film then took an established character audiences were familiar with and treated her like any other movie victim. It’s not surprising that Micheal kills Rachel, but it would have been great to see more of her relationship with Jamie, and maybe the brave Final Girl could have gone out with a fight, protecting her sister until her last breath. Instead, she’s brutally killed in an ambush at her home after taking a shower. Justice for Rachel.