Laurie Strode in ‘Halloween’ – There’s Nothing to be Scared of

Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978) is another favorite movie of mine. But let’s be honest, who can really resist a re-imaging of “The Babysitter” urban legend? Halloween tells the story of Michael Meyers, a psychopathic killer who murdered his older sister when he was only a child. He gets locked away in a mental institute for the criminally insane until 15 years later he escapes and works his way back to Haddonfield to continue his murderous rampage. His target? High school teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).

Laurie Strode in Halloween is another of the most remarkable final girls in horror cinema. Perfectly portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis (whose mother was no stranger to the genre), Laurie has the traits that one looks for when evaluating the well put together final girl.

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She’s Single

Throughout the film, Laurie’s friends constantly talk about boys and how Laurie should be dating. They even go as far to try and set her up with a boy they know she fancies. However, Laurie seems to be relatively uninterested, only wanting to focus on herself – her studies, her job, and her friends. It’s clear that she doesn’t need a man to make her life mean something. She is happy with what she has. Her other friends, however, both have a guy in their life and focus all their energy being irresponsible rather than focus on bettering themselves.


Like most Final Girls, Laurie isn’t what you’d call “sexy”. She shares the same girl next door traits as Kirsty and Nancy, and would rather spend her evening inside, reading a book than out trolling for boys. However, this doesn’t mean that Laurie avoids irresponsible fun – there is a scene in which she smokes pot with her friends, a trait that seems to only be connected with characters that wind up on the wrong end of the butcher knife. However, Laurie isn’t punished for this. This shows that even women can take a break from personal responsibilities and relax. They’re just as capable of enjoying their life without being judged too harshly because of it.

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Laurie isn’t a super hero, nor is she experienced at protecting herself in dangerous situations. She is a normal teenager living in suburbia. However, when tragedy strikes in the form of Michael Meyers, Laurie tries to push all her fear aside to protect herself as well as the two children that she is babysitting at the time. She does everything she can to defend herself in the face of danger. Alone and in charge of two young children, Laurie has to put all of her fears aside and take control of the situation the best she can. However, she does have some limitations (though, who wouldn’t against Michael?) and has to resort to some creative means. She is forced to use a knitting needle as a weapon at one point. Knitting is usually generalized as a woman’s hobby and she is able to use it against the powerful man to take him down. She also hides herself and the children in different parts of the house, also using a wire coa thanger to protect herself.


laurie 4Strength doesn’t necessarily mean absence of fear, rather it means what you do to channel the fear you’re experiencing. Laurie isn’t immune from fear but she doesn’t let her fear paralyze her. She is able to turn her fear into motivation. She uses this to protect the children as well as herself, while also fighting back against Michael Meyers. However, courage does have its limits and Laurie does have moments of exaughstion where she does leave herself open to attack foolishly, but I don’t think this necessarily means she’s weak, rather it just shows that everyone has moments of weakness even the strongest of us.

It is a little disappointing that at the very end Laurie is ultimately saved by Dr. Loomis, a man, but I think the more important thing we should focus on is Laurie’s survival throughout the entire film before Loomis even comes into the picture. She is forced into a terrible ordeal and uses her wits, creativity and strength to overcome and protect the lives of the children as well as herself. Even with her moments of weakness, Laurie proves to be just as strong as any male lead.


About Anthony Comella

Anthony Comella
Welding feminist theory with horror film criticism, Anthony seeks to help empower women's voices... all the better to scream louder with!


  1. Laurie is definitely one of the greatest final girls in horror cinema. Her vulnerability makes her more relatable than some fearless, kickass heroine. Even better, she doesn't unrealistically use shotguns and ninja swords but everyday tools as weapons – coat hanger, knitting needle, cutting knife – generally considered to be part of women's domestic territory. Good post on one of my all-time favorites.

    • Anthony Comella

      The fact that she does utilize the domestic tools in her defensive against Michael makes her all the more resourceful. I might have to write on the second film, me thinks!

  2. You definitely hit the nail on the head when you say that we should be focusing on how Laurie is able to fight off Michael Meyers on her own for a majority of the movie before she is saved by Loomis. Being saved by the Doctor doesn't make her weak by any stretch of the imagination, nor does it make her a disempowered character after all she had just done. A strong female presence in any movie doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be done entirely with the absence of men, the same way that feminism doesn't want female empowerment in exchange for male subjugation.

    Laurie did what she had to do and she proved that she could fend off a psychotic murderer using her intelligence and the urgent resourcefulness that arose out of her being targeted as a victim by someone who is inhuman and has no regard for emotion. Imagine being in a situation like that and being able to not only survive it but also do all of the fighting on your own? No thank you! This is within the context of her babysitting and using common household objects to aid most of her fighting, and like everyone said: these are a job and objects that come out of the traditional female sphere. But this movie drags them through hell and gives them new meaning. I imagine that this was a really powerful statement to make when the film came out in 1978 as the second wave of the feminist movement had been in full swing in America for the better part of a decade by this point. You don't usually expect that kind of dimension from a slasher movie.

    • Anthony Comella

      Exactly – it's not transferring power completely from men to women, but understanding that women are just as capable of wielding the power themselves. And I definitely agree ~ if I were in that situation I wouldn't be able to survive on my own. I would have gone crazy long before Loomis showed up. 🙂

  3. using knitting tools to defend herself and the kids -or rather fighting against the evil is impressing. And i like that she's a independent girl who focuses on herself . But the favorite part was when you mentioned about using fear as a motivation. Sometimes when one is forced into a corner and there's no way back the strength of fear as a motivation to protect oneself does not end just as a protection. It …i think implys a greater value-it is a resist not only to the evil harassing oneself but also an attempt to overcome one's weakness. 🙂

    • Anthony Comella

      Taehee! I'm so happy you're enjoying my entries. I totally agree with your point about being backed in a corner and having to use fear as strength to protect yourself. And it definitely does imply a greater value. Being able to accept that something is fearful doesn't mean you're accepting you're weak; i think it makes you stronger because you still choose to stand up against it. 🙂

  4. Wait a sec. You say, “Like most Final Girls, Laurie isn’t what you’d call “sexy”. She shares the same girl next door traits as Kirsty and Nancy, and would rather spend her evening inside, reading a book than out trolling for boys.” Fair point about Laurie and Nancy, but Kirsty? She obviously has sex during the story, just not on camera, and there’s the oddity of she and her boyfriend sleeping in separate beds. I disagree about Kirsty–girl next door, sure, but she’s quite sexy, just not a vamp like Julia.

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