Movie: Halloween (1978)
Let’s lead this list off with a classic, shall we? Actually, lets crap on horror’s sacred ground with this one. One of the “stupid horror character” clichés that you always hear is not finishing off the killer when you have him down. I could pick any one of hundreds of instances of this happening, but I chose this one because of the legendary status of the movie and character. She also takes this trope to a level of stupidity that is absolutely astounding.
When lists are made of the greatest “final girls” in horror history, more often than not Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in Halloween that tops the list. The only one that sometimes beats her is Heather Lagencamp as Nancy in Nightmare on Elm Street. The difference is that Nancy had a plan, acted intelligently, and held her own. Laurie, through her actions, almost seemed like she wanted to be killed. While there’s no denying that the character is iconic and is the template for countless characters that would follow, I think a lot of people forget just how dumb she acts in this flick. Audience members at the time of it’s original theatrical run are quoted as often yelling “You deserve to die you dumb bitch” at the screen.
Ok, so lets fast forward through all of the “death has come to your little town” and “see anything you like” stuff and get to the stalking action. When Michael follows Laurie in the house where she’s babysitting, she manages to temporarily drop him with a knitting needle to the neck. He drops his butcher knife on the couch next to her and she picks it up. At this point logic would say that you use said weapon to neutralize the threat and enjoy the poetic justice of killing the bastard with his own weapon, right? Right. What does our heroine do?
She drops it on the floor and leaves the room. Michael is right behind that couch. Why would you leave the weapon where he could pick it back up? A minute later he reappears to menace her again and guess what? He’s got the knife. Let’s look at two scenarios here. If Laurie weren’t such a moron, at this moment she would have a big ass butcher knife to combat an unarmed Michael with. Or, she could hide in the closet while he stabs at her through the broken door with the knife she basically handed back to him. Which position would you prefer to be in? Yeah, me too. Against all odds though, she manages to drop him again with a wire hanger to the eye and retake control of the knife. Joan Crawford would be appalled.
As you can see, she stands over his prone body for almost a minute, which was a perfect opportunity to deal the killing blow. So what does she do?
She throws the knife down and leaves the room AGAIN! Really? Laurie obviously isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, or in this case, the sharpest knife on the floor. So genius, how did leaving the knife with a homicidal maniac twice work out for you?
Unlike most of the entries in this countdown, your stupidity didn’t get you killed. Well, you didn’t die, but you did take a hell of a lot of punishment, and it’s not even over. He came after her in the hospital. Not only that, but how many lives could she have saved by finishing him when she had the chance? Five sequels worth! Worst of all, she could have saved us from having to watch Michael kung fu fighting with Busta Rhymes. Thanks a lot bitch. Congratulations Laurie, you are today’s winner by virtue of not only failing to kill Michael Myers when you had the chance, but repeatedly giving him his favorite implement of destruction back. Way to go dumbass!