To say that the horror genre isn’t known for treating its survivors too well is an understatement—there’s definitely a sturdy union to be established for the many final girls and unlikely sole survivors who are owed serious sums of workman’s comp having shown up to appear in a sequel only to be offed within the first few frames of the next instalment.
There are a few reasons why this trope is so prevalent, chief amongst them the fact that often the primary draw of horror franchises is the reappearing villain rather than the hero. Outside of the subversive Scream series, most slasher fans are checking out the latest Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street flick to see the new inventive murder methods devised by Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger rather than the continued adventures of Nancy, Alice, or whatever other fortunate soul made it out of their last masked murderer encounter alive.
Now admittedly this isn’t always the case, and the likes of prolific horror maestro Stephen King often create characters whose stories span various instalments. However even in these cases Hollywood, unlike the world of paperbacks, has a hard time doing justice to recurring horror characters, often giving them the short shrift and undoing their contributions to sequels.
Maybe actors wanted too much compensation, maybe producers needed you to know that this time the threat was serious—whatever the case, here are ten times when horror franchises did their returning heroes dirty.
10. Alice - Friday The 13th Part 2
Okay, so admittedly slasher franchises aren’t exactly
known for their delicate handling of survivors who try to make the transition
from one instalment to another. But Friday the 13th deserves to
shoulder some of the blame for that fact. As the second slasher franchise to
begin the tradition of adding endless instalments, it was the first to off its nominal
heroine in the opening minutes of the next flick, giving every subsequent
masked killer permission to follow suit.
It’s only fair to note here that Halloween did in fact keep Laurie Strode alive for its first sequel—and in fact for every sequel until Halloween Resurrection. And even then the franchise managed to revive her for 2018’s second reboot of the property (what a tangled canon we weave, eh Mr. Carpenter?).
Friday the 13th, on the other side, made it clear that mercy was not the order of the day from the outset, killing the first film’s resourceful, resilient heroine in its opening scene with a sequence which would go on to inspire Hostel Part II, another entry on this list. Alice may have been capable enough to survive Camp Crystal Lake, but the sequel was a crueller world and she bit the dust before you could say “pay raise”.