My Favourite Final Girl – Sally Hardesty: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

@lcfremont prays at the alter of Sally Hardesty her favourite final girl…

Who doesn’t love a Final Girl? Seriously. If you do not love a Final Girl, whether she be mediocre or outstanding, then we are no longer on friendly terms. I have long maintained that one of the many reasons horror resonates with females the way that it does is because of the Final Girl. It’s pretty rare that a genre loves to put a female front and center and then be brazen enough to let her overcome. We all have our personal favorites and, thankfully, there is quite the bountiful selection from which to choose. As I began to give myself an ulcer deciding who my favorite Final Girl is, I realized that I should go with my first. No one forgets their first, right?

As a young girl I had a really terrible habit of peaking around corners at movies I wasn’t supposed to be watching. It was at my friend Cheryl Marty’s birthday slumber party that I snuck down the hall to see what her mom was watching. It was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Paralyzed by fear at the sight of Leatherface, I was simultaneously enthralled by that blonde girl literally running for her life and screaming her lungs off. In later years, Nancy on Elm Street would prove to be a smart, tough chick and Laurie was brave enough to face the boogeyman all on her own, but neither of these girls had to run from a man that was based on reality and was carrying a chainsaw.
Played by the legendary Marilyn Burns, Sally Hardesty is your average girl next door with blonde, beautiful hair, some killer bellbottoms and the kind of chutzpah that leaves the house without a bra. This girl is the bee’s knees. Taking care of her brother Franklin who, let’s be honest, NO ONE cares for, Sally encounters a family of cannibals while traveling to her grandfather’s grave to investigate stories of grave robbing.
On this ill fated road trip, Sally and her friends pick up Nubbins Sawyer because picking up hitchhikers used to be an ok thing to do. Well, except for the fact that Nubbins slices himself and Franklin with a straight razor. As you know, things just keep going downhill from here. Despite Sally’s innocent desire to visit a grave and then explore the old Hardesty property, she ends up at the head of a table of cannibals. As all of the members of the Sawyer family antagonize her while she is gagged and bound to a chair, she manages to not go completely insane. She has witnessed her brother’s gruesome death, been duped into thinking the police might help her and she has run as much as Tom Cruise did in Mission Impossible 3. Yes, despite the fact that Grandpa has been drinking her blood and is now failing miserably at hitting her over the head with a hammer, Sally manages to escape and JUMP OUT OF A WINDOW! This fierce bitch cannot be stopped! As she runs, being chased by Leatherface with Nubbins slashing at her back, she makes it to the road and finds salvation in everyone’s favorite truck driver who runs Nubbins over. Leatherface is still in hot pursuit, though, so she flags down a truck and jumps into the back as Leatherface does his signature chainsaw dance while Sally melts into a pool of mania.
Everything that Sally is put through is mentally, emotionally and physically draining, but the girl manages to survive. Unfortunately, we never learn what came of Sally Hardesty, but I have it on good authority (from Marilyn Burns herself) that Sally never wound up in a mental institution. She was too tough for that! At this point, I am mandated by my ego to direct you to the interview that I was blessed to do with Marilyn Burns and with the wonderfully funny Ed Guinn.
Marilyn Burns interview – click here

Ed Guinn intereview – click here

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Lisa Fremont

Images: & giphy

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