Carol J. Clover did us all a great service when she coined the term "final girl" for the young woman who is the last victim left standing at the end of a horror movie. The final girl survives when all her cohorts get stabbed, chopped, incinerated, or otherwise dispatched by the monster. She is often smart, lonely, plucky, resourceful, and virginal. The term "final girl" is the name of an interesting blog, and final girls from the past are still fondly remembered, as in this interview with Marilyn Burns, who played the final girl in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
My top five final girls:
1. Jamie Lee Curtis, Halloween (1978)
2. Sigourney Weaver, Alien (1979)
3. Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
4. Heather Langenkamp, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
5. Marilyn Burns, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)