Final Girl Friday: Erin, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

The eagle eyed of you might note that it is Sunday, not the Friday outlined in this post’s title. What can I say? I forgot and I was busy too.

Better late than never though, amirite?

The Girl

Erin, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2013)

The Situation

A tale as old as time, but if you’re not familiar, four kids in a van run into trouble when they stumble across an eccentric family in the middle of nowhere, one of whom has a passion for chainsaws and masks made out of human faces.

Ooopsy.

The Final Girl

Anybody well-versed in Tobe Hooper‘s original TTCSM will know that one woman survives the horrific ordeal Leatherface puts her through. Barely and by the skin of her teeth but the iconic climax of the movie went down in cinematic history and Marilyn Burns‘ Sally became the poster child for The Final Girl.

Her maniacal laughter as she coasts to freedom on the back of a passerby’s truck is haunting and perfect, the horrifying after-effects of her trauma already visible on her bloody face.

In the remake, Erin too escapes (Jessica Biel) but without the assistance of a well-meaning stranger. 2003’s version adds a few welcome embellishments, in this case a close-knit community in on the behaviours of Leatherface and his family, turning blind eyes to his shenanigans.

It turns out that some of the townsfolk are benefiting from this set up too, stealing children namely and bringing them up as their own. Erin not only saves herself but the life of a dead hitchhiker’s baby – by way of a hell of a lot of fighting to the death.

The-texas-chainsaw-massacre-2003-jessica-biel61

“This old thing?”

Sure, Erin is a hottie but the narrative goes some way to fleshing her out as a person, giving her gumption and a moral compass. Before all the death and chainsaw japes, Erin is just a girl on the road with her friends. When she finds out their recent trip to Mexico was really a cover for minor drug running, she’s furious at her boyfriend, who masterminded the deal.

She’s also the one who persuades the crew to stop for the disorientated girl on the side of the road, though she later surely regrets this decision. I feel like Erin is a girl to have on your side and I’m delighted she’s the one who makes it. (Sorry, literally everyone else who buys it).

According to the FG Trope, we’re not breaking any molds here. Erin in the earthy(ish) brunette good girl with a healthy pair of lungs, but she’s not slutty (that’s punishable by death, yo). She tries to help her friends and doesn’t run for her own life until she’s certain her loved ones are toast. (Catching Leatherface wearing your boyfriend’s face as an accessory oughta do it).

And, man, that ending is just as satisfying as the original. Erin puts down the evil sheriff, saves a baby and escapes into the night in a cop car – narrowly missing Ol’ LF in the process (after she’s chopped off his arm). She’s earned a good bloody life after this – and a hot, candlelit bath.

Final Girl Rating

4/5 – Hench.

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