Final Girl Spotlight: Ginny Field! (Friday the 13th Part 2)
In her groundbreaking book Men, Women, and Chainsaws, author Carol Clover coins the phrase “final girl” – not only that, but also she notes that it isn’t necessarily the most virginal girl who survives, but the girl who is most aware of her surroundings. The final girl’s friends are preoccupied with sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, and parties where they’ll dress like Kris Kross and play Mall Madness board games and watch Did You Hear About the Morgans? (Wait – not everybody does that? Note to self – this is why people don’t come to my parties.) By contrast, the heroine is the first one to notice that something is not quite right – like a door that was closed is now swinging open or somebody wearing white after Labor Day.
Ginny Field (Amy Steel) in Friday The 13th Part 2 is the perfect example of the non-virginal final girl. She’s a fan favorite of the series and a capable adversary for Jason’s shenanigans. (That is, if “shenanigans” means stalking nubile teens and murdering them in gruesome ways, rather than something innocuous like not changing the TP roll or tearing the tag off a mattress.)
Ginny is pretty, smart, and feisty without being unapproachable -- the kind of girl you’d definitely want to be friends with. She’s unaware of her beauty and doesn’t play along with the semi-alpha behavior of her pseudo-boyfriend Paul (John Furey). She’s a leader, an athlete, and wields a mean chainsaw (first for sawing wood, but later to defend herself against Jason’s attack). If the spectrum of outstanding women runs from Agent Scully (the highest) to the Kardashians (the lowest), Ginny is a Scully. She doesn’t have supernatural fighting ability like Buffy or ninja training like The Bride in Kill Bill, but she’s got her wits, intelligence, and ability to comprehend the bloody, unreal situation she’s in. Amy Steel’s performance as Ginny is the perfect balance of spiritedness, intelligence, good nature, humor, and pluck. You can always tell there’s something going on in Ginny’s mind, which she uses to her advantage in the film’s memorable climax.
Ginny works as Paul’s second-in-command at a summer camp counselor’s training seminar in the woods not too far away from Camp Crystal Lake, a.k.a. Camp Blood, the site of the original’s massacre. Mrs. Voorhees has been killed, and now the local legend of bag-headed Jason Voorhees haunts the area. Paul tells the story to the counselors at the campfire, and Ginny isn’t convinced. She knows there’s more to the legend of Jason; he’s not a ghost or a myth or a phantom.
Ginny takes this legend seriously, something her counterparts don’t do. While Paul and Ted (Stu Charno) laugh off her earnest breakdown of Jason’s mental capacity and state of mind, she utilizes her child psychology degree and delves into what the real life Jason must be like. When she is trapped in Jason’s shack in the woods, which was clearly not decorated by Martha Stewart, she assesses the situation and dons his dead mother’s sweater, deceiving his childlike mind into believing she is his mother so she can kill him and escape.
It’s her perceptiveness that helps her survive. When she and Paul return to camp after a night at the bar, she is the one to realize something’s not right in the darkened room. While Paul investigates in the dark, the minute she enters, she feels it, upon which she utters the infamous line, “There’s someone in this fucking room!”
Ginny Field, you earned your survival with a mix of brains and brawn. She fought back valiantly using both, including a dead-on kick right in Jason’s bojangles. Hopefully Ginny went on to get that degree, is now a doctor with a thriving practice, and has no nightmares about the night Jason returned to camp.