Updated: Jul 19, 2019
Laurie Strode is the ultimate final girl. She has been through hell and lived to tell about it. Her youth was scarred by an incomprehensible trauma. Yet she managed to not only survive, but overcome. She may be haunted, but she is far from broken. Laurie’s story is relateable on the most visceral level to survivors everywhere.
In the original Halloween franchise Laurie is seen as a fragile flower. We see the perfect picture of a sweet high school girl. She is innocent, intellectual, and strives to do the right thing. This girl gets hunted down for no discernible reason. Her friends get killed. She is brought within inches of her own life several times, all while having to protect two small children she has been babysitting. In an instant she sheds her fragility. There is no time to think, or grieve. Action is her only choice. And throughout the franchise Laurie acts to protect not only herself, but those around her. She does her best to keep her past at bay. When her past comes back for her she is forced to fight again. And she always wins.
Facing death and fighting back is not the act of a fragile flower, but that of a final girl. It takes a strength you don’t know you have until you need it. That kind of power is often unrealized until wielding that power becomes the only option.
The new Laurie Strode is still fragile after all these years. But, in a different way. Her youth was shattered and the pieces never went back quite the way they were. They never do. But she is also strong in a different way too. Her trauma has shaped her into a survivalist. She is armed, she is prepared, she is ready. And even though all that readiness pays off in the end, it comes at a price. The new Laurie is estranged from her family, isolated, and barely holding on to her own stability. Laurie’s cracks show through in several scenes. She self medicates, she doesn’t know how to relate to her daughter and her hyper vigilance alienates her from almost everyone.
She gets reconnected to her family when she has to protect them from her past once again. Laurie her daughter and granddaughter unite to fight Michael Myers and end up defeating their own demons in the process. In an extreme example of exposure therapy, Laurie not only faces her past, but is finally validated and is able to work through her trauma with those whom she loves the most.
Laurie’s struggles throughout the film are palpable. Many of us know how she feels even we haven’t been through the exact same thing. We understand and connect with her emotions in a way that only survivors can. Laurie Strode has shown us what trauma can do. She has shown us what happens when the past controls us. And finally, Laurie Strode has shown us that we all have the power to burn our pasts to the fucking ground.