Spoilers, and trigger warning for sexual assault
“That’s why she always outsmarted the killer in the big chase scene at the end. Only virgins can do that, don’t you know the rules?”Randy Meeks, Scream (1996)
If there’s one thing Randy taught us in the Scream movies, it’s that there are certain rules one must stick to in order to make it to the end credits. And while there are different rules depending on the situation, a big one that in many horror movies is virginity. Although sex doesn’t always mark you for a killer’s hit list it’s often a common theme, so here are our Top 10 virginity-based horror movies to keep you safe… and chaste…
10. Ginger Snaps (2000)
John Fawcett’s teen movie follows sisters Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) after the former is bitten by a werewolf. In the 28 days before the next full moon, the siblings desperately try to figure out a cure and hopefully save Ginger.
The mixed hormones of puberty and the werewolf infection means that Ginger finds herself often confused, conflicted and unsure of how to channel her new feelings. In the hopes of staving off what turns out to be a literal hunger, Ginger decides to lose her virginity: however all she succeeds in doing is infecting fellow student Jason (Jesse Moss) in the process.
9. Friday the 13th series (1980)
Not always based around losing your virginity, the Friday the 13th movies nevertheless have more sex scenes than the average slasher. And considering Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) blames the death of her son on camp counsellors who were more interested in each other than the kids they should have been looking after, it’s no wonder Jason has a hatred for fornication.
As such many couples simply looking for a little private time together end up at the sharp end of Jason’s machete, often in the middle of the act itself.
8. Sleepwalkers (1992)
Charles (Brian Krause) and his mother Mary (Alice Krige) have a complicated relationship. Firstly, they are cat/vampire creatures who need to absorb the life-force of others. And secondly, they are more than a little incestuous. However, as they specifically need to drain virgins to survive, it means Charles needs to lure young women to their deaths, which makes his mother a little jealous.
Having to move from town to town and wait for Charles to find and seduce a virgin takes a lot of time, and it’s time that Mary doesn’t have as she desperately needs food in order to stay alive.
7. Jennifer’s Body (2009)
It’s a pretty standard horror movie trope for people to sacrifice virgins to the devil to get what they want. However when the band Low Shoulder decides to sacrifice Jennifer (Megan Fox) to get fame and fortune, they fail to check whether she’s actually a virgin or not, resulting in her coming back as a succubus and feeding on local boys. In the end best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) makes them pay for judging Jen and taking her life.
6. Teeth (2007)
Dawn (Jess Weixler) is a member of a teenage Christian abstinence group, performing talks at local schools to preach about the importance of waiting for marriage. But when she meets Tobey (Hale Appleman) through the group she starts to have complicated feelings for him and – after going on a date – Tobey attacks and sexually assaults her. This is also when Dawn discovers she has teeth in her vagina, which defend her during the attack, killing Tobey in the process.
Having lost her virginity in such a terrible way, Dawn finds her whole life thrown into turmoil as she comes to terms with the changes in her body and who she is now such an important part of her identity has been taken away without her consent.
5. The Final Girls (2015)
When she’s sucked into the fictional world of Camp Bloodbath – a slasher movie that stared her late mother as a camp counsellor named Nancy (Malin Akerman) – Max (Taissa Farmiga) is desperate to spend more time with this version of her mum and is intent on keeping her alive instead of seeing her fall victim to the murderous Billy (Daniel Norris).
In the end only Max and Nancy are left alive, but Nancy realises because she is not a virgin – and therefore not the Final Girl – she will never be able to defeat the killer, leading to her sacrificing herself to ensure Max has the Final Girl powers she needs to win the climatic battle.
4. It Follows (2014)
While there’s no direct discussion about which characters actually lose their virginity in It Follows, there is no denying it’s a theme that runs throughout. While Jay (Maika Monroe) has had sex before she hooks up with Hugh (Jake Weary), there’s no denying that sleeping with him is a big deal for her. But when she discovers she’s been infected by a curse that she can only pass on through sex, she’s forced to become less discerning about who she sleeps with, and think more about self-preservation.
Jay eventually ends up having sex with her friend Paul (Keir Gilchrist), who seems as though he is willing to trade his possible virginity to help his longtime friend/crush. However with that final, ambiguous shot, the curse will always be hanging over both of them.
3. Cherry Falls (2000)
In the town of Cherry Falls a killer is taking out teens: but flipping the tradition on its head, this time the victims are all virgins. And by carving that word into the bodies, the murderer wants everyone to know exactly who they are targeting, and why.
This all leads the local kids to panic, and they decide to throw a ‘pop your cherry’ party to take themselves off the kill list. Much like It Follows, Cherry Falls examines the social role of virginity and the pressures to lose, or keep it.
2. Scream (1996)
While older horror movies were a little more subtle about it, Scream came right out and said that if you have sex in a horror movie, chances are you are going to die. Randy (Jamie Kennedy) declares this to a party full of people as they watch Halloween (1978) and comment on how impressively Jamie Lee Curtis manages to avoid death throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s.
However Scream also turns the horror rules upside down by having final girl Sidney (Neve Campbell) finally lose her virginity to longtime boyfriend/serial killer Billy (Skeet Ulrich). Billy seems to think this will seal the deal and ensure he and fellow Ghostface Stu (Matthew Lillard) can get away with their crimes, but the added betrayal spurs Sidney on to defeat them both.
1. Halloween (1978)
Though John Carpenter has long denied that the idea of sex leading to death was an intentional message behind Halloween, there’s no ignoring that it became one of the key takeaways. Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is portrayed as virginal and innocent, while her pals Lynda (P.J. Soles) and Annie (Nancy Kyes) think of nothing but how they can arrange a sex date with their boyfriends.
And whilst the two friends are quickly murdered, Laurie is the only one paying enough attention to her surroundings to realise that the boogeyman might be real after all.
© Kim Morrison
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