HellraiserNightmare on Elm Street

“You solved the box, we came. Now you must come with us, taste our pleasures.”

“Kirsty…They didn’t tell you, did they? They’ve changed the rules of the fairy tale. Now I’m longer just the wicked stepmother. Now I’m the evil queen.”

“Fred Krueger did it, Daddy. And only I can get him. It’s my nightmare he comes to.”

Both the Hellraiser and Nightmare on Elm Street series fit the archetype in some ways. A young female heroine battles the forces of evil, specifically the adversaries Pinhead and Freddy, respectively, whose strange, dark, labyrinthine realms keep seeping into her life (through the magic box in Hellraiser, and through dreams in Nightmare). In fact, in both movies the girl returns to her own home or other “normal” setting within the Otherworld at some point. She has a number of companions, in particular another young girl who’s going through the same thing, who she helps and guides. Both also results from the mistakes of parents or other adults.

While Young Adult Fantasy is the most common genre for Girls Underground books, horror appears to be the most frequent film genre in which to find the archetype.


“That myths have traditionally gendered the one [role] male and the other female seems obvious. But as the film critic Carol J. Clover has shown, the distribution of these roles is not graven in stone, for mainstream horror films….position women as heroic combatants, figures who are not at all passive and who succeed in outsmarting formidable male adversaries, many of whom operate out of dark, subterranean spaces.” [Maria Tatar, Secrets Beyond The Door]