GIRLS ON HORROR (Oct. 8): Kirsty Cotton




Role in the horror community: Final girl

Claim to fame: The original Hellraiser film, which saw her battling her serial killing stepmother Julia and Julia’s skinless boyfriend/her pervy uncle Frank (yep, that Clive Barker is a messed up SOB.). She also appeared in the sequel, and returned to star in the sixth film Hellraiser: Hellseeker and Boom! Studios’ comic series that followed.

Weapon of Choice: In the first film, a puzzle box (Lament Configuration) that unleashes the Cenobites, a group of S&M-obsessed monsters lead by facially punctured baddie Pinhead that want to punish Frank for escaping their grasp (he lost his skin coming back from their hellish realm) and Julia for keeping him alive in her attic.

Why she’s bloody brilliant: This girl may seem, as Julia notes at one point in Hellraiser II, to be a Snow White figure to Julia’s “evil queen,” but she’s smarter than some half-asleep princess willing to bite into a stranger’s shiny, seemingly tasty bait. In the original Hellraiser, she questions Julia even before she learns of the woman’s sinful life with Frank. Once her suspicions are confirmed (read: she sees Julia inviting strange men into her father’s house to kill), she begins a serious bitchhunt, which culminates with her  luring the Cenobites back to Julia and Frank’s lair to kill them after opening the Lament Configuration. When the Cenobites come after her following their murder spree, she fights back, using the box to send Pinhead and Co. back to their version of hell.  Oh, and she also manages to save her totally useless boyfriend in the midst of all this madness.

Kirsty’s even more awesomely take-charge in Hellraiser II, despite being locked in a psych ward as a result of her trauma. After seemingly receiving a message from her dead father — whom Julia and Frank killed in the first film, using his skin to disguise the disgustingly disfigured Frank — and discovering that Julia has been brought back to Earth via evil dark pleasure seeker Dr. Channard, she ventures back into the Cenobite realm. She thinks outside the puzzle box this time too, appealing to Pinhead’s humanity (he and his Cenobite comrades were, after all, once human) and convincing him to free herself and new pal Tiffany; and killing Julia and donning her lifeless skin, just as Frank did her father’s, to evade Channard.

Kirsty continues her quest to uphold decency in the latter Hellraiser works. She makes another deal with Pinhead in Hellseeker, trading the lives of her murder-plotting, cheating boyfriend Trevor and Trevor’s mistresses for her own. And in the comics, she even agrees to trade places with Pinhead, becoming a Cenobite so he can retain his humanity.

Read more Girls on Horror posts.


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