What 80s horror movies taught me about teenage blonde girls

Ah, the 1980s, a wonderful time for horror movie fans.  The genre really kicked into high gear and produced some of the most iconic movie monsters since the great Universal blitz in the 1950s.  We got the likes of Freddy Kruegar, Jason Vorhees, Chucky, Pinhead, and Ash (ok, he’s not a monster, but he IS the king, baby).

We also got a weird fascination with blonde teenagers.

This all probably started with Sissy Spacek’s performance as Carrie in 1976, but it really flourished in the 80s.  Let’s take a look at three different versions of this strange fetish for blonde girls:

Kirsten – Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors

Also comes in a Medium

This was Patricia Arquette’s first role (she’s better known today for the TV show The Medium, hence the bad pun above).  Kirsten is a young woman with the power to pull people into her dreams.  Sounds great, unless you happen to live on Elm Street.  Kirsten uses her power in The Dream Warriors to take her therapy group with her into the dream world to fight Freddy, with predictably poor results.  Of course, they do win, but most of the group is killed.  The reason for her power? Well, she is one of the last Elm Street children.  Other than that…because she’s blonde.

Tiffany – Hellbound: Hellraiser 2

Tiffany is the semi-autistic patient of the evil Dr. Channard in Hellraiser 2, aka the last good Hellraiser movie.  Like Rainman, Tiffany is good at doing one thing over and over.  In her case, it’s solving puzzles, so it’s quite convenient that her mother brought her to a doctor who’s obsessed with the Lament Configuration puzzle box.  The good…er…evil doctor eventually takes Tiffany to his funky office that looks like it’s been decorated with a mix of Pier 1 and Halloween USA props, and she solves the box for him, but the cenobites, not being complete idiots, realize the girl isn’t the one who called them.  Tiffany still gets stuck in hell, of course, because this is Hellraiser and otherwise the title would be kind of silly.  She and her new best buddy Kirsty (notice that K names were also big in 80s horror movies?) eventually defeat the doctor and Tiffany manages to turn the box back into a box which makes the evil god Leviathan turn into a box.  Don’t worry if you don’t get it, it doesn’t much matter anyway.  The point is, Tiffany uses her super puzzle solving skills to close the door to hell.  Also, she learns to speak again, starting with everyone’s favorite epithet, “Shit!”.  The reason for Tiffany’s powers?  Brain damage and emotional trauma!

Tina – Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Sissy who?

With a timeline that is only slightly less complicated than the one in Back to the Future, Friday the 13th manages to shoehorn in Tina, a young girl who grows up at Crystal Lake between teen slaughter orgies.  Tina is a telekinetic, which means she should be able to take apart Jason Vorhees pretty easily, but that would make for a boring movie, so instead we get a few hours of her hanging out with her new buds when she moves back to the old family home on the lake after many years away.  Tina is the most direct Carrie rip-off of our three flaxen-haired maidens; she’s telekinetic, her powers manifest because of her abusive father (whom she kills), and she’s about as socially awkward as can be.  Tina does defeat Jason, of course, but he never actually stays dead, so we’ll call it a draw.  The reason for her powers?  A raging alcoholic father and blonde hair!

So there you have it, three girls, three franchises, basically the same exact role.  In fact, Tiffany in Hellraiser and Kirsten in Dream Warriors are written almost exactly the same.  If you want to look for more proof of the blonde conspiracy, look at Carol Ann from Poltergeist.  She’s younger, yes, but still possessed of a strange power for no other reason than being blonde.

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