To celebrate Women in Horror Month, I will be highlighting some of my favorite undersung female characters in horror films each day this month. These posts will contain some spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movies mentioned do yourself a solid and check them out before reading all the way through.
Today I’m celebrating Rocky from 1994’s Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead – an utterly unforgettable woman from an otherwise sort of forgettable franchise sequel (well except for the killer frisbee kid because no one forgets that).
Where do I begin with how awesome Rocky is? I’ll start with the first moment we see her onscreen. We meet Rocky when her and her friend Tanesha sneak up and capture our protagonist Reggie when he sneaks into the same mausoleum they are in.
Tanesha and Rocky are in a “kick ass first, ask questions later” mood because their whole town has either died or disappeared thanks to the nefarious Tall Man. Before Rocky can question Reggie, one of the Tall Man’s flying spheres kills Tanesha, and a little kid emerges from the shadows and shoots the sphere out of the air. Rocky wastes no time in saying what anyone would in this situation:
“What the fuck was that? And who the hell are you two?”Rocky, Phantasm III
She teams up with Reggie and Tim, all the while outstyling them.
The Phantasm films aren’t known for well-drawn female characters – most of them end up being victims, often after sleeping with Reggie or one of the other protagonists. But Rocky is an exception. She is rocking (I think you know the pun is intended) nunchucks and a military background that make her more than capable of defeating the forces of evil alongside Reggie and Tim.
One of the things I love most about Rocky is how cooly and definitively she rejects Reggie’s advances. She is not someone to be trifled with when it comes to cheesy men with cheesy pickup lines.
She also gives Reggie a much-needed dose of his own medicine for being a horndog.
She is a survivor who knows better than to overstay her welcome. When Reggie talks about continuing the quest to destroy the Tall Man’s army at the end of the film, she calmly explains kicking zombie ass just isn’t her gig and she’s got other things to tend to. I’ll let Rocky tell it best to sum up her exit from the movie:
I cannot think of a more deserving character to start this month celebrating. Hats off to you Rocky.