Kirsty Cotton is the protagonist of Clive Barker’s gory classic Hellraiser. She would go on to star in Hellbound: Hellraiser II and make appearances in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth and Hellraiser: Hellseeker. Played by Ashley Laurence, the character of Kirsty first appeared in Hellbound Heart, the novella on which Hellraiser is based.
Hellraiser is about a man named Frank who in his pursuit of the ultimate pleasures unknowingly opens a portal to hell via a puzzle box. Through the portal come a group of mutilated humans/demons who call themselves the Cenobites. They promptly tear Frank apart body and soul via meat hooks on chains. Later Larry Cotton with second wife Julia and daughter Kirsty move into the family home that unbeknownst to them was the location of Frank’s murder. When Julia realizes that the super sexy Frank (whom she’d had an affair with) has become a giant mess of organs and tissue, she does what anyone would for a good lay. She sets about bringing victims to help restore him to his former sleazy glory.
When Kirsty catches wind of her wicked Step Mommy’s shenanigans in the form of nearly back to normal Frank trying to eat a trick Julia brought home over lunch she does what any of us would do. She runs like hell. And when she blacks out only to realize she’s in the hospital and everyone keeps telling her it was a dream she does what none of us would do. She opens the effing box. Rather then be whisked off to Pinhead and company’s 5 Star Torture Resort in Hell, she manages to close the box sending the Cenobites back to hell.
Kirsty survives the first film only to find herself in the looney bin for telling people what happened to her. Picking up right after the first installment (ala Halloween II, Friday the 13th 2), Kirsty finds herself not only mourning the loss of her father but questioning her sanity. On top of that her doctor is kind of a Pinhead fanboy. Kirsty manages to descend to Hell itself and back.
Kirsty makes her third appearance on video from her time in the psych ward but beyond that would disappear from the franchise for several installments. She would finally surface in the direct to video sequel Hellraiser: Hellseeker. In this installment she is married to Dennis Duffy and disappears after a terrible car accident. I won’t ruin the ending for this sequel which is definitely not the best but far from the worst.
While the franchise has declined in quality drastically since the first two installments, Kirsty manages to always be an enjoyable final girl. And what’s more is that she has the honor of being one of the few final girls from the golden age to survive all the movies they have been in. She joins vets like Alice Johnson from the A Nightmare On Elm Street series, Andy Barclay from the Child’s Play films and Ash Williams from Evil Dead.