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The Last Final Girl Paperback – September 16, 2012
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The story is, of course, a slasher flick. With a twist.
"Lindsay's right," Izzy says, collecting the leftovers. "Billie Jean is coming back for her. With a little help from his friends."
"So . . . so is this a horror movie now, or a teen comedy?" Brittney says.
"It's an afterschool special," Izzy says, Hoddering her head over to study Billie Jean. "Know what the take-home message is? Don't **** with Izzy Stratford."
Lindsay, the "Final Girl" in the movie that ended in the opening chapter, survived an encounter with a slasher-killer in a Michael Jackson mask. Now as homecoming queen, she's going to lead her high school in a celebration of life and survival, and she's chosen a handful of other very special girls for her court.
They're all Final Girls who survived their own teen bloodbaths.
Since this is a slasher film, and Stephen Graham Jones is not going to neglect a single trope, even Izzy, the confused odd girl out, knows that a homecoming game with a cast right out of every scary movie ever can only end in blood.
The Last Final Girl is fun, if you find movies like Halloween and My Bloody Valentine and Nightmare on Elm Street fun. And it tries - it tries so very, very hard - to be clever. But it's not quite as clever as it tries to be. It's been billed as a literary version of Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods, but it's not a deconstruction so much as a tongue-in-cheek fan fiction collage. The characters, all of them, are genre-savvy and know they are in a horror flick, so they try to outsmart fate, even knowing that the rules aren't going to let them all survive. The author tries to keep us in suspense about who's really the villain, but like many slasher films, it kind of spins out of control during the bloody finale. But hey, who says they have to make sense?
The writing style will definitely not be to everyone's taste. It's written in present tense screenplay format, complete with camera directions:
→ and now Billie Jean's clambering easily over the rail after Izzy and Ben, Izzy falling backwards and up, her POV looking ahead, where they're going: to the top rail.
A dead end. A fast drop. Just like the cliff.
"Stupid girls run upstairs, stupid girls run upstairs," she's saying to herself, turning to pull Ben with her up the aluminum steps, Billie Jean just feet behind them,
→ Crystal down on the track, Billie Jean in the crosshairs of Dante's rifle, about to have his insides opened up.
"Now, you ****er," Crystal says, and pulls the trigger.
She doesn't understand this gun.
It really does convey the sense of being in a movie, watching from seats sticky with artificial butter through the alternating POV of a stalking serial killer and spunky teenagers, but it also gets annoying after a while.
I almost wanted to rate this 4 stars, but the writing style wore on me and while there were some good jokes, they weren't quite funny enough to elevate this to true satire, let alone genius. Definitely a fun read for any horror fan, but it's mostly just a celebration of all those R-rated blood-and-guts-and-titty-fests of our (well, my) youth
This book is quite meta, using the final girl trope to build a story on. It's quite fun too. The dialogues are great.
The experimental style, which feels like a movie script meeting literature, made me visualize more of this story than I normally do. At times it slowed my reading down some, when the POV changed in an unexpected way and I had to reorient myself in the scene.
Reading this teen slasher felt like it had been written by the genre itself. There are a ton of references to horror movies and characters. This book is smart. It gives a clever insight in what the genre is about while maintaining a fun story throughout.
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The first stumbling block is the text's presented.Read more