Tuesday, October 10, 2017

31 Days of Halloween - Day 10

The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones

Lazy Fascist Press. 2012

Lindsey, a final girl who has survived a massacre at the hands of a killer in a Michael Jackson mask returns to high school in time for homecoming, and fills out the now empty slots of her murdered entourage with the school's misfits. One of those misfits, Izzy, recognizes that this is the formula for a "sequel" and that she and the rest of Lindsey's new clique, were chosen as fodder so that Lindsey can end up as final girl once again.

It would be simple, and inaccurate, to say that Jones embraces all of the tropes of the slasher film and spins them on their heels in order to throw the reader for a loop. That is an important component here.  Jones is aware that the reader probably knows all of those tropes too, dropping in references both obvious (characters named Jamie Curtis and Crystal Blake) and slyly descriptive shorthand to horror fans (the killer does a "Hodder" when looking at a victim), including cameos by horror actors as supporting characters, but what makes this book sing is Jones' narrative style.

The story is told as if someone were describing to you a movie that they were watching, dropping the usual descriptive prose with quick snapshot descriptions of visual and aural edits; establishing shots, quick pans, compositions in which an empty space behind a character looms suspiciously in frame, jettisoning a lot of unnecessary description in order to cut the story down to its meat and potatoes. For all of that, the relationships here feel more real than in one of the movies it emulates, and scenes of loss are more cutting for that. I'm not a real fan of the slasher subgenre, but found this book to be a very entertaining read.

1 comment:

Caffeinated Joe said...

I am a fan of the slasher genre and this book looks quite interesting!