The Last Final Girl
Aerial View: A suburban town in Texas. Everyone’s got an automatic garage door opener. All the kids jump off a perilous cliff into a shallow river as a rite of passage. The sheriff is a local celebrity. You know this town. You’re from this town.
Zoom In: Homecoming princess, Lindsay. She’s just barely escaped death at the hands of a brutal, sadistic murderer in a Michael Jackson mask. Up on the cliff, she was rescued by a horse and bravely defeated the killer, alone, bra-less. Her story is already a legend. She’s this town’s heroic final girl, their virgin angel.
Monster Vision: Halloween masks floating down that same river the kids jump into.But just as one slaughter is not enough for Billie Jean, our masked killer, one victory is not enough for Lindsay. Her high school is full of final girls, and she’s not the only one who knows the rules of the game.
When Lindsay chooses a host of virgins, misfits, and former final girls to replace the slaughtered members of her original homecoming court, it’s not just a fight for survival—it’s a fight to become The Last Final Girl.
reviews : LA Review of Books (Adam Cesare) | Manarchy | Shredded Maps | Pterodactyl Samurai | Chioroscura (Gabino Iglesias) | GoodReads | Booked Podcast | Hellnotes (Brian M. Sammons) | Bloody Disgusting (top ten from 2012) | Innsmouth Free Press (Jesse Bullington) | @Best Horror Novels | AuthorQuest | Functionally Literate Radio (@22mins. or, scroll down a line to the embed) | Paper Cuts at Cemetery Dance | Zach Bartlett | The Lineup’s 7 Books | that Black T-Shirt dude again | Unnerving Magazine | Horror After Dark | Musings of a Final Girl | Nightfire |
not unrelated: “I Was a Teenage Slasher Victim” | Interview at Mixer | on the radio | “Dear Final Girls” | “Dear Sidney” | “A Survival Guide for the Police Officer Guarding the Final Girl’s House” | “Captain’s Lament“
And now some words from our sponsors about The Last Final Girl:
Jones is attempting to reconcile every shade of the slasher, not simply to namecheck but in order to exorcize the genre and explore his own relationship to it. It’s a fascinating, and frequently quite funny, exploration of a media-soaked mind. – Adam Cesare, LA Review of Books
Another element of the book that’s truly enjoyable is the fact that Jones’ love for horror films becomes apparent almost immediately. Besides deconstructing slasher films and then offering a new take on the subgenre, the author mixed in a plethora of horror movie references that range from the very mainstream to the somewhat obscure. Ultimately, this makes the book feel like, among other things, a fun homage to every movie that has ever featured a mysterious masked killer, young people partying, and female victims that end up showing some skin. – Chiaroscura
Jones has got an eye for even the most subtle of horror film cliches, and his clever winks at slasher tropes will leave genre fans cackling with knowing glee. — Bloody Disgusting
What Stephen Graham Jones does in The Last Final Girl is magic. I don’t mean the sort of magic that is storytelling, but actual magic, the David Copperfield kind. This book, it’s what Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige would have been were it a slasher. — Manarchy
Perhaps the smartest send-up of slashers ever, a brainier, brawnier, literary SCREAM; the ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN of the genre, complete with inside jokes stashed in every margin, every direction . . . the greatest slasher movie never made. Yet. — Jesse Bullington, Innsmouth
and, from the pen of Jordan Dyke, it’s Billie Jean:
And, I forget which issue this was, but I’m thinking it’s some of the Warren Ellis X-Men? Like, right after Whedon? Billie Jean lives:
And here’s LFG showing up in Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts:
And, this, this this this:
And, coolest snapshot ever? Quite possibly:
And, back when I wrote The Last Final Girl—2010? 2011?—these were NOT on the shelf at Goodwill. But they are now. Meaning: I’m now scoping hard for: a rhinestone + red fake leather jacket, and a sparkly white glove. And maybe a longsword. I suspect the sword is the easy part of that to find.
Though, @JadedFool showed me this one, which is probably better (also? it’s called “Whacko Jacko”):
And what could possibly be cooler than these, right?