Grady Hendrix vamps up the horror genre with ‘Final Girl Support Group’

Anika Brown

More stories from Anika Brown

February 2022
February 25, 2022
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Anika Brown

Grady Hendrix’s “Final Girl Support Group” completes the spooky season.

We all have seen the slasher sagas where everyone dies and “Oh Chelsea, don’t go in that basement where you just saw a guy with an ax go into, to chase your quarterback boyfriend.” In this case, Chelsea happens to fight back against the serial killer over and over again, finally avenging her friends, and –gasp– the credits roll.

New York Times best-selling author Grady Hendrix pushes past these cookie-cutter horror stereotypes with the terrorizing novel, “Final Girl Support Group.”

In “Final Girl Support Group,” Hendrix zeros in on the lives of those women the night following the massacre. He brings in the 80s term, “final girl”: the soul survivor of a slasher massacre, eventually avenging the death of her friends by killing the murderer. We all have heard of Jamie Lee Curtis from “Halloween” and Nancy Thompson from “Nightmare on Elm Street,” but what if we went into the psyche of a final girl and saw the life of the teen heroine twenty years later?

Meet Lynnette Tarkington: Twenty-two years ago, Lynnette became the last surviving person of her very own horror movie–twice. Since then, she’s lived in paralyzing fear that her monster will come back a third time. She spends every moment locked inside her booby-trapped apartment, always creating a new escape plan and occasionally adding to her memoir.

The only time she dares to leave is when meeting once a week in a dingy basement with five other final girls with the guidance of Dr. Carol Elliot. Since their first meeting, a decade ago, these women have learned to move on, except for Lynnette. Suddenly, the group’s worst nightmare begins– someone is targeting the final girls once again.

I have to admit I’m a huge horror fanatic, but I’ve always struggled with horror novels as they never had that satisfactory fear you can get while watching a horror movie. “Final Girl Support Group” was the book that changed my mind and added the cherry on top; Hendrix’s writing hurtles the reader into the mind of Lynnette, producing a paranoia every horror junkie loves. I was in awe of Hendrix’s writing; he managed to reach past that boring, formulaic horror story and seemingly created twists and turns with every page.

My biggest pet peeve is when characters in the horror genre are just straight-up dumb. “Final Girl Support Group” was different; Lynnette, the heroine, was brilliant in all aspects of her defense and actions, making deliberate decisions in every part of the story. In addition, I was incredibly impressed by Hendrix’s incorporation of the other final girls, who were also sharing their wit and strength alongside Lynnette’s.

This story is gross. It’s incredibly grotesque in its natural slasher fashion. However, it was humorous and mind-bending in all its glory. In “Final Girl Support Group”, Grady Hendrix creates a forever breath-catching novel that makes any reader want to get up and lock their doors.