The Movie Waffler Shorts in Focus - <i>The Last Halloween</i> | The Movie Waffler

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Shorts in Focus - The Last Halloween

A group of kids trick or treat through a post-apocalyptic suburbia.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Marc Roussel


Adapted from a comic book, Marc Roussel’s The Last Halloween retains the clear visual style and stark compositions of its previous media. As a ragtag group of kids trick or treat through a post-apocalyptic suburbia, the evocative and detailed sets create a vivid ambiance of danger and ruination. The oddness of this world is further communicated by the treats that the kids – a devil, a ghost, a witch, the grim reaper - receive and the adults they encounter; a grimy can of tuna is proffered, and a bald Riff Raff lookalike is smeared with oozing lesions. The kids seem entirely unperturbed by these happenstances, and are also joyfully oblivious to the adult’s warnings not to be outside on Halloween. We get the impression that the children have grown up in this world, and that the radiation imbued town holds no fear for them as it is all they know: the world of yesterday that the adults lament is long gone, destroyed by their own careless hands.
The narrative develops as the gang call upon a heavily fortified house- cctv, barbed wire fences- home to a paranoid couple, who are very reluctant to answer the door. Through the closed circuit system the husband (Ron Basch) tells the trick or treaters to get lost, but is then shocked when it transpires that the kids somehow know his name…
The Last Halloween is very well orchestrated and evocative. The use of music is astutely creepy, and the amber glows of its chiaroscuro lighting give the short a seasonal atmosphere. This is a specifically adult nightmare though; The Last Halloween draws upon the increasing fear of wayward children, as exemplified by the hijinks of the trick or treaters’ counterparts in feature lengths such as The Children (2008) and Island of the Damned (1975). Perhaps this fear stems from the encroachment of age; the idea that the young will eventually usurp our place in the world, adulthood entailing an increasing irrelevancy. The Last Halloween is certainly a film where the children have the last cackle.
On the less positive side, in The Last Halloween’s final scenes, the silent menace of the children wandering the town and sneaking into the house give way to a costume and effects heavy finale which is arguably apposite for the holiday it is set in, but which I felt was slightly incongruous with the film’s earlier delicacy. However, this site’s love for Halloween is well documented, and The Last Halloween is highly recommended as a bittersweet Halloween aperitif for your usual banquet of cinematic tricks and treats.

The Last Halloween is available at thelasthalloween.ca or you can watch it right here below


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