Director: Marc Roussel
Writers: Marc Roussel, Mark Thidodeau
Cast: Julian Richings, Jake Goodman, Drew Davis, Ron Basch
The Last Halloween is Canadian director Marc Roussel’s latest addition to an already excellent collection of short films which includes the Twilight Zone-esque ‘ Remote’ and gory murder mystery ‘The Elusive Man’. This ghastly tale of pestilence, perishment and sinister visitors is an ideally gloomy treat for any excitable horror fan at their favourite time of year.
As the film opens on a desolate night, with the sullen image of a child in a ragged Ghost costume slowly approaching a dimly lit house, we may be forgiven for expecting all the usual tropes of a Halloween-set short film to follow, but when the boy rejoins the rest of his pre-pubescent clan of costumed Trick or Treaters (made up of a Witch, a Devil and a Grim Reaper) we see this is a haunting of a very different kind, that takes place in an eerie, plague-ravaged ruins of a society.
As the young and ghoulish quartet visit three equally haunted characters –a cautious gypsy hidden in her home, a rotting old man in a derelict house and a mourning couple locked away in their fortress- at their various, condemned abodes, we slowly suspect that the trick being played out by these four horse-children of this apocalypse may well be that there is no treat.
There is a wonderful blend of gothic, mediaeval and futuristic horror on display throughout and the story resonates like a dystopic Brothers Grimm tale – especially when the mini-harbingers , each representing a symbol of the season, dispose of their festive attire, resulting in a spectacular achievement in monster and prosthetic design, and a fantastic new spin on familiar imagery.
The cinematography, production and costume design are impressively bleak and in places this visually stunning ten minute film is reminiscent of other non-horror (but nonetheless terrifying) post-apocalyptic classics such as ‘Delicatessen’ and ‘The Road’.
A story riddled with a dreaded plague is impeccably timed to this particular Hallow’s Eve and this short , produced by Red Sneakers Media, is consistently tragic and wonderfully grim right up until it’s harrowing final shot.
Written by Marc Roussel and Mark Thibodeau, and based on a comic book by Thibodeau, The Last Halloween is currently being screened at prestigious film festivals such as Raindance Film Festival and Screamfest and is destined for (well-deserved) widespread praise and attention come October 31st.