Get Your Reps In: “The Last Unicorn” Is Still Giving Kids Nightmares

What to see at Portland’s repertory theaters.

The Last Unicorn (Courtesy of IMDB)

The Last Unicorn (1982)

Two decades into redefining the TV holiday special (stop-motion Frosty, Rudolph, etc.), the animation team of Rankin/Bass got freakier with The Last Unicorn.

Based on the 1968 Peter S. Beagle fantasy novel, the film captures all of the book’s alluring, riddlesome beauty. Upon learning that a giant fiery bull has driven her kind to extinction, a unicorn (voiced by Mia Farrow) journeys to a craggy, seaside kingdom to see if she truly is (you guessed it) the last unicorn.

It would be a slight exaggeration to term this evocative kids’ movie “nightmare fuel” (certainly, the boyish, bumbling Schmendrick the Magician, voiced by Alan Arkin, is meant mostly to entertain children). But the heavy-hoofed red bull and an interlude in which the unicorn is conscripted into a traveling circus alongside a harpy are so visually striking and wordlessly monstrous that they’ll lodge themselves in your gray matter forever.

Meanwhile, it would not be an exaggeration to call the movie’s theme song—written by all-time songsmith Jimmy Webb and performed by America—a certified ren-faire banger. Clinton, April 2.


Cinema 21: Nostalghia (1983), March 29-31. Three on a Match (1932), March 30. Cinemagic: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), March 30-31. Hero (2002), March 31 and April 1. Brokeback Mountain (2005), March 30 and April 3. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), March 29. Wild Zero (1999), March 29 and April 2. Clinton: Tales From the Hood (1995) with live score, March 28. Lady Bird (2017), March 29. Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022), March 30. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), March 30. Born in Flames (1983), March 31. Hollywood: In the Cut (2003), March 28. Poison Ivy (1992), March 29. Birds of Prey (2020), March 30. Stop Making Sense (1984), March 30. Titus (1999), March 31. Ratcatcher (1999), April 1. Martial Law (1991), April 2. Tomorrow: Showing Up (2023), March 28. Just for Kicks (2005), March 29. The Gospel of Eureka (2018), March 30. Midsommar (2019), March 31.

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