‘Yule Log’ in Adult Swimming: Casper Kelly Interview +2023

If you know anything about it Swimming for adults, They know it’s best to raise an eyebrow when they describe something as “cozy”. This is especially true for Yule logthe network’s endlessly twisted horror feature that premiered thereafter Rick and Morty Season 6 finale. Big spoilers ahead.

“I was just looking at the Christmas Log last Christmas and you’re looking at this closeup of the fireplace. Then, for whatever reason, I just imagined, ‘What if you see those legs walking in the foreground, kind of out of focus?’ And you start hearing dialogue and you’re like, ‘Wait, what’s going on?'” Casper Kelly, Yule log’s writer and director, Decider said.

As surprising as Yule log may be for late-night viewers, there’s nothing unusual when it comes to Kelly’s relationship with Adult Swim. Over the years the Your pretty face is going to hell The creator has dropped three surprise short films for the network: 2020 Danny Ketchup2018 Final Deployment 4: Queen Battle Walkthroughand his best-known short film from 2014 “Too many cooks.” Every time Kelly had an idea for another one of those surprise drops, he was the one who went to Adult Swim instead of the other way around.

“I’ve referred this premise to Adult Swim as a 4 o’clock thing. And they’re like, ‘Yeah, OK, we like that,'” Kelly explained. “Then, for whatever reason, with no idea what was going to happen in it, I was like, ‘Hey, what if we made a movie out of this?’ And they said, ‘If you can do it for about the same amount of money, we could probably find you some more money. Yeah, let’s try.” And so it’s her first live-action film.”

Yule Sign up for adult swimming
Photo: adult swimming

The feature begins exactly as Kelly described: while a peaceful Christmas log crackles, a woman is heard speaking. Minutes later, you’re still forced to stare at that log as you hear this woman brutally murdered by a mother and her Leatherface-like adult son. From there it just spirals into darker, bizarre depths. Surprisingly, almost everything in Kelly’s original script makes it to the screen. In addition to The Texas Chainsaw MassacreKelly was inspired by horror classics such as Halloween, Friday the 13thand evil Dead while also drawing from the work of twisted creators like David Lynch, Nicolas Winding Refn and Panos Cosmatos. The end result is a film that skirts the lines between horror shock, true terror and absurd comedy.

True to form, this means balance Yule log’s practical implications. After all, this is the man who was responsible for it Mandy’s Cheddar Goblin ad. For Kelly, finding the line between awful and ridiculous when dealing with a prop like a smashed skull takes a lot of adjustment.

“It’s like, ‘OK, could you try making his eyeballs bigger? Can we make him scream for three minutes? Oh, that’s too long.’ So we’re going to shorten it and cut it where it’s a minute,” Kelly said. “It’s not related, but I just found out, maybe a few years ago, that I have a kind of aphantasy where I can’t imagine things, which is weird for a director. I can sort of do it, but not nearly as well as everyone else. I just have to see things and try things and then adapt.”

Despite its flashy tone and effects, it’s the themes at the heart of this film that make it a uniquely Kelly project. Throughout, Kelly’s work has been defined by both its absurdity and its underlying depth. As funny as “Too Many Cooks” was, it was also a prescient mockery of our obsessive need to consume television. Similarly, Final Deployment ends with an uncomfortable multi-streamer monologue that has the characters wondering if there’s more to their limited lives.

Yule log enters a similarly uncomfortable terrain with the idea of ​​time privilege. As the film’s modern-day characters try to figure out who or which murderous villains are out to get them, the film switches to different scenes from different decades in front of the same fireplace. In these moments, elements of Yule logs Main narratives we take for granted, like Zoe (Andrea Laing) and Alex’s (Justin Miles) interracial relationship, suddenly become pointed luxuries. America’s sordid history of slavery, homophobia and sexism lurks within Yule log’s shadow like another killer.

Zoe (Andrea Laing) holds an ax and a gun in Yule Log
Photo: adult swimming

“I’m Southern, and my parents are Southern. So I think about it, I think I’m a good person, but if I lived in the time of my ancestors, would I have been a good person? Or would I have just been following what everyone else was doing?” said Kelly. “Then you wonder what people will say about us in the future? Because I feel like I’m a good person, but maybe they’ll say, ‘Oh, he was terrible. He was driving around in a car and didn’t seem to care about global warming, although I care, but not enough not to drive a car.

“This room you are in, what else happened in this room? Before you were there? Or on this land?” Kelly asked. “It’s just interesting. And how does it affect us in ways we don’t know?”

Kelly admits he was “very nervous” as he shared a story that ultimately revolves around a black woman and the American history of slavery. “I consulted people; I’m still nervous. But so far, hearing from the press, people seem to like it and are reacting to it as intended. I know it’s hard and it was really hard for me to write it. I didn’t expect to go there,” Kelly said. “But I just came back to believing in the feelings and the questions and the things I’m trying to say. And even if I don’t say it quite right, I want to try to say it and I want people to think about it and talk about it. I really hoped I did well.”

Another hard element of this movie is the man in the chimney. On several occasions, a tiny man appears on the cursed Christmas tree, offering two different characters the same deal: if they follow his instructions, they can change their fate for the better. Both times, this promise turns out to be a ruse. Kelly declined to say specifically what the man in the fireplace represented. But he agreed when this reporter described him as some sort of queer-coded demon that fits into the overarching theme of time privilege.

“There’s one other aspect that you haven’t mentioned, but I’ll hold off. But yeah, you’re on the right track,” Kelly said. “I think he does the things he does with other people because he wants to do it to himself. But he can’t be part of the curse in my opinion. He can’t face that. So, in a weird way, he thinks he’s helping people, even though he’s an evil bastard.”

In the end, after fending off cursed pieces of wood, deranged killers, aliens and fire demons, Yule log ends with two final murders: those of Zoe and Alex. As brutal as that climax might be, it was always the one Kelly had in mind.

“I’m kind of an optimist, so this [ending] It’s philosophically at odds with my approach to life,” Kelly explained. “But at the same time it’s cathartic. I love that in movies where there’s a bleak ending and you come out feeling so relieved not to be in the movie anymore. In fact, dark movies often make me feel better than happy movies. I’m so relieved to be out of the movie and I’m like, ‘Oh, life looks so great now. Life is great.'”

Yule log now streaming on HBO Max.

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