The Yule Log in Adult Swimming: An Interview with Casper Kelly

If you know anything about it swimming for adults, you know it’s better to raise an eyebrow when they describe something as “comfortable.” This is especially true Christmas magazinethen the infinite fear feature of the generated network rick and morty Season 6 finale. Major spoilers ahead.

“I was looking at the latest yule magazine and you’re looking at this close-up of the fireplace. Then for some reason I just imagined: “What if you see those legs walking in the foreground, kind of blurred?” And you start hearing dialogue and you’re like, ‘Wait, what’s going on?’ »Casper Kelly, Christmas Magazine’‘s writer and director told Decider.

How surprising Christmas magazine maybe that’s not unusual for late night viewers when it comes to Kelly’s relationship with Adult Swim. Over the years, Your beautiful face is going to hell The creator released three surprise shorts for the network: “Danny Ketchup” in 2020, “Final Deployment 4: Queen Battle Walkthrough” in 2018, and his most popular short, “Too Many Cooks” in 2014. drop, he instead went to Adult Swimming.

“I presented this basis to Adult Swimming at 4 in the morning. And they’re like, ‘Yeah, okay, we like that,'” Kelly explained. “Then somehow, without any idea what was going to happen, I said, ‘Hey, how about we make a movie of this?'” They told me if you could do it for about the same money, we could probably find you a little bit more. Yes, let’s try. And this is their first live action movie.

Enter adult swimming
Image: Swimming for adults

The feature begins as Kelly describes it: like the peaceful crackling of a yule log, you hear a woman speaking. Minutes later, when you hear about this woman being brutally murdered by a Leatherface mother and her adult son, you’re still forced to look at that magazine. From there it spirals into darker, stranger 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, e.g Halloween, Friday the 13thand evil Dead Drawing inspiration from the work of more eccentric creators such as David Lynch, Nicolas Winding Refn and Panos Cosmatos. The result is a film that straddles the boundaries between horror, true terror and absurdist comedy.

True to form, this balance pays off christmas note’s practical implications. After all, he was the man in charge Mandy’Cheddar Goblin ad. For Kelly, finding the line between terrifying and ridiculous when it comes to an accessory like a battered skull requires a lot of fine-tuning.

“He’s like, ‘Okay, can you try to make his pupils grow?’ Can we make him scream for three minutes? Oh, this is too long. So we’re going to cut it and edit it where it’s a minute,” Kelly said. “It has nothing to do with it, but maybe a few years ago I found out that I have a kind of aphantasia, where I can’t imagine everything, which is strange for a director. I can sort of do it, but not in the way that everyone thinks… I just have to see and try things out and then adapt.

Despite the striking tone and effects, it’s the themes at the heart of this film that make it a uniquely Kelly project. Consistently, Kelly’s work has been defined by both its absurdity and essential depth. As funny as “Extreme Chef” was, it was also a biased satire of our obsessive need to consume television. Likewise, “Final Deployment” ends with an anxious multi-streamer monologue in which the characters wonder if there’s more to their limited lives.

Christmas magazine tackles equally troubling territory with the idea of ​​temporary privilege. The film cuts to different scenes from different decades in front of the same fireplace as the film’s present-day characters try to figure out who or what murderous villains are targeting them. Elements of these moments Christmas magazine The main story we take for granted as the interracial relationship of Zoe (Andrea Laing) and Alex (Justin Miles) suddenly turns into stark luxury. America’s sordid history of slavery, homophobia, and sexism is hidden Christmas Magazine’s shadows as another killer.

Zoe (Andrea Laing) wields an ax and a gun in the Yule Log
Image: Swimming for adults

“I’m from the south, my parents are from the south. So I think I am a good person, but would I have been a good person if I had lived in the time of my ancestors? Or would I follow what everyone else was doing? Kelly said. “So it makes you wonder, going forward, what are people going to say about us? Because I feel like a good person, but maybe they’ll say, ‘Oh, he was terrible. He was driving, and I didn’t seem to care about global warming, though, but not enough to not drive.

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

Kelly admits she was “really nervous” about telling a story based on a black woman and the history of slavery in America. “I consulted people; I’m still nervous. But still, when they hear the press, people like it and react as expected. I know it’s hard and it was really hard for me to write this. I didn’t expect to go there,” Kelly said. “But I came back to the fact that I just believed in feelings and questions and what I was trying to say. Even if I don’t say them exactly right, I want to try to say them, and I want people to think and talk about it. I was really hoping to do well.

Another difficult element of this film is the man in the chimney. Several times a small man appears above the cursed journal and offers the same deal to two different characters: if they follow his instructions, they can change their fate for the better. Both times this promise turns out to be a trick. Kelly declined to say publicly what the man in the fireplace represents. But when this reporter described him as some kind of strangely coded demon that fit the general theme of temporary privilege, he agreed.

“There’s another thing you didn’t say, but I’ll keep to myself. But yeah, you’re on the right track,” Kelly said. “I think he does it to others because he wants to do it to himself. But in my opinion he cannot be part of the curse. He cannot do this to himself. So, in a strange way, despite being an evil bastard, he thinks he’s helping people.

Finally, after fighting cursed pieces of wood, demented assassins, aliens, and fire demons, Christmas magazine ends with two definitive murders: Zoe’s and Alex’s. As blunt as it sounds, he was always on Kelly’s mind.

“I’m a bit optimistic, that’s why [ending] It’s kind of a philosophical take on how I feel about life,” Kelly explained. “But at the same time, it’s cathartic. I love it in movies that have a rhythmic ending and you feel so relieved to walk away from the movie. In fact, dark movies often make me feel better than happy ones. I feel relieved to be out of the movie and think, “Oh, life is so good right now. Life is Beautiful.'”

Christmas magazine now streaming on HBO Max.

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