Offbeat horror flick ‘Adult Swim Yule Log’ is brainchild of Atlanta’s Casper Kelly

It uses the traditional yule log video and turns it on its head

Eight years ago, Atlanta-based producer Chris “Casper” Kelly conjured up an 11-minute short for Adult Swim that became a momentary obsession on the web.

Dubbed “Too Many Cooks,” the film begins like a “Full House”-style sitcom with an incredibly catchy theme song and a seemingly endless supply of actors getting on-screen credits. Soon, it devolves into a horror movie featuring a cannibalistic serial killer, space lasers and a bizarre ALF-like puppet creature.

“Too Many Cooks” became a cult viral sensation and has been watched more than 23 million times on YouTube.

Now Kelly has a follow-up film called “Adult Swim Yule Log” that aired after the sixth season finale of “Rick & Morty” on Dec. 11 and has gotten comparable buzz.

Kelly, also creator of Adult Swim’s workplace comedy “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell,” last year was watching one of those endless yule log videos. “I got this idea,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday. “What if you saw legs in front of the fireplace and dialogue off screen? This would be a neat way to tell a story. Then I thought, ‘This is a chance to make a movie!’”

He wrote a script, and Adult Swim went for it, making it the first live-action film in the Atlanta-based network’s two-decade history.

“This is something I’ve always dreamed of doing,” said Kelly, who worked for Turner Broadcasting for about 20 years and is now an independent writer, director and producer.

So over 15 days over the summer, Kelly shot the super low-budget full-length film in a Decatur home masquerading as a mountain cabin up in Blue Ridge.

“Adult Swim Yule Log” opens for two minutes like those traditional yule log videos, ever so peaceful. (Kelly chose a gas fireplace because he said a wood fireplace would have caused a “continuity nightmare.”)

During the third minute, a cleaner arrives at the cabin, followed by a couple: Alex (Justin Miles), a part-time YouTuber, and his girlfriend Zoe (Andrea Laing). They are joined by a nutty mother-son duo, a group of podcasters, a silver alien and a tiny well-dressed man inside the fire. Of course, the yule log is possessed because it just has to be, right? Murder and mayhem are the order of the day.

Credit: Jeremy Freeman

Credit: Jeremy Freeman

Kelly said he chose the horror genre in part because it fits the Adult Swim oeuvre and his own interests.

He also threw in some cool time travel for kicks, showing the house’s different inhabitants over a long span of time. “As a Southerner, you think about history and what happened on that same plot of land over time,” he said.

None of the actors in the movie are big names and efforts to nab a celebrity cameo fell through. But Kelly said he was thrilled with the quality of the acting from those he cast.

So far, Kelly said he isn’t sure how many people have actually seen the film on HBO Max or Adult Swim, but “the press and social media has been mind blowing. Entertainment Weekly featured it. To see a photo of one of my actors next to Brendan Fraser of ‘The Whale’ is crazy,” he said. “And I’ve seen HBO Max promote it on its front page with ‘White Lotus.’”

He thinks the bizarre conceit helped generate word of mouth. “The yule log is such a cozy thing,” he said. “Then people were surprised. You don’t see that a lot anymore. People tend to know things before they come around.”

But he has not watched “Adult Swim Yule Log” since it came out.

“There was a screening party,” Kelly said. “I couldn’t go. I was too much of a nervous wreck!”

If anything, the movie did remind him to get his own fireplace checked. “We haven’t used it in six years,” he admitted.

Credit: NICOLE YAV

Credit: NICOLE YAV


HOW TO WATCH

“Adult Swim Yule Log,” available for HBO Max subscribers

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