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If you recall a few years back Casper Kelly made a collection of late-night, faux infomercials. These ranged from a popular one titled Too Many Cooks, and a terrifying one titled Unedited Footage of a Bear that acted as a late-night pharmaceutical commercial. As they progress, they end up becoming more and more disturbing. Kelly’s latest work, Fireplace aka Yule Log, is a surprise horror film that plays out around a Yule Log burning in a fireplace.
Fireplace/Yule Log surprised audiences last night by going from a faux Yule Log fire to a full-on, feature-length horror movie. Best of all, this horror film is effective on all fronts. It jumps from supernatural to slasher to home invasion to killer log exploration and then back again. What makes Yule Log that much more interesting and worthwhile is the ingenuity around its production. For most of the film the camera is entirely in one spot before going full Evil Dead and flying around the room.
Yule Log is also very much about its practical effects gore. The first bit of this shocks you by bashing someone’s face off, in full unflinching gory glory. Much like the Infomercial series, Yule Log is also very funny, and never takes itself too seriously. I’m also a huge fan of how Yule Log jumps from dread-filled to gut-busting.
Ever since Kelly created those creepy Infomercials, I have been a huge proponent of him getting his own horror film. I’m happy to see that he is excellent even in a feature format. It is also an added hilarious bonus that Kelly wrote the title track for “The Fireplace” as a nice end credit treat.
“Last year during the holidays I was watching a yule log video and suddenly I had an image of legs walking past the fire, just slightly out of focus, and hearing dialogue off screen.” Kelly said. “I loved the mysteriousness of that, and a story started to form. I’m so grateful to Adult Swim for taking the plunge with me, and I’m so proud to have made their first live-action film!”
Fireplace/Yule Log is as hilarious as it is chilling and its ability to jump between those two sentiments is a real accomplishment and keeps you on your toes. It takes some talent to be rife with dread and also to be a knee-slapper. Fireplace/Yule Log is unnerving and darkly funny all with a special kind of fantastic subversion. Kelly has a bright future ahead of him in horror. Fingers crossed he works with the likes of Blumhouse or Atomic Monster next.
You can stream Fireplace/Yule Log now on HBO Max.