Louie C.K. Interview By James Poniewozik — Full | The Paley Center
This is a couple years old (it happened right after Season 1), but I’m just getting around to watching it. It’s excellent. I really love that Louis C.K. exists, in his natural state, as a human being, and that I get to watch him tell stories. Like, I feel grateful.
I don’t know. Might be the wine talking. I’m at the grateful point of the bottle. Later on, I’ll get surly, and then I’ll start watching videos of puppies, and then I’ll fall asleep.
We’re all familiar with the formula: A swath of sexy college co-eds embarks on a holiday road trip to an unmarked rural destination. Along the way, they encounter two silent, stare-heavy hillbillies whom evoke a strong sense of paranoia and unease within the group. Regardless of their fear of locals, the hot young campers continue adventuring, only to soon be plagued by the kidnapping of one of their friends and the apparent death of another. Within moments, it is concluded that “those guys from the gas station” are responsible for the tragic happenings, and the only way to stop them is through unobstructed, civilian, revenge-style justice.
But what if those college kids were wrong from the very beginning? What if the two dusty hicks from town weren’t predatorial and creepy, but just socially awkward? And what if their friend wasn’t kidnapped, but rescued from drowning and then misinterpreted as being abducted? Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil throws a wrench into the gears of the rural ensemble-horror subgenre by exploring those very questions.
The film centers around Dale (a cushiony teddy bear who wears a trucker hat) and his brother Tucker (a hard-working everyman who wants nothing more in life than a vacation house by the lake), and their unfortunate encounters with a group of vacationing college students. While secretly peeping at the college kids’ late-night skinny dipping session, Dale and Tuck witness one of the campers (Allison) falling into the water and hitting her head on a rock. They rescue her within seeing-distance of the rest of the group, but Allison’s shocked friends are freaked out by the sight of two strangers hauling her body into a fishing boat in the middle of the night; naturally, they respond to the situation by running away screaming into the woods. Back at their cabin, Tucker and Dale nurse the rescued girl back to consciousness and recap the events of the previous evening; meanwhile, Allison’s friends decide against contacting local authorities and set off the next morning on a vigilante rescue mission for her, weapons in-hand.
Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is a pleasantly surprising film from start to finish. It begins in such a typical fashion, easing the audience into a recognizable horror universe, but then flips itself completely upside-down to offer some of the best laughs and scares of 2011 cinema. Much like its hor-com predecessors (see: Severance and Shaun of the Dead), shock cinematography and graphic splatter-gore are never sacrificed for the sake of appealing beyond the horror genre. My favorite sequence occurs when Dale is attacked by a man with a spear (who misses, only to fall onto his own spear) and Tucker is charged upon by a man with a dagger (who misses and falls into a running wood chipper). The shot never cuts away, but instead frames the woodchipper, the half of a body sticking out of it and Dale (and Dale’s priceless reactions) together. The result is a cacophony of shock, blood, intestines, humor and confusion that is disgusting and hilarious at the same time.
The marriage of the driving plot device of Tucker and Dale combined with the shifted perspective of the film (when the assumed antagonists become the protagonists) leads to some pretty awesome commentary on how stereotypes inform our interactions with others. As I approached the story knowing nothing about it, I was tricked into believing that those two dirty, ugly dudes at the gas station were out to kill the sexy college co-eds whom I had grown to know over the first, oh, 8 minutes of the movie. When I was proven wrong, I felt a lot like Allison; I realized that Dale was just a “big ol’ marshmallah” and Tucker was a slightly-aged version of my high school boyfriend. I also realized that my deep viewing of the horror genre has set me up with thick layers of prejudices and expectations for characters and stories; Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil gave my viewing perspective a much-needed stirring, and may have alerted me to some problematic biases that I hold against people in the real world, too.
My incredibly thoughtful partner gave me a copy of Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood for Christmas.
He understands me.