Monday, February 11, 2013

Tucker, Dale, and Evil

I just want to make it clear that I am NOT a horror movie fan. At all. They don't do anything for me. Probably, it's the lack of any real story in them, because, really, what kind of story do you need for a guy to go around killing people in the most gruesome ways possible? And, then, there's the gore, which is not something I need in my life. I mean, I went to see Punisher: Warzone (at the theater!), and that may have scarred me for life. Of course, that may as well have been a horror movie considering the lack of story and the excessive gore. I can count on one hand the number of horror movies that I've seen and thought they were pretty good: Halloween (the very first one, which I saw when I was a kid (I'm pretty sure it was an edited for TV version) over at a friend's house) and April Fool's Day (which I didn't want to watch, but I was kind of stuck at a party, so it was either watch the movie or go sit in a room by myself), which is worth it  for the ending. Okay, so that didn't even take a hand.

That being said, I love Alan Tudyk. Even before Firefly, I thought he was awesome as Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball, and that's where I recognized him from when we finally watched Firefly. Besides, how can you not love a guy that was in Spamalot? As Lancelot, no less, the Cleese character in Holy Grail (or one of them, anyway). So I was really torn when I saw he was in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, but what a great title, right?

I'm glad I finally broke down and watched it. Yeah, yeah, it has plenty of gore, but it's not exactly the mindless gore of your typical horror/gorefest movie. I mean, in Tucker and Dale, you're busy being shocked or trying not to laugh while it's going on. Like when [spoiler] the "stupid college kid" throws himself into the wood chipper. Trying to laugh, or not to laugh, while being horrified is maybe not as easy as it sounds.

Alan Tudyk is, of course, awesome, but so is Tyler Labine as Dale. They have a great buddy chemistry going, but, really, the success of the film is rooted Labine's performance as the best friend and the romantic lead as he chases after Katrina Bowden (from 30 Rock) as Allison, who is also quite good. Jesse Moss pulls off the preppy jerk and could have walked right out of any number of 80's flicks.

The true genius of the film is that it takes the idea of a "comedy of errors" and mixes it up flawlessly with the horror genre. It makes me wonder why no one else has ever done this. Or maybe they have, and I just never heard of it, but I'm more inclined to think this kind of thing hasn't been done before. All of the classic horror movie pieces are there: group of college kids going off into the woods, spooky warning from a creepy cop about how "you shouldn't go there," and a "ghost" story as a backdrop. Really, I was all set up for the typical horror movie and wasn't actually sure I'd watch the whole thing, even with Tudyk in it.

But you can tell there's something else going on from the beginning, you're just not quite sure what it is. Tudyk and Labine are saying "buddy comedy," and the group of college kids are screaming "the horror! the horror!" What you get... well, if you can take the gore, it's definitely worth the watch.


  1. Haha, I liked how they took stereotypes from typical horror films and twisted them into comedy. Yeah, there are spoofs, but they're usually not funny. This was a bit more than a spoof. Funny and horrific as these stupid kids suffer due to their own stereotyping.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  2. I thought it was a brilliant movie as well. I love it when They are trying to explain to the policeman that all these kids just showed up and starting killing themselves... suicide cult!

    I liked Cabin in the Woods too. I don't generally like Horror myself, but thought that one had enough of clever writing and humor that it was not really horror. More like an extended episode of Buffy.

    And of course the Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland movies have that same tone to them.... a dark humor throughout, other than those I'm not sure there is really anything else like Tucker and Dale out there.

  3. What Rusty said - brilliant film! Just the perfect blend of horror and humor. I am a horror fan (when there's a story and it's not just slashing or torture porn) so this film was perfect. Caught it on HD Net the day of its release and bought the DVD the moment it came out.

  4. You nearly convinced me to give it a try, but I just can't take the gore. I am emphatically anti-horror movies. This stems both from watching the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre in high school and Tesis ("Thesis" in English)while living in Spain (I was taking a film class at the University of Seville with Spanish students who were all into it--rightly so, Alejandro Amenabar is quite the director. But to this day, I think that movie scarred me the most. I spent the rest of the day walking around a foreign city where I knew nobody, feeling creeped out and paranoid).

  5. If it's ever in theaters near you you might want to watch "John Dies at the End" or rent it at some point on DVD. I think it's the same kind of thing combining slacker humor and horror movies.

  6. I don't much care for horror movies either. I went to see Slither because Nathan Fillion was in it. I saw Cabin In the Woods because of its connection to the Whedonverse. And now it looks as though I'll have to watch this one too.

  7. Never heard of it before. I can't do horror either. But I can take gore in war movies for some reason, or when Black Knights get their limbs cut off.

  8. I love off the wall stuff like this, I'll have to check it out!

  9. Shannon: This was more like a parody than a spoof, although I don't think it was that either. It was funny, though.

    Rusty: I haven't seen Cabin, yet, but I did like the other two.

    Alex: Are there any good extras on the DVD?

    Jess: I haven't seen either of those and am not likely to. I'd say you should go back to the "nearly convinced" and tip yourself into at least watching the first 20 minutes or so.

    PT: I remember when that came out. I've been meaning to take a look at it.

    M.J.: I think I saw Slither? I can't remember now. Maybe I only saw Tremors.

    Michael: It was a great blend!

    L.G.: Oh, you should try this one. And the Black Knight thing doesn't get close to counting as gore.

    Winopants: Go do it!

  10. Not into horror, not even horror with humour. I just don't want to know. I get too involved in movies and I don't need to be scared that much. Last frightening film I saw was "Them" and I don't think I have seen one since. Even at my age, I would get nightmares from such movies.

  11. Jo: There are definitely what could be considered nightmare inducing moments in the movie.

  12. I loved Tucker and Dale! It was adorable, in a gross sort of way.

    I'm not sure what else I can say, except to note (again) that I suspect that you don't like horror because your definition of the genre is too narrow. There is so much good stuff out there that isn't even particularly gory, but is still scary in a fun way. Just saying.

  13. Elizabeth: Well, I'm actually just going with, I'll call it, the pop culture definition of what a "horror movie" is. There are things that I do like that really are horror, but we don't call them that. Like Hitchcock.