Welcome to Volume 2 of Izzy’s Indie Eeries! Last month, we talked about A&P Productions’ bloody and babe-tastic Murdercise (2023). To honor the holiday season, I decided to check out the new anthology horror flick, I Slay On Christmas (2023), from independent filmmaking legend Phil Herman.

Boasting a wraparound story involving psychedelic pinecones, I Slay On Christmas compiles four unique holiday tales of terror that are equal parts chaotic, funny, gory, gritty, and surreal. For fans of low-budget horror, I highly recommend Herman’s new work as it showcases his long-standing creative partnerships, his versatility working with a low budget, and his own commitment to independent artistry.

Who Is Phil Herman?

Phil Herman I Slay on Christmas 2023

Having picked up his first camera at the age of fourteen, Phil Herman is a writer, producer, director, and actor who kickstarted his career in 1992 with Hell on Earth II: The Arena of Death (1992). Since then, he’s become one of indie horror’s busiest artists thanks to his enterprising dedication as well as his strong partnerships with creative collaborators like Joel D. Wynkoop, Debbie D, Marcelo Fabani, Derek Braash, Nina Trader, and James Panetta.

All of these artists wrote, acted, and directed segments in I Slay on Christmas (2023) and most have worked with Herman on a multitude of other anthologies and standalone films like the Horrortales.666 (2003-2023) series, the Burglar from Hell (1993, 2023) movies, Jacker (1993), Doomsday Stories (2023), the Midnight trilogy (Around, After, Always, 2004-2006), and dozens of others.

Phil Herman’s prolific collaborations highlight his support for the independent filmmaking community as well as his preference for working within the anthology structure — a feature he gives compelling new life in I Slay on Christmas.

What’s I Slay on Christmas about?

A guy named Joseph (played by Phil Herman) awakens from a disturbing dream to find himself in the middle of a snowy wood with four pinecones at his side. A supernatural being instructs him that these are no ordinary pinecones. No, these pinecones transcend known reality, inhabiting a liminal space wherein they can show tales of Christmas horrors past while using the act of Joseph viewing them to release the souls of the damned on Christmas Eve. It’s like Dante’s Inferno meets Twin Peaks, but instead of Virgil and owls, we get a giant talking head and pinecones.

Unfortunately for Joseph, the pinecones also function as a Third Eye, forcing him to face the personal demons of his own past as well. And I Slay’s deity might not be as forgiving as Dante’s.

This has to be one of the most original wraparounds you’ll find in Christmas horror, but what really brings this anthology to life is the clear delight Herman takes in showcasing his collaborators’ works.

“All Chopped Up & Nowhere to Go” and “The Best Company”

I Slay on Christmas pinecones

The first segment, “All Chopped Up & Nowhere to Go” is a prime example of Phil Herman’s love for his fellow creators. Joel D. Wynkoop (who also produces under Wynkoop Productions) plays Drudge, a vile, obnoxious, homicidal psychopath/wannabe filmmaker who goes on a rampage at Christmas when his wife (M. Catherine Wynkoop) leaves him and takes their child with her. Wynkoop’s high octane performance is entertaining as hell, delivering the character actor’s boisterous physical comedy and bellowing drama.

Our second offering comes from Lonewolf Studio Uruguay’s Marcelo Fabani. The anthology’s only Spanish-language segment, “The Best Company” tells the sweet story of a serial killer looking for love.

But always watch the news before going on a date with someone, People! You might spot some deadly red flags about your possible paramour.

“Re-Gifting” and “Christmas Revenge”

indie horror I Slay on Christmas 2023

Actress, model, singer, and frequent Herman collaborator Debbie D. stars in I Slay’s third segment, “Re-Gifting.” Suzette (Debbie D.) is excited for her first date with Donald (Jim Ewald), but apparently she didn’t watch the previous segment because she forgot to run a background check on Donald! Suzette’s attempt to re-gift Donald a present given to her by a rejected suitor goes awry, and the rest is Christmas history!

The final segment, “Christmas Revenge”, has echoes of Christmas Evil (1980) with its story of a child traumatized after seeing mommy kissing Santa Claus. Now, the kid wants payback. This segment’s gratuitous violence and humorous twist makes it the most satisfying of the whole batch.

Where Can I Watch I Slay On Christmas?

Phil Herman says that he wants to create escapist entertainment that people can enjoy watching with a beer and pizza, and I’d say he’s succeeded in doing just that! I Slay On Christmas is a great selection for your independent holiday horror list!

Stay up-to-date with Herman’s newest projects and connect with him in his Facebook group. The group also has information on how to watch the movie.

Happy Holidays everyone, and I’ll see you next month!

I Slay On Christmas premieres December 22. Watch the trailer above.

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Images in the post taken from the trailer with the exception of the first image which is a stock photo from Pixabay.

About the Author

Isaiah Swanson is a freelance writer from South Carolina. A movie buff from a young age, he enjoys writing about cinema, especially the horror genre. When he is not writing, he is traveling the country in his campervan with his Australian shepherd, Judy. You can find more of his work at Ned Hardy, The Game of Nerds, and The Bitter Wolf.

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