I Slay on Christmas (2023) Review
The vignettes that open I Slay on Christmas, the new anthology film from producer Phil Herman (Doomsday Stories, Horrortales.666 Part 3), are almost hallucinogenic in their disassociated content and styles. A man runs through the woods only to find his adversary, a pine cone, floating in the air ahead of him as a voice intones his fate. Another man sits on a couch as the weatherman talks about unseasonably warm weather and how it’s helping a virus to spread. When we see him again, he’s bleeding from the nose and mouth and looks like a zombie.
Somewhere in the snowy woods, a man (Phil Herman) is teased by a woman (Lauren Sophia, Hollywood Warrioress: War of the Gods) in one of the “Naughty Schoolgirl” outfits before undressing and eventually biting his equipment off. This one is filmed in front of a very obvious green screen. The two performers never appear in the same shot, which only adds to the weirdness.
After all of this a title “All Chopped Up and Nowhere to Go” appears, and we’re in the first actual segment. Drudge, played by Joel D. Wynkoop, who also wrote and directed along with Sean Donohue, is an abusive loser who drives his wife Bri (M. Catherine Wynkoop, The Blue Hole, Satan Lives: The Rise of the Illuminati Hotties) and son Jimmy (Sean Donohue) away just before Christmas.
When her friend Maddie (Vera Marlowe, The Cheerleader Sleepover Slaughter, Death Blow) stops by he attacks her, but she escapes, setting off some holiday homicide.
Next we see the guy who just got Bobbited being told by Sathanis (Will Devokees, Morbid Stories, Joel D. Wynkoop’s the Craiglon Incident) that he has more pine cones, and the stories attached to them in his future. Their segments serve as I Slay on Christmas’s wraparound.
That leads to Marcelo Fabini’s (After Last Day, Smartest Creature) segment “The Best Company” Nobody wants to be alone at Christmas, Claudia (Penélope Bogado, For Her) and Louis (Walter Alonso) are no exceptions. They’re even looking for the same thing, but that’s the problem.
This segment is short, to the point and features some effective practical effects. How it plays out probably won’t be a surprise, though.
I Slay on Christmas’ third segment, “Re-Gifting” is another tale of Christmas meetups. Suzette (Debbie D, Alien Autopsy, Giftwrapped and Gutted) is telling her friend Bunny (Deborah Dutch, Kill the Scream Queen, Dances with Werewolves) about Donald (Jim Ewald, Mercs, Death in the Dark) this sweet guy she’s met. Donald however has a secret that she’s about to find out about.
This was my least favourite segment, it’s slow, and you can tell how it ends pretty much as soon as it starts. It felt like one of the faux snuff films Debbie D, who wrote and directed it, did back in the day for W.A.V.E. Productions, so if you’re a fan of those then you’ll probably have the opposite reaction I did.
The final pine cone, excuse me, the final segment “Christmas Revenge” sees Santa Claus (A.J. Laird, Ninja in the Mafia’s Shadow, Sins of the Father) being held captive in a warehouse by Curtis (Justin Bower, Joel D. Wynkoop’s the Craiglon Incident II Aftermath, Death Is the Only Option) who despite never being on the naughty list has a score to settle with him.
Directed by Derek Braasch (Mutilation Massacre, Haunted Lenore) who co-wrote it with Nina Trader (Slay Ride, Flesh Fire), this is a darkly funny mashup of Reservoir Dogs and a certain vintage Christmas song.
I Slay on Christmas has one last surprise in store, however, and another cone appears. We get an appearance from Bob Glazier (Cannibal Clause, Family Snapshot) to help wrap things up before Christian DJ Joshua Stoned (Jaysen P. Buterin, Bombshell Bloodbath, The Devil’s Lettuce 2: Edible Evil) arrives to put it all into perspective.
Like most anthologies, I Slay on Christmas has its good and bad moments, but the good far outweighs the bad here, and it’s a big step up from Doomsday Stories. My favourite was the first segment, with Wynkoop going a wonderful job of chewing the scenery and Marlowe looking quite nice running through the woods in nothing but a short black skirt.
Apart from the one segment that didn’t work for me, my only real complaint is the way the volume fluctuates in some of the segments. It would go from barely audible to extremely loud seemingly at random. Hopefully that’s been sorted between the screener and the final release version.
Otherwise, I Slay on Christmas is a solid DIY anthology that should keep low budget and indie fans entertained. You can find out how to get a copy on the film’s Facebook page.