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Lillian Likes..."I Slay on Christmas"


Lillian Likes… “I Slay on Christmas”


**This review may contain spoilers**


“I Slay on Christmas” is a collaborative project where indie filmmakers create short films based around a theme, in this case a holiday theme.


The film opens with a bearded man (Christopher Kahler) frantically running in a forest where he comes across 4 pinecones. We learn that these pinecones are used as a MacGuffin device in the film’s wraparound story, where each pinecone is a portal into murderous mayhem for the doomed person who finds them.


The wraparound story begins with a sickly-looking man (Paul Nada), who we later learn has been infected with a zombie virus, spending his Christmas Eve watching the news about rising temperatures.


Lillian Likes…The title of the news segment called “Morning Breakfasts.” I found it amusing how the newscaster (Sean Donahue) makes it obvious that he is reading a teleprompter. I am not sure if this was intentional, but nevertheless it doesn’t matter as this actually works within the segment.


We are then brought to Joseph (Phil Herman) who appears to be having a fever dream hallucination of a succubus (Vera Marlowe) who after getting Joseph all worked up appears to give him oral sex. As she comes up, the audience is startled by the fact that she now has his bloodied, bitten off male appendage in her mouth.


Lillian Likes…How the editor (Marcelo Fabiani) showed scrambling on the screen cutting between the succubus and Joseph, implying a scrambling of his brain.


When Joseph awakens from his hellish dream, he finds 4 pinecones have been placed next to him. Upon picking them up, gazing into one of them brings his consciousness into the first short contained within the compilation titled, “All Chopped Up and Nowhere to Go."


“All Chopped Up and Nowhere to Go" tells the tale of a rather horrendous man with very few redeeming qualities who cannot control his urges, sexual and murderous.


Joel D. Wynkoop brings this insufferable character to life in a humorous and entertaining way, giving new meaning to the concept of a misogynistic, abusive husband and father, not to be outdone for his thirst for blood.


There were many laugh out loud moments for this horror short with Wynkoop’s ramblings and over the top obnoxiousness. 


Lillian Likes…The humorous way that Drudge is holding up a Playboy magazine and using his video camera to film the contents of the magazine, presumably for the purpose of zooming in?


His wife (Cathy Wynkoop) begs him to celebrate Christmas, to which he responds in a delightfully buffoon-like manner: “How many times do I gotta tell you? When Drudge says “no”, he means “no.”  “K-n-o-w, NO!”


Lillian Likes…The scene where Drudge rambles a bunch of nonsense about Santa getting shot down by the air force because his sleigh wandered into Soviet airspace. I’m not sure if this was scripted dialogue or Wynkoop improvising. Either way I found myself laughing.


While there were some uncomfortable themes in this story to be sure, like Drudge being verbally abusive to both his wife and his son, along with a scene of his character assaulting his wife’s friend, Wynkoop’s quirky way in which he portrays this deranged psychopath makes this short rather entertaining.


Lillian Likes…The way that Sathanas, the ghostly figure speaking to Joseph, played quite effectively by Will Devokees seemed to be inspired by the ghosts of “A Christmas Carol,” teaching Joseph the folly of his ways.


Joseph picks up the second cone and we are brought to the next short film, “The Best Company.”


“The Best Company” is the story of a man in search of a companion for the holidays ends up getting more than he bargained for.


Lillian Likes…The choice of the Phil Herman production team to include an English-dubbed Spanish speaking short into the compilation.


Lillian Likes…The realism in the news segment which introduces the audience to the story describing a series of murders with the discoveries of body parts as investigations get underway.


Luis (Walter Alonso) wanders along having flashbacks of memories of his overbearing mother (Mariana Fernandez) judging him for not visiting her and insisting he find a girlfriend.


Lillian Likes…The level of gory detail with a body part being sewn by an unknown person which the audience assumes is this mysterious man who walks along in the city.


The director, Marcelo Fabiani, does a good job setting up the audience to believe that this man is going to kill his new girlfriend, Claudia (Penelope Bogado), that he brings home as a date.


Lillian Likes…The tension build up as Luis lurks building up the courage to in some twisted way impress his mother by murdering this woman.


Lillian Likes…How the tables are turned on Luis when Claudia, after taking a quick call from her own mother, shoots him before he has a chance to kill her.


We are then taken back to Joseph who takes another pinecone introducing the audience into the next short, “Re Gifting."


“Re Gifting" is the tale of Suzette (Debbie D) trying to find the perfect gift for her seemingly sweet boyfriend, but soon learns of his dark side.


Lillian Likes…Debbie D’s delightful screen presence in the way she delivers her lines in the most perky way.


Lillian Likes…The creepy rendition of the Christmas song that plays over the kill scene.

 

The fourth pinecone reveals for Joseph another tale called "Christmas Revenge" which tells the story of Santa being held hostage by a man traumatized from seeing his mommy kissing Santa Claus as a child.


Justin Bower plays Curtis, the adult version of the traumatized child and delivers his performance with great intensity that is palpable on screen.


Lillian Likes…The strategic use of color in the lighting design, with appropriate red and green lighting up many of the scenes. 


Lillian Likes…How Curtis uses Christmas lights to keep Santa tied to the chair.


The gore special effects were well done in this production, especially the grisly effect of Santa’s hand being hit by a hammer, and the effect of the ax in Santa’s head.


Lillian Likes…The shawl/cape that Mrs. Claus (Nina Trader) wears when she grabs a rifle from the barn that says, “Don’t Fuck with the Claus.”


This short film ends giving the viewer a good twist as Mrs. Claus ends up killing Santa just after rescuing him from Curtis.


Lillian Likes…Mrs. Claus’ line: “Stop whining. You know the elves can fix your hand at the shop” and the Elf (Heather Harlow) talking about the poor working conditions in the toy shop as Santa pays them in candy canes.


While we are led to believe that there are 4 shorts in this anthology, as there are 4 cones, Joseph and the audience learn that there is one more cone. This cone is arguably the most important cone for Joseph as it reveals his evil deed that brought him to this hellish realm.


The use of the pinecones was a clever way to introduce and tie together all of these stories from a variety of filmmakers, each with their own style. This type of anthology will definitely check all the right boxes for those love indie horror films that include the right mix of gore, humor, exploitation and nudity. A fun horror anthology to be sure!


Lillian Likes… “I Slay on Christmas”


Directed by: Phil Herman, Derek Braasch, Marcelo Fabiani, Joel D. Wynkoop, Debbie D


Written by: Phil Herman, Derek Braasch & Nina Trader, Marcelo Fabiani, Debbie D


Produced by: Herman Productions, Cheevies Film Productions, Lonewolf Studios Uruguay, Wynkoop Productions, Debbie D Productions & IkuZo! Studios


Edited by: Marcelo Fabiani, Bobby Thompson, & James Panetta


Starring: Phil Herman, Will Devokees, Justin Bower, A.J. Laird, Nina Trader, Debbie D, Deborah Dutch, Joel D. Wynkoop, Catherine Wynkoop, Vera Marlowe, Christopher Kahler, Lillian Lamour, Joe DeBartolo, Heather Harlow, Alba Marie O’Neill, Walter Alonso, Penelope Bogado, Thomas Antalek, Paul Nada, Bryce Bower & more


Contact Phil Herman to grab yourself a copy: https://www.facebook.com/phil.herman.969

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