Your new movie I
Slay on Christmas - in a few words, what is it about?
"Deck the Halls with Horror! In Phil Hermanís I
Slay on Christmas, a holiday horror anthology by the masterminds behind
Doomsday Stories, the
festive season takes a sinister turn. As written by Derek Braasch [Derek
Braasch interview - click here],
Marcelo Fabani [Marcelo Fabani
interview - click here], Debbie D [Debbie
D interview - click here], Joel D. Wynkoop [Joel
D. Wynkoop interview - click here], and Phil Herman, this anthology
unwraps a chilling holiday journey. On Christmas Eve, a troubled soul
seeks refuge in the woods, stumbling upon four eerie pine cones. Each
cone unravels a macabre Yuletide nightmare, bridging the gap between
dread and reality. Get ready for a spine-tingling dose of holiday horror
that will forever change your perception of Christmas."
Now how did the project come about, and how did you manage
to round up all these directors for yet another anthology movie?
We had just finished shooting
and it was in post. I swore to take a break. It was mid-November and the Christmas song
I Pray on Christmas came on. My
wife said ďI Slay on ChristmasĒ would be a cool idea. I said thatís
my next anthology. I got in contact with Derek Braasch, Marcelo Fabani,
James Panetta and Debbie D. They all wanted in. My partner Joel D. Wynkoop
said absolutely not, I donít want to do a horror movie and get bloody, I
will pass. Kicking and screaming he finally changed his mind and said
will do one more and then taking a break.
were your sources of inspiration for the wraparound segment?
While looking for locations I
came across a pinecone tree in the woods. I had the idea of a tormented
soul but was sought of a Christmas Carol idea. I looked at the Pinecones
on the grass and there were four bunched together. I said there goes my
story. Four evil pine cones, each showing a Christmas horror story.
talk about your segment's approach to horror for a bit!
Itís always in
my mind to have a horror appeal to the movies I make. It works for me and
the audience that my movie appeals to. The holiest happiest day of the
year turns to pure horror for this unsuspecting individual. A guy who
wakes in the middle of a forest and is attacked by a demonic force for
unknown reasons. How horrific.
You also play the lead in the wraparound segment -
so what can you tell us about your character, what did you draw upon to
bring him to life, and did you write him with yourself in mind from the
He is sort of a lost soul. A mystery. We have no idea
why he is in the woods with no recollection of why he is there. He is as
mysterious as the setting. Itís a forest, but a forest in hell. I
honestly hate acting but over the years have stopped fighting it and just
started playing roles that I find fun. Joseph is a tormented soul, and I found it fun to do. He was ridiculous at times on how he reacted to
certain events. Obviously crazy demonic things were happening and he
never really showed fear but kept questioning why things were happening
the way they were. It was sort of comedic, it was easy casue I was
acting with Will Devokees as the demon, and he is amazing to work with.
Do talk about the rest of your cast, and why
exactly these people?
anthology it is impossible to mention everyone since it is 5 stories. We
had about 40 actors all equally important to the story and as a whole I
thank everyone of them. But I can talk about the guys I got for my
wraparounds. I chose who I felt to be very talented and liked in the film
community. I always try in my movies to squeeze in as many cameos as
possible to celebrate their talent. What they achieve in minutes, actors
canít do in a feature. My go-to guys that appear are Carl J Grasso [Carl
J Grasso interview - click here],
Jon Whitwell, Paul Nada, Christopher Kahler, Dave Perry, Jaysen Buterin (gives a memorable
speach) [Jaysen P. Buterin
interview - click here], Thomas Antalek
(my biggest supporter) and Tim
Hatch. The demon who is my costar and good friend is Will Devokees, and my
suffering wife Mary is played by Alba OíNeill [Alba
O'Neill interview - click here]. Who we were just saying
a couple of days ago played my always suffering wife in the last 3 movies. She
is a great friend and actress.
A few words about the shoot as
such, and the on-set atmosphere?
This movie was a nightmare to shoot and the script
kept changing till post. It was a completelx different set-up, the
wraparounds, and had more to it. First of all I was supposed to start
shooting in January. We needed per snow. Well, it was the first time I could
remember that there was no snow in NY for the whole season. So we
panicked. Won't be a Christmas feel without snow. So we had to do
everything in studio with green screen. It worked out because I was able
to create the nightmarish forest I envisioned. My editor Marcelo Fabani
even said the sound was beautiful, and was able to give the effect of
winds and noises better than a natural sound. He created magic with the
final cut. My wife is my cinematographer/photographer and was able to
capture it making it look realistic. She is an action/surf photographer,
so this was easy for her. She just does not just sit there and press the
button but composes the shots. She admitted it was a lot more of a
challenge to shoot Doomsday
Stories, but adapted and pulled off a great
shoot. So the atmosphere was fun. It took a week to get everything right,
and then we had a few reshoots, but it all came together exactly the way I
What can you tell us
about the other segments in I
Slay on Christmas and their respective directors?
I was dealing with all pros.
They kept showing and sharing with me pictures and scenes and gave me
updates throughout. We had Marcelo Fabani Good Company shot in
Uruguay in his native language, which added authenticity and just works
better. Turns out the company you seek out for Christmas may not be as
good as you think. Derek Braasch had a Christmas Revenge story
which was bloody and fun with originality. Santa taken hostage and
tortured, need I say anymore. Re-Gifting was written by scream queen
legend Debbie D and directed by James Panetta. Turns out finding a
perfect gift can be very hazardous. Joel D. Wynkoop entry All Chopped
Up and Nowhere to Go takes us back to the glorious slasher flicks of the
80ís. Filled with Wynkoop, blood, boobs and campy fun.
$64-question of course, where can I
Slay on Christmas be seen?
As of now itís an
available on DVD for $ 20 shipped. It will be on streaming services
hopefully by Christmas. You can order directly by contacting me at one of
the links below. Or email me: email@example.com
Anything you can tell
us about audience and critical reception of I
Slay on Christmas?
So far the
critics are loving it. We didnít try to do anything too crazy but gave
what we thought would be a fun holiday dlasher movie. People were telling
us they want us to go old school and go for that 80ís slasher feel.
Think we did it. We have not had any negativity yet but true support and
praises of the movie as a whole. Which is pleasing to hear. Indie movies
always get bashed. But I knew when I agreed to do this my main team
(Derek, Marcelo, James and Joel) would not disappoint and we would put
together another special movie.
An upcoming film of yours is Crime
Through the Decades Presents the Owen Brothers - so what's that one
Crime Through the Decades Presents the Owen Brothers is a highly acclaimed crime show that captivates
viewers with its chilling exploration of the lives of notorious serial
killers in America. Season 2 episode 7 dives deep into the lives of James
and Sam Owen, two of the most notorious serial killers in history. Through
a combination of exclusive interviews and gripping first hand accounts,
the show meticulously unravels the horrifying stories surrounding these
brothers, delving into the terrifying and blood-soaked path they forged.
Starting from their troubled early years to the shocking adult lives of
their explosive and violent crimes, the audience is fully immersed in the
sinister and twisted legacy left behind by James and Sam Owen.
You're going the mockumentary route with Crime
Through the Decades Presents the Owen Brothers - so what inspired you
to take that approach?
Me and Joel D
Wynkoop for the last 2 years been doing skits of these characters. We
couldnít decide what direction to go with it. Then Joel, who is a fan of
crime shows, said letís make it like one of those investigative crime
shows. Will get interviews and re-enactments. Make it seem like itís a
true crime and these Owen Brothers are real.
You play one of the titular
brothers in Crime Through the Decades Presents the Owen Brothers -
so what can you tell us about that character, and what did you draw upon
to bring him to life?
I play Sam Owen. The outright nut. Joel plays equally crazy
but a little more subdued. He always calms my character down when he has his
outbursts. It was a great match-up and a lot of the scenes were actually ad-libbed to add to a more realistic approach at the insane interaction
between them. I tried a sort of crazy Nicolas Cage persona.
Do talk about the rest of Crime
Through the Decades Presents the Owen Brothers' cast, and why exactly
Itís another movie where it called
upon who we knew to get to play the crazy characters that have crossed
paths with these nuts. Most of the movie like I said was interviews and
re-enactments, just like on those shows. Again we had a cast of like 40
people. It was great, we got to use a lot of people from all over the indie
scene. Some new and some old favorites. Had a good time casting and
writing fitting parts for each character. Since we had a lot of mail-in
appearances, Joel did a great job coaching each actor with the vision and
performance we wanted. There was a few we had to shoot multiple times, but
in the end everyone was pleased, and it was well worth it.
Again, what can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Most of the
movie was shot separate from us. The highlight of the movie was me and
Joel, after being friends and working together for over 30 years, met in
Florida to shoot our stuff together. It was the first time in over a dozen
movies we had shot together that we appeared together. We had a really
great time hanging out with the wives and just having fun. Joel
was the king of karaoke and had people on their feet cheering him on. It was
truly magical and was sad to see it end. It was great actually meeting
someone you have been so close to all these years but never got to
actually shake their hands and have a beer. Plus we got really cool
footage. It was a highlight indeed. It was 4 days of total fun.
Any idea when
and where Crime Through the Decades Presents the Owen Brothers
might be released yet, however tentatively?
It will be released as a
present. Start the new year with Crime
Through the Decades Presents the Owen Brothers. It will be released
on DVD. We are taking pre-orders now, $20 shipped.
projects beyond Crime Through the Decades Presents the Owen Brothers?
I have been
asked so far to produce 4 movies for 2024. Which is a lot easier than
shooting a movie. Me an my partner of chaos Joel D. Wynkoop decided to take
a break with our collaboration after banging out almost 9 movies since the
pandemic started. He was supposed to sit out on I
Slay on Christmas, but after bugging and pleading he came back and said just for you, but
I'm sitting out the next one buddy. I just recently was asked to do a
feature in the new year. Itís not 100%, but we laid out a script and an
announcement will be made in the new year. I hope to team back up with
Marcelo Fabani, Will Devokees, Derek Braasch and James Panetta. We have a
great connection and really work as a team to get something out we are
Your/your movies' website, social media, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I have a new written Q/A show on a Facebook group called 3 Questions with
Phil Herman. Simple set up, all about past, present, future on the careers
of indie filmmakers. Been getting great feedback from our industry and
itís fun and not time consuming. Check it out, we are going to have live
premieres, interviews and specials, so take a look - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1421706025278203/
Thanks again Michael
always a pleasure talking to you and for your continued support.
for the interview!