Seedy Review recently caught up with Mike Mayhall to talk to him about his new Slasher film, Jake’s Road.
Hello, Mike. Please tell us a little about yourself and Mayhem Productions.
Hello All …
Where to start? I grew up outside of New Orleans. A city of large character, filled with characters. I starting studying theatre in high-school … went to college for it … and I have never looked back. I started Mayhem Productions when I was living in Orlando, FL. We did improv comedy sword fighting shows. It was a super fun and creative time in my life. At some point I moved to Los Angeles with the want to work in Film. Then Louisiana’s film industry started booming and moved back home. With one goal. Make movies. And, I am happy to say … that’s what I am doing.
Besides Jake’s Road, what has been your favorite or most challenging experience of your career?
I can’t choose just one. It’s been a career filled with great memories. And, hopefully tons more. Each project is my favorite. Each experience challenging. I can say this. Every time I stepped into a new arena it was a challenge. When I went from a stage actor to wanted to produce my own live stunts shows … challenging. When I decided I wanted to do stunts in movies and TV … challenging. Making my own film. Very challenging. It’s when ever, I think, anyone steps out of their comfort zone towards a bigger goal or a bigger dream. And, I guess that’s why everything is my favorite. Because I keep trying to move forward.
Can you tell us about the conception and development of Jake’s Road?
I started to focus on Jake’s Road when I moved from Los Angeles back to New Orleans. I wanted to do a thriller and horror movie, because I just love the genre. But, I wanted it to be intelligent and suspenseful, rather than hack and slash. I also wanted it to have personal meaning beyond the story.
I spent many of my younger days at my stepfather’s hunting cabin out in the backwoods of Folsom, LA. A place simply called, ‘The Camp’. It sits on 250 acres of land next to a small stream and is ideal for a horror movie. It’s a place where your imagination can run wild. It was the site of some epic parties. It was an escape from the everyday and was filled with so many wild tales of the unexplainable that they bordered on supernatural.
It was also the birthplace of an old campfire story about a hired hand, named Jake, who went crazy one night and took revenge on the former owners of The Camp. So, I guess you could say Jake’s Road is one half my twisted imagination and one half stories and events from my youth.
But, the story of Jake’s Road is so much more than that. All that is just the back drop. It’s got some great acting, some fun action and twists that are just soul crushing.
I think, as with anything, if you love what you do it shows through. That’s an old adage from my theater days. If you are having fun, if you enjoy you’re performance the audience will enjoy it as well. I just happen to enjoy thrillers …
Did anybody else help collaborate with the development?
Everyone helped. I would have been lost with out my fellow producer and long time friend Tim Bell. We started sword fighting together back in Florida and we always talked about doing a film together. So, when the time came I called him first. He also played ‘MIKE’ in the film.
It amazed me how supportive everyone was. From start to finish. And, what I really love is that everyone because a little family. We all still talk today and hang out and support each other. I think that friendship shows in the film. Everyone gave their all, take after take.
How long did it take to go from concept to final cut?
Once I had the script done … it happened rather quick. I wrote it over the course of a few months. It was my only focus. Then we hit pre-production and to be honest that was a bit of a blur. It involved hurricane’s, cancellations moving shooting dates, locations being flooded. It was a mess. The actual shooting went great. Super smooth. Then I guess about 4 months after we wrapped he had a final cut.
There are a lot of beautiful and brutal shots in the forest. Where was this filmed?
We filming in South Louisiana. And that comes through. Especially when you film in the more rural areas. When those cicadas start up it adds another layer to the world. Something you can feel. Those deep woods. Where there is no where to run for safety.
Night in Louisiana is my favorite. It’s warm with a breeze and teeming with life. You are surrounded by an orchestra. Actually, at times the cicadas and crickets got so loud we couldn’t film. They drowned out the actors.
Was it challenging to travel to and film in a dense remote location?
It wasn’t that tough. We had big pick up trucks. Everyone loaded up and off we went.
What equipment did you use?
We shot, believe it or not, on a 5D camera. We had a great DP and sound department that made us look like a million bucks.
The knife attack scenes were very brutal. What are some of your favorite kill shots?
I have two favorites … I don’t want to give them away, but if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I am talking about. One is with the main characters. When Sam and Kay stubble across a killing. It’s just macabre. Their slow realization of whats happening. The other is after the group is divided and running. And the killer starts hunting. That’s a brutal, bone crunching hard one to watch.
How did you conceive them?
I have a twisted warped imagination.
Can you share any information on upcoming projects?
Sure … I have written to full on action films. I am hoping to get them off the ground next year. One I have written for Leticia Jimenez, who plays Kay in Jake’s Road. It’s a darker action film. Think Smoking Aces meets Saw. And the other is an action fantasy.
Where can people watch Jake’s Road?
This was fun.