An impulsive road trip leads a young couple to a secluded campsite in the woods where they cross paths with a mysterious survivalist. Soon a romantic drug-fueled getaway turns into a nightmarish fight for survival. Get Your Dose.
About Michael Okum
Michael Okum is an award winning independent filmmaker and visual artist born and raised in New Jersey. He studied fine art painting, sculpture and mixed media at Tyler School of Art gaining a BFA in Painting in 2002. After moving to California to pursue filmmaking and art he studied Writing and Directing at Art Center College of Design from 2008 to 2010 where received his MFA. In late summer of 2014 Michael completed his first feature film titled “Expressway To Your Skull”. He lives and works near Pasadena.
About Julian Daly
Julian Daly has been around film his entire life. Growing up with a successful producer father (John Daly, Hemdale Film Corporation) and a successful actor stepfather (Kiefer Sutherland), he seemed destined to join the family business. Julian began his career in the music industry working with a number of artists in production and marketing, but after his father’s passing in 2008, he refocused his career on the world of film with the hopes of succeeding the legacy his father left. Julian holds a certificate degree in both production and directing with a minor focus on cinematography. “Expressway To Your Skull” is his first feature film as Producer.
FamousMonster.com — “If you’re itchin’ to see exactly how a few minor changes can breathe new life into the over-saturated stalk n’ slash game, then EXPRESSWAY is the flick for you.” (3 skulls out of 5 Rating)
Ain’tItCool.com — “This is a fun little flick. Okum has a real skill at making the mundane look exceptional… be it through Oliver Stone-esque montage cuts or simply letting the lens show what it might feel like to be on the drugs the campers are on.”
ReallyAwfulMovies.com — “Expressway to Your Skill is trip well-worth taking… challenging, tense and unnerving.”
WeAreIndieHorror.com — “Okum has struck a chord with the true nature of the young adults in a way which embraces their psychedelic journey with true vigor and an honest representation of drug usage. Overall Expressway To Your Skull is a great film, and definitely worth the inexpensive prices on VOD.”
Moodz616–Random Horror Reviews Ep. 35 (YouTube Review) — 7 out of 10 rating… “Really enjoyed this film! Really good job for a directorial debut”
ExtremeHorrorCinema.com — “Four Stars…Beautifully shot… a worthy edition to the Backwoods horror subgenre.” (4 star rating)
SearchMyTrash.com — “Surely packs a punch and should resonate very well with genre fans.”
ModernHorrors.com — “This isn’t a standard horror movie… the finale is truly tense.”
WickedChannel.com — “7 out of 10… a creatively woven film that tries to give us something outside of the normal horror realm. This film is a fun exploration into the mind of someone who really has the talent to change this genre eventually, all he needs is more time and a budget.”
Press from Fall 2015
WeAreIndieHorror.com — News Article: “Expressway To Your Skull” Gears Up For Release With Final Trailer” 11.2.15
CinemaSlasher.com — News Article: ““Expressway to Your Skull” Receives New Trailer” 11.3.15
Press from Early 2015
Expressway To Your Skull Premieres at the New Jersey Film Festival this Friday, February 13, 2015! By Ag Nigrin February 9, 2015 at 8:37am
Nigrin: Expressway To Your Skull is a gripping horror film that tells the story of a thrill-seeking couple whose impulsive trip to the woods leads them to cross paths with a psychotic survivalist who lives in a twisted world all his own. Tell us what motivated you to make this film.
Okum: The greatest motivation for me to make this film has been my love of movies especially those of the horror and thriller genres. I’ve always been a fan of these types of films — they certainly seem to be more popular than ever with audiences, if not always with critics. So as a dedicated fan of these kinds of films I became more and more obsessed with the concept of making a film that plays with the audiences’ expectations of what a horror-thriller can be. One key quality that draws me to these stories again and again is the pact the audience makes with the filmmaker to be taken on a nightmarish trip and returned to reality a little wiser and more wary of the insanity that potentially lurks just around every dark corner. In these narratives the stakes are always higher and the struggle for survival becomes primal. As an added bonus there is the potential to touch on mysteries and experiences outside the realm of safe and accepted thought. This project has ended up taking several years to complete and it’s hard for me to fully explain my motivation behind it beyond that fact that in order for me to complete it it had to become a passion project… and obsession… for me.
Nigrin: Your film is pretty creepy but also sexy and psychedelic. Why did you decide to mix these elements in your film?
Okum: For me, the element of “creepiness” was pretty much built into the idea of making a horror film set in the woods. The sexy or erotic element as well as the concept of psychedelics came out of my effort to tell a story that deviates from the well-worn “slasher-in-the-woods” narratives audiences are very familiar with from the glut of films from the 70s and 80s. While I was struggling with the original draft of the script I was actually inspired by the classic Sonic Youth track “Expressway to yr Skull” and much of the psychedelic mushroom imagery spawned from there… as well as the title of the film. In exploring a story about characters that are into taking drugs — especially psychedelics — I found that sex and violence and hallucinations and psychedelia-infused imagery were all kind of linked together as the story started to unfold.
Nigrin: The actors in your film are all really great. Tell us more about them and how they were selected.
Okum: Basically the three lead parts of the couple, Ed and Amy, and then Charlie were all cast well before the official production. This happened because I actually shot a “spec” trailer back in 2011 and I cast the same three actors for those roles then. Paul S. Tracey as Ed, Lindsay Atwood as Amy, and Mark Aaron as Charlie — they all weathered through the “dry spells” until we got funding through Kickstarter to officially shoot the full feature in 2013. The part of Cindy played by Katie Royer was cast in the fall of 2012. All the actors were great to work with and were local to Los Angeles where we shot the entire film. As you can tell by the dates I’m giving it’s been a long strange trip just getting the film made. I’m glad to be premiering it at the New Jersey Film Festival because I’m actually an NJ native.
Nigrin: Where there any memorable stories in getting the film finished or any other info about your film you can pass on to us?
Okum: Well, like I said its been a long strange trip indeed and there were many memorable moments in the process of production. One of the key factors in getting this film made that I like to share with other aspiring filmmakers is that it is what’s considered a “Micro-Budget” or “No-Budget” Feature which means it was made for “Under $100,000” — which is a key budget number alot of industry people focus on. Making a film for what was alot less than $100K was very difficult and I have to give credit to online resources like No Budget Film School and The Guerilla Film Makers Pocketbookfor important tools and strategies on how to make it happen. Also, without going into too much detail, I can say that 100% of this film was shot without permits and the scenes involving campfire and guns were difficult to shoot even out in the woods. We even got kicked out of one choice location because we didn’t have a permit. In the end though we shot everything we needed to shoot and we’re all very proud of the end result.