The horror role of Jocelin Donahue came in Ti West The Devil’s House in 2009, which immediately made her a fan favorite in the indie horror world. Playing Samantha, a babysitter in the 80s who is unknowingly the target of a satanic cult, Donahue spent much of the film acting entirely on her own, her talents evoking empathy and commitment. public. The actor would return to the world of horror with projects like Insidious: Chapter 2, dead wakingand Doctor Sleepwith his last effort, Out of seasonserving as a throwback to classic entries in the horror genre. Out of season lands in select theaters, on demand and in digital HD on March 11.
In the new film, “After receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s grave has been vandalized, Marie (Jocelin Donahue) quickly returns to the remote island offshore where her late mother is buried. When she arrives, she discovers that the island is closing for the off-season with bridges raised until spring, leaving it stranded Strange interactions with the townspeople after another, Marie soon realizes that something doesn’t go to this small town. She must unravel the mystery behind her mother’s troubled past in order to make it out alive.”
ComicBook.com caught up with Donahue to talk about his interest in the genre, his hopeful collaborations, and his culinary interests at local restaurants while growing up in Connecticut.
ComicBook.com: I recently spoke to your co-star Joe Swanberg and our Chicago pizza talk took up a good chunk of the interview. I don’t want you to be left out of the regional cuisine discussion, so as far as Friendly’s goes, what was your favorite order?
Jocelin Donahue: Oh my God. Either a grilled cheese or a grilled blueberry muffin. Which, seriously, I can still taste, now that you say that. I spent a lot of time at Friendly when I was a kid. I love this question.
Sure, Mr. Swanberg has a deep dish or whatever, but I think Friendly is the most important conversation starter. I really appreciate your quick response, your fans are clearly going to be super excited to know what you think of Friendly’s locations closing by the minute.
Wait – Orange Julius, is it a separate company or was there also Orange Julius at Friendly?
It’s a separate thing.
Wasn’t there some kind of ice cream at Friendly too?
Absolutely. It was never as popular as the Cone Head, of course.
Yeah. What is your order at Friendly’s?
I would always go with the Munchie Mania, as you have the variety of starters. Also, the basket of chicken strips, which I was a big fan of.
And the Fribble, who could refuse a Fribble?
Maybe that’s what I’m thinking. Yeah, the Fribble.
Well, I think that’s all the time we have. Thank you very much for chatting.
The hard-hitting questions.
You have accumulated a number of horror credits during your career. I know you’re a horror fan, but early in your career, did you see your career going in that direction, that you would become a “scream queen”, if you will? Or is it just a happy accident that you’re happy to embrace?
I think I would say a happy accident. It’s definitely not something I expected, but having my first starring role in Ti’s movie opened up a lot of future opportunities for me and started my education in the classics.
In the last 15 years that I’ve done this, I now have such a deep appreciation for what can happen in horror because it encompasses all genres, all emotions. Very high to very emotional, cerebral to slapstick and gory stakes. There are so many things in it. It really is a fun genre to explore.
I think that’s fun Out of season does it channel the vibe of the 70s and 80s like Fog Where evil messiah or a film by Lucio Fulci. There’s just a lot of nightmarish logic that isn’t fully explained. As an interpreter, have you felt the need to have conversations with [writer/director] Mickey [Keating] by the way, even if he doesn’t show it, what’s really going on here? Or do you just stick to the script and whatever the script gives you is all you want to focus on directing?
It was fun to hear Mickey break down his mythology for everything because he had answers for those things. But, ultimately, as you say, the logic of the nightmare, the logic of the dream, there is no solid basis there. It was really fun to play, the moment when we see Marie realizing that the normal turns into the abnormal. What seemed implausible is now undeniable. Watching this transformation is more of a fleeting feeling that doesn’t have to be “Oh, she sees this. She thinks about it.”
It’s just this amorphous, surreal, weird, weird Lovecraftian thing. And, as you say, like the fog, there is also an analogy. It’s as if everything is concentrated. She is shrouded in this fog. And even the focus pattern in many shots, I think that really tells the story, which also has a Lovecraftian thing to it.
The whole vibe of this movie – I’m sure you have horror movie questions like “was it really scary to make this movie?” “Of course not, because it’s a movie.” Yet because of all those misty landscapes, those seasides, those abandoned places, were they more evocative than say, when you were shooting Devil’s House and it’s just a house? Did it help bring out that atmospheric mood in your performance?
Of course. I mean, the locations were so evocative. Where she falls, in the woods, where she sees this abandoned — I think it was a sugar refinery. It was actually, in the 1800s. Or the city, running through an empty city built in the 1940s. Running through the fog and those lush tropical landscapes, it definitely contributes to the vibe, the performance, the sensation.
The only time I really got scared was running in the fog, where I couldn’t see where I was going. There were a few times at night when I was running on the sidewalk, and I was like, “Oh, no. I hope I don’t hit a pothole or something.” And, of course, going up against Richard Brake was pretty scary, for real.
Speaking more about the genre, you’ve collaborated with a lot of cool directors and filmmakers and been part of the world of Stephen King and the Insidious world, do you have a franchise or genre filmmaker that you would still like to collaborate with or are you just excited about the opportunities that come your way?
I mean, it’s a bit of both. Of course, I’m grateful whenever I have the chance to do something with collaborative and creative people. I love the work of Alex Garland. I would love to work on a minimalist sci-fi thing with him. For the genre stuff, there are so many great people working right now. [Tigers Are Not Afraid filmmaker] Issa López, I love his stuff.
I would like to do more science fiction. I would love to do more action stuff. I mean, I would like to continue working.
We’ll have Alex Garland, he can take the Taco Bell nacho fries commercial you did, we can adapt it into a feature. Maybe cross it with some Annihilationand now we speak.
Well, to be honest, that Taco Bell commercial, James Gray directed it, and it was pretty amazing. And Hoyte Van Hoytema was the DP on that, so I’m considering working with giants on that commercial as well. So thank you for bringing that up.
Out of season lands in select theaters, on demand and in digital HD on March 11.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter.