by Amanda Henry
St. Louis native Erin Marie Hogan is no stranger to the horror film genre. As star of the cult-favorite feature film “Paranormal Entity,” Hogan garnered international attention for her terrifyingly realistic portrayal of a woman possessed. Now, the graduate of Webster University is preparing for the release of her new film, “Hold Your Breath,” starring alongside 30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden and Randy Wayne. “Hold Your Breath” is about the the urban myth that you can breathe in evil spirits when passing a cemetery. In a genre of often formulaic and predictable movies, “Hold Your Breath” offers a breath of fresh air, with its original storyline and legitimately great acting. I caught up with Erin to chat about the ins and outs of Hollywood and what it’s like working in the realm of everything eerie and dark, and to find out what’s next for this STL-bred movie star.
ALIVE: Your films focus on the dark and supernatural. What’s the appeal of that genre for you?
Erin Marie Hogan: In college, people were always telling me how cute and adorable I am. I decided to try to watch horror movies to break away from that typecasting. I get to do things you don’t normally get to do in real life—things that are socially unacceptable or scary—and have it be a part of my regular life.
ALIVE: Your new film, “Hold Your Breath,” with 30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden, deals with the urban myth of breathing in evil spirits when passing cemeteries. What was the best part of filming and the biggest challenge?
EMH: The best part about filming in general, for me, is developing a rapport with the crew. A lot of actors focus on building relationships with other actors, which is important, but seeing and learning about what the crew does is amazing. It’s fun to see their vision succeeding and coming together. For “Hold Your Breath,” we got to shoot part of the film in Linda Vista Community Hospital, one of the most haunted places in America. That was such a cool experience…albeit really creepy! The biggest challenge is responding to things you can’t see. For example, sometimes we film a scene in a place that’s supposed to be dark. Reacting to effects you can’t see is definitely challenging.
ALIVE: What can horror fans expect from “Hold Your Breath” that sets this film apart from others in the genre?
EMH: Horror has become pretty cut and dry, because directors have discovered that a certain formula has worked. But for “Hold Your Breath,” it’s the concept and casting that sets this film apart. Katrina [Bowden] was so impressive with her acting in this film. The relationships between characters are really well developed, and the director was interested in filming a lot of moving shots. The camera aesthetic will be really unique in this film.
ALIVE: You’ve been singing and dancing most of your life. Can fans expect to see you in any musicals or fronting any bands?
EMH: When I lived in St. Louis, I was in two bands: Failside and Tight Pants Syndrome. Though I will always have a love for music, right now I’m focused on film, and breaking into network TV. I don’t have any immediate plans to get back into the music industry, but I’ve always been really rooted in musical theater and pop music, so I won’t say that will never happen!
ALIVE: You were just in St. Louis last month visiting family. What are your can’t-miss spots in the city while visiting?
EMH: I always go to Sub Zero Vodka Bar. I used to go there all the time when I lived in St. Louis since I lived in that area, and I love sushi! I also have to visit Ted Drewe’s. People in St. Louis don’t understand that once you leave the ‘Lou, there is no more Ted Drewe’s—in fact, there is no more frozen custard with hot fudge—at least, not in California! I also used to love Mr. D’s on the Hill for St. Louis-style pizza. Even though Mr. D’s isn’t there anymore, I make sure to get some STL-style pizza and get my provel fix whenever I return home.
ALIVE: What’s next for you? What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years?
EMH: I have a film, “The Axe Man of Cutter’s Creek,” coming out in 2013. It’s a throwback to ’80s slasher films—the films that carried on and immortalized the slasher craze. I’m looking to get into TV and network shows right now. I will always love the horror and paranormal genre, and I’ll never stop my work in that vein, but I am interested in TV crime dramas and making as much of a name for myself in the network TV industry as I have in the horror genre.