Sunday, March 2, 2014

Interview - Independent horror film star Erin R. Ryan

In my opinion, it is a huge loss to the horror film industry and all of the fans that Hollywood holds the reigns tight on what will be mass produced and mass distributed.  Often, because of this, we get the same story from the same directors, starring the same actors time and time again.  We the fans miss so much great talent that is out there because it is so hard for someone without the right connections to break through all of the clutter out there and let their talent shine.  Perhaps one of the best examples I can think of that demonstrates this problem is Erin R. Ryan.

Erin Ryan is an independent film actress from Dayton, Ohio.  She works harder than many Hollywood “celebrities” and does so with amazing poise and talent.  She demonstrates a range of skill in her acting that could fit in to almost any type of movie.  Her characters are always full of heart and really feel alive.  In just the last two years, she has starred in such films as Bludgen, Easter Casket, Babysitter Massacre, Hellhounds, Skinless, A Bulldog for Christmas, Kill That Bitch, and Haunted House on Sorority Row.  She also appeared in one of the shorts in the anthology Watch This.  Amidst all of this hard work and dedication, Erin, or Err as she is known to her friends, keeps an amazingly positive and friendly attitude.  I had the pleasure of talking with Erin following the world premiere of Haunted House on Sorority Row.  After my interview, I believe I realized that perhaps what makes Erin Ryan such a fantastic horror actress is that deep down, she is a fan just like the rest of us!

Ira Gansler:  You’ve definitely shown through your work that you are a very talented and diverse actress, ranging from horror to family films to the Shakespeare in South Park.  So what has been your favorite project to date?

Erin Ryan:  There are so many different projects I’ve done and like you said it’s been very versatile.  It’s really hard to choose.  You almost have to have subcategories.  I’m going to pick two.  I really enjoyed Haunted House on Sorority Row because it was supernatural in nature and it’s something I’ve never done before.  It was really cool to see how much of the production Henrique could do on such a low budget.  Supernatural effects are usually pretty expensive so it was really cool to see that and there is really a lot of different film making going on there.  It was neat to be in a supernatural movie compared to what I have mainly done, which has been slashers or that family film.  Also, I’m going to say Skinless.  That is a passion project of mine that had been in the works for a year and a half.  Dustin Mills had been through a lot of script re-writing to make the characters really rich in that.  I love the interaction between the two main characters.  It had a very small cast of four characters, but it had a big emotional impact that I hope the audience got from that.  I hope they came away with the thought that “wow, that was a really deep story out a seemingly funny concept.”  I think those would be my two favorites so far.

IG:  It’s interesting with all that you have done that the horror seems to rise to the top.  So what draws you to horror?

ER:  That’s a deep question for me.  I’ve always liked the macabre.  Ever since I was little.  My favorite movie was Beetleguise when I was younger, and it still is one of my top five favorite movies.  I’m going to go a little personal with you here.  I come from a very old family and I experienced a lot of death as a child.  Going to funerals and experiencing that.  Horror, movies like Beetleguise and Witches of Eastwick and all those good ones sort of treat the macabre and horror as kind of funny.  There is an element of humor to it.  I am really drawn to that.  Humor and horror is my favorite.  It’s also nice to see that you are not alone when there is really dark films out there dealing with really dark emotions, dark themes, and fear.  It’s really nice to be able to see someone make something beautiful like a film or a piece of art out of those dark feelings and that really inspires me.

IG:  So what it your earliest horror movie memory?

ER:  Actual horror?  I want to say Nightmare on Elm Street, the original.  I’m still a fan of those for obvious reasons.  I remember watching that when I was way too young.  Way too young!  Those always hold a special place in my heart.

IG:  Again, another fan boy moment here.  You’re obviously extremely driven.  Appearing and most of the time starring in at least 10 features in the last two years.  What is your inspiration to push yourself so hard?

ER:  Honestly, I just love working.  I love doing what I do.  It’s my favorite thing to do.  I love making art and I love being a part of somebody’s vision.  There is nothing else like it.  Acting is my passion and it’s what I love to do.  It helps me deal with a lot of other things going on in my life.  It’s an emotional outlet for me and I think it really helps.  I’ve always wanted to do it.  It’s always been a goal of mine.  It’s like an addiction.  The more I do, the more I want to do.

IG:  I think anyone with an artistic outlet tends to feel that way, that it provides a release of sorts.  I think this is going to be another one that you have split opinions on, but what is the most fun you have had on a set?

ER:  There is fun of all kinds, sir!  I always have a lot of fun on a Henrique Couto set.  He is a big personality and he makes filming a lot of fun even in the most difficult emotional moments.  Our way of breaking it up and kind of dissipating the crazy is to kind of maim each other emotionally.  We are always insulting each other.  So that’s kind of fun, coming up with different ways to insult each other every minute.  That’s every Couto set.  So that’s always fun.  I like to tell the story and embarrass myself, to rat myself out.  I don’t know why, but I do.  I had a lot of fun making a terrible mistake on set.  On Babysitter Massacre there is a scene where I put lingerie on, my character does, and I may or may have not put it on backwards and upside down.  I’m just saying, see the movie.  So during the take, Henrique is just like “you know what, just relax.  You’re going to be ok.”  So that was a lot of fun.  I got made fun of about that forever.  It is a set by set basis.  Every set is different.  Every director is different.  Everyone has a different sense of humor.

IG:  I always love the stories, those are great.  All that you have done and all that you obviously hope to do in the future, if you could play any character from any source, what would be your dream role?

ER:  This is going to sound really weird, but I would love to play Karen Carpenter.  I would legitimately love to play Karen Carpenter or Audrey Hepburn.  Both beautiful.  Karen Carpenter because of both the talent and the sadness.  She had a lot of sadness and a lot of heart.  I think it would be a really challenging role, but I would love to play her.  Audrey Hepburn because she is adorable and fun and everyone loves Audrey.

IG:  Just from looking at some of your Facebook stuff, IMDB, and other sources, your artistic background has included not only acting, but also literature, painting, and ballet.  Do you still involve yourself with any of those passions?

ER:  I do.  I haven’t been in ballet, ashamedly, in about a year.  I’m getting very lumpy, but I love ballet.  I’ve taken it only for a few years actually.  I really got into it for a few years.  I try to do what I remember on my own.  Like at the gym or whatnot.  On the track, I’ll be running and suddenly I’ll pliĆ© or something.  I’ve had that happen sometimes.  I’m goofy that way.  I haven’t painted in a very long time.  I haven’t found the time to do that.  My face is always in a script.  Reading.  I used to write poetry a lot, but I haven’t done that in a while.  I have been reading Jurassic Park lately, I’ve been wanting to read it for years and years and years.  I have a fascination with dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures also.  When I was little, I wanted to be a paleontologist.  Fun fact. 

IG:  I’m assuming you’ve seen the movie?

ER:  A little.  Just kidding, I’ve seen it several times.  I have it on Blu-ray.  I saw it in 3D when it came out, that was amazing.

IG:  Beware the comparisons, that’s all I’ll say there.  As a huge book to movie person.

ER:  That’s what I hear.

IG:  Side note there.  Ok, I’m going to be honest.  I went back and forth on whether or not to ask you this question.  If you want to pass, that’s completely fine, because I know you probably get this question all the time.  Dustin said he does all the time.  On screen, we can see you are not only extremely talented but a very beautiful person as well.  So, as such, you have been in quite a few movies, especially being in so much horror that involves quite a bit of nudity.  What’s your view on nudity in movies, especially in horror where it almost seems to be a staple of the genre?

ER:  You’re absolutely right, it is.  I really don’t have a problem with it.  The human body is the human body.  I want the nudity that I do to make sense in a film.  Now, if it’s a B horror fun movie like Babysitter Massacre you’re going to have the three B’s blood, boobs, and beasts.  It’s just a staple, like you said.  I have no problem doing that.  I was proud.  It was like, hey I’m in a B movie and I’m naked, it’s fine.  It’s all good.  Like I said, if it makes sense in a role, I have no problem with that.  I do get a lot of guff for it.  I think a lot of us girls get a lot of guff for it.  I think people make assumptions about you if you don’t understand the genre.  People make a lot of assumptions and that’s not fun.  I find it horrifying that America is so puritanical that they are so okay with someone being tortured or violence in general, but they’re not okay with nudity.  I think that is really backwards.

IG:  In your opinion, what is horror?

ER:  Oh my God, you’re killing me!  Ha ha, horror, you’re killing me! 

IG:  Let me rephrase this maybe.  Someone says to you.  We are going to see a film, it is horror.  That’s all they tell you.  What are you anticipating?

ER:  I’m anticipating…this is going to be a stream of consciousness.  I’m thinking fear.  I’m thinking loathing.  I’m thinking suspense.  I thinking passion.  I’m thinking terror.  I’m thinking relatable.  I’m thinking, oh, it’s going to be a good film then!
You can pick up some of Erin's movies from a multitude of locations, but here are a couple to get you started:

Also, check out this hilarious video starring Erin, "Bed Demon."

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