Donner Pass interview with Erik Stocklin

Donner Pass has a well-known and macabre history – the place where George Donner and his party got stuck in the winter of 1846 and were forced to resort to cannibalism to keep from starving. But what if it wasn’t just history?

Christine Caprilozzi talked with actor, Erik Stocklin, who plays “Thomas”, about his role in Donner Pass.

Horror News Network: In the beginning, “Donner Pass” appears to be a typical teen horror romp. The plot, however, has a few twists and turns. What was your impression when you first read the script? What drew you to the project?

Erik Stocklin: When you initially begin reading the script its easy to think ‘oh I know exactly whats going to happen, seen it all before.’ However you quickly realize it’s not at all what you expected. The pacing of the script moves so fast the deterioration of those theories sneaks up on you. That’s what good horror movies do.

I grew up a huge fan of the genre. That definitely drew me to the film. When we were kids me and my brother used to go to the video store and rent five horror movies at a time. The first naked women I ever saw in a movie was a blood thirsty zombie. Yeah I know hard to imagine, there used to be places you could go to rent movies.

Horror News Network: Many characters in the horror genre end up being pretty one-dimensional. Your character is a bit more complex. How did you prepare for the role?

Erik Stocklin: Well Elise was truly an actors director. Probably because she is a fantastic actor in her own right. She just gets it. One of the most rewarding parts of the process was the few rehearsal periods we had before we actually started shooting. I got to spend some one on one time with her just talking and breaking the character down.

Horror News Network: Tell us a bit about the evolution of “Thomas” from high school outcast to the villain holding all the cards?

Erik Stocklin: Yeah this was definitely a little daunting at first. There are many layers to Thomas and it was a delicate dance in said evolution though out the film. You don’t want to give it all away in the beginning but all that still has to exist in you somewhere. Masked or not.


Horror News Network: How was the filing of some of the more intense, graphic scenes?

Erik Stocklin: Brutal. To do it justice it has to be real. You have to put yourself in the circumstances of these characters. You have to feel that pain. So say your character is eating bear mace to his face. Yes in the reality of a movie set its a fake prop. As the character in your mind you need to take on that reality of that guttural violent pain. I actually threw up during one of those takes.

Horror News Network: What was your first impression when you saw the movie for the first time?

Erik Stocklin: It was cool to see a movie shot on film. It looked and felt like what I remembered horror movies being. A lot of today’s big budget digital technologies just take me out of it ya know. Pennywise the clown reaching out of the storm drain will always haunt me more than anything ever rendered on a computer.


Horror News Network: How does this compare to your previous films and work on TV?

Erik Stocklin: Independent films allow that bubble of creativity to stay in tact. Its the closest thing to doing a stage play. Your much more invested and involved. Larger scale productions its harder to get that sense of a through line performance.

Horror News Network: What’s up next for you?

Erik Stocklin: I just wrapped shooting a web series for Fox the should be dropping on the world wide web in the next couple of months. Also funny enough a TV pilot that’s a musical comedy. A far cry from a blood spattered cabin in the woods.

Donner Pass horror movie starring Erik Stocklin

Donner Pass horror movie starring Erik Stocklin

Donner Pass horror movie starring Erik Stocklin

Donner Pass horror movie starring Erik Stocklin

Donner Pass horror movie

Horror News Network: Thank you for your time, Erik. Have a comment? Post it here.

Christine Caprilozzi on Twitter
Christine Caprilozzi
Senior Editor at Horror News Network
Christine Bucci-Caprilozzi joined the Horror News Network staff in 2005 when the site was still She started as a Staff Journalist adding interviews, comic reviews and convention coverage. Christine is also the Lead Organizer/Director of the CT HorrorFest and is a firm believer in keeping the indie spirit of the horror community alive. You can follow her on Twitter @Christine_HNN.
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