When one role in a horror film leads the late great Roger Ebert to name you a scream queen on the level of Shelley Duval in The Shining, where is there to go after? For Alison Lohman, the answer was surprising, with the actress choosing to eschew the Hollywood life not long after staring in the Sam Raimi hit Drag Me To Hell in 2009.
Born in Palm Springs, California in September of 1979, Alison would get into acting almost immediately as a child, It’s not often that a first-time child actor has a role in a generation-defining movie from another country, but Alison made it at just five years old, lending her voice to the title character in Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
The film would just be the start of anime’s slow takeover of America, and Alison gets to be a part of that history forever now along with other Studio Ghibli greats.
That would be all Alison did acting-wise for the next few years until she was done with high school. She would take part in the drama curriculum despite her shyness in front of audiences. Finally, she decided to dive head first into acting after she graduated, moving out to Hollywood to chase fame and fortune.
Her debut live-action role wouldn’t quite be what she needed to get there though, with a starring role in Kraa! The Sea Monster in 1998. The film was supposedly meant to compete with Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla, but when the monster looks like a gremlin that was thrown in the ocean before hitting a midnight buffet, it’s a little hard to take seriously.
When we get knocked down, we get back up again as Chumbawumba once taught me, and so Alison did. Moving on, she took on small guest spots in shows like Pacific Blue and the faith-centered drama 7th Heaven. Thankfully Alison would only be in one episode and over the age of eighteen, marking her safe from series star Stephen Collins, who was taking method acting far too seriously in his role as a priest.
Dragging Hollywood With Her
Alison was a machine for the first few years she was in Hollywood, taking roles across television in film and garnering critical praise for her back-to-back performances in White Oleander and Matchstick Men alongside heavyweight actors like Michelle Pfeiffer and Nicolas Cage. Alison would hold her own against the seasoned actors, making herself a standout in both movies despite her newly emerging star power.
As if that wasn’t enough, Alison snagged roles in Tim Burton’s classic Big Fish and the overlooked Robin Williams dark comedy The Big White. She kept the lead roles going in 2006 with the movie Flicka, where she would learn to ride horseback as part of the role-playing a fifteen-year-old girl at the age of twent-six. The woman couldn’t miss and followed it up with a role in Things We Lost in the Fire in 2007, earning her critical acclaim once more.
Alison Lohman’s next film would be the one she’s most recognized for though, playing the main character in the cult horror classic Drag Me to Hell from the director of the Evil Dead trilogy as well as Toby McGuire’s Spider-Man trilogy, Sam Raimi. The film would become an instant cult classic, with specific praise directed at Lohman and her believability as a scream queen as well as the understated greatness of her characters’ struggle with an eating disorder allegorical to the film.
Despite the massive cult success of the film, Alison would only have one more credit in the Gerard Butler vehicle Gamer, coincidentally directed by the man she married later that year, Mark Neveldin, the man responsible for delivering Jason Statham’s best works, Crank 1 and 2. Alison would announce her retirement from the business not long after, choosing to instead focus on raising her new family. The couple have since welcomed three children since 2010.
Where is Alison Lohman Now?
While she’s almost exclusively a stay-at-home mom now, Alison Lohman does still teach acting through online courses for those interested.
Her services include a one-on-one coaching session. These sessions involve working on monologues, scenes, or consultation and advice. She also encourages actors of all ages, stating it is never too late to follow one’s dream.
Alison said she started the business afterhelping her friends with some monologues for auditions:
And then I thought, oh, my gosh, why don’t I just start volunteering? And so I’m teaching a little bit at some schools and then just volunteering. And then my husband is like, why don’t you just do Skype and make some money? And I’m like, that’s not a bad idea. And I love teaching. I really do. I almost like teaching more than acting.
She also pops up here and there in films directed by her husband, though he would also slow down a bit to help raise their children after 2015’s The Vatican Tapes.
Alison would only have a small part after that in the indie thriller Urge and the Slipknot-produced Officer Downe, adapted from the graphic novels for the screen by Shawn Crahan, also known as Clown of the metal act Slipknot.
That would be the cap on Lohman’s career so far, with no roles taken in the last seven years. While her husband seems to be getting back into the directing game, meaning she could pop up for a few more cameos in his next films, it does seem that Alison has decided to stay out of Hollywood for the foreseeable future.
Hopefully, fans can see her return to the screen eventually, after her children are grown of course, since it would be a shame to have a talent like hers leave off so early in her career.