With a name like Organ Trail, viewers most likely expect a gnarly bloodbath reminiscent of every millennial’s favorite video game from childhood. But, director Michael Patrick Jann and writer Meg Turner opt for a different route with their bloody horror western. While not campy and gross, it’s much more somber, a harrowing look at one girl’s desperate struggle for survival.
In Organ Trail:
Abigale and her family fall victim to a ruthless gang while making their way across the Oregon Trail. As the only survivor, she will do whatever it takes to retrieve her one earthly possession, her family’s horse, from the clutches of the bloodthirsty bandits
Zoe De Grand Maison took up the challenge to play Abigale, traveling to a freezing cold Montana to film on location. Inspired by Abigale’s harrowing story, De Grand Maison dove into the role and faced the filming challenges head-on.
Dread Central spoke with De Grand Maison about dealing with the Montana cold while filming, working with horses, and more.
Dread Central: Was it as grueling to act in this movie as it looked for you and your character
Zoe De Grand Maison: Well, I mean, I wouldn’t say it was as grueling. I didn’t get kidnapped in real life and my whole family wasn’t killed. But it was freezing. It was so cold.
DC: Okay. I was wondering if it was that cold.
ZDGM: Definitely, it was definitely as cold as it looked. And yet the wardrobe was surprisingly warm, but then we had things like exposed ears and thin little boots. It was a little challenging, but we managed to make it work and had fun doing it.
DC: Were you actually in the water at that one point? Did you have to get thrown into freezing cold water?
ZDGM: No, they had a stunt double. I think that was a legal thing. They had a super well-trained professional diver. Thank goodness because I would’ve freaked out. I mean, I probably would’ve done it because I’m an idiot. But the ice over the lake was so thick, so you can imagine how cold the water would’ve been. Everybody gave a standing ovation to the diver at the end of their stunt because that’s insane. It was so cold. I dunno how they did it.
DC: I love that everything’s on location. This isn’t a sound stage. This isn’t fake snow.
ZDGM: So we actually did a pickup in Los Angeles a few months later in the director’s backyard in the pool for when you see my face coming out of the water. I forgot about that. That was the only time we cheated.
DC: So how did you involved with Organ Trail this project and what attracted you to being a part of it?
ZDGM: I mean, just, you know, your classic audition.
DC: I’m also always so fascinated by horses and actors with horses. Are you a horseback rider or did you have to learn? I’m scared of horses, so I’m always so impressed when anyone can work around them.
ZDGM: Honestly, if you had met these horses, you wouldn’t be afraid of them anymore. They were the most well-behaved horses I’ve ever encountered. I grew up riding Western, so I was really comfortable. It was a lot of fun to do that again and to get back in the saddle.
That’s my experience with horses.
ZDGM: These Montana horses though. I don’t know. Something in the water or something.
DC: Well, you also got to work with Sam Trammell, who is chewing up the scenery in this movie as a diabolical villain. What was it like working with him and having him as a scene partner?
ZDGM: Oh, it was lovely. Sam’s so great. He’s so sweet. He’s like the most normal guy, you know? He just makes me feel very at ease and welcome. And he’s not intimidating in any way. So it was, yeah, it was really fun to work with him and he crushed it. He did such a good job.
DC: I know. He really did. He scared me.
ZDGM: He’s a calm villain, you know? And I feel like that calmness is almost scarier.
DC: Speaking of scary though, are you a horror movie slash thriller fan? Is that something you seek out?
ZDGM: Honestly, no. I do like a psychological thriller. I like something that gets in your head and lingers with you for a few days after you’ve watched it. I find those movies really fascinating. I’m typically not a gore fan. If it’s really realistic, like torture, I can’t do that. That’s like,
And I have a friend who was the little girl in Saw. But I was like, “Sorry, I’m not gonna [watch it], I can’t.
DC: That’s always what I hear!
ZDGM: It’s fascinating. And there’s so much artistry that goes into it. Like watching hair and makeup do their thing. Do I wanna see the final product? Not necessarily. I mean, with this movie I did.
DC: Do you remember the first horror movie you ever saw though?
ZDGM: That’s a good question. You’d think I would remember. Maybe I just blocked it out because it was so traumatizing. Honestly, I think Hostel was the first one that really messed me up. Oh! Maybe it was Disturbia.
DC: Oh my god.
ZDGM: And even Viola Davis is in it as a cop for two seconds, which is crazy. She’s my absolute favorite.
DC: Wait, is she really in it?
ZDGM: Yeah. For like two seconds. She shows up and you’re like, “Wait, what?” I rewatched it recently. But I was terrified. I was like, “Somebody’s gonna break into my house and kidnap my mom.” I was just not sleeping well for a long time after I saw that movie. But after rewatching it, I thought, “It’s not that bad.”
Organ Trail comes to digital on May 12, 2023.