Sometimes method acting can be downright dangerous.
Alison Lohman found that out on the set of the new Sam Raimi horror film, "Drag Me to Hell," during the filming of a scene in which Lohman's character has to duke it out, in the confines of a small car, with a literal demon from Hell.
"The demon and I are beating the crap out of each other," Lohman recalled during a telephone interview. "She's yanking fists of hair and strangling me."
Then, when things couldn't get any worse, they got worse.
"Sam Raimi suddenly yelled, 'Cut,'" the 29-year-old actress said. "Then he said, 'Alison, you're acting it. You don't look like you're being strangled. Can you do something about that fact?'"
That's the kind of day you have when you're in a Sam Raimi movie. The director, who made his name with low-budget horror before striking it rich with "Spider-Man" (2002) and two hit sequels, returns to his roots for "Drag Me to Hell," in theaters.
"The hard part is that I'm in every scene of this movie," Lohman said. "My adrenalin was on overdrive 24/7 for months. A lot of this movie can be summed up in just a few words. Those words are: 'Ewwwwww! Oh my God! No, no, no!'"
Lohman plays Christine, a mild-mannered bank loan officer who denies an old woman a new loan. When the old woman is evicted, she takes it hard and inflicts Christine with a nasty supernatural curse that literally turns her life into a living hell.
"The woman I play starts out meek and quiet," Lohman said. "I think the audience will think, 'Wait, am I supposed to like this girl? Who is she?' She's submissive to her boss and doesn't have much of an identity.
"She is empowered and strong by the end of the movie. She knows the mistakes that she made and wants to save her life."
It was Raimi who convinced Lohman, whose previous work has focused on straight drama, that she had to make a horror movie next.
"He called me one night and, for three hours on the phone, painstakingly told me the story of this film," she recalled. "I'll never forget that night, because I was home alone. Of course it was a dark and stormy night to set the mood. I was completely immersed in the story he was telling and petrified."
In real life, the actress says, she's not the Christine type.
"Normally I'm pretty courageous," she said. "If I feel that there is someone in the house, or I hear something, I'm the one who goes outside to confront it. I'm not the woman who is scared and hides under the bed."
She also has a strong stomach, which is a good thing in making a film with several over-the-top gross-out scenes.
"I have a bloody-nose scene that is out of control," Lohman said, giggling. "The demon makes me bleed profusely, and then I spray my boss and the walls of his office with my blood.
"The crazy thing is that they had this hose hooked up and taped onto my nose. It was like a sprinkler. I had to aim and hold my nose back before I sprayed my boss with this sugary syrup that came out of the hose. A lot of that stuff went down my own throat. It went everywhere!"
Even so, Lohman says, it was worth it to work with Raimi.