The Soska Sisters cconsisting of Jen & Sylvia Soska are film directors are literally taking over the horror genre. After their short film “Dead Hooker in a Trunk”, they made the fantastic and original horror film called “American Mary” then quickly following that they were brought us to work with WWE on the horror sequel “See No Evil 2”. They also have a segment in the upcoming “ABCs of Death 2”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the “Twisted Twins” to chat about “See No Evil 2” and their upcoming projects.
Mike Gencarelli: I just want to start that I loved “American Mary”; it was original, very smart, ballsy and really fucking gory. I honestly reminded me why I love horror movies. Going from that film to “See No Evil 2” with WWE’s Kane; what was that like?
Sylvia Soska: That is a hell of a compliment. Thank you for saying that. That project is very much a part of who Jen and I are. After that film, we took many studio meetings to get the next film made, but all anyone wanted to see was Katharine Isabelle with us as a sexy doctor or surgeon or torturer and it was really depressing. When WWE and Lionsgate approached us to make the film, we read the script and got super excited, but didn’t think there was a chance in hell that we would get hired. It was so much of a dream project, but it happened. Then we started to collaborate on the story, hire the cast, and it just kept getting better. We only make films that we, as fans, would want to see; See No Evil 2 is that kind of film.
Jen Soska: We are the fan directors. We love horror movies so much and I do hope you can tell on every frame of our movies. We want to make a horror film in each sub genre of horror. To have the opportunity to create our own masked man horror icon was incredible. I feel the first film was more of a prequel and this is Jacob’s true first film. The first film had Jacob under the command of his fanatic religious mother. In this film we recreate Jacob’s look, theme music, and array of weapons. It’s a tremendous honor and I still can’t believe we got such an incredible opportunity that so few directors ever have.
MG: What was your biggest challenging tackling that film?
SS: It should have been much more difficult but we were spoiled by our cast and crew. Let me tell you a little thing about the crew you can get in Vancouver – seasoned professionals that work year around on everything from major blockbuster productions, to some of the best genre televisions series we have ever seen, and the darling independent gems. You get this crew and you get peace of mind because they are so good. Almost the entire cast were child actors, so not only was the level of talent very high in our performers, but we had a team that could pull off this very ambitious film very masterfully.
JS: For me, the biggest challenge was making something that was true to the original and respected the fans who loved that film while building on that film’s missed opportunities. It’s hard to come
into an existing franchise and make changes. Every franchise has key parts to it. You don’t want to come into something like, Hellraiser, and take out the lament configuration. Just like with Jacob.
There were untouchable elements, but we had a lot of room to play around with the character and story and kills and almost everything.
MG: Tell us about what it was like working on “ABCs of Death 2” and your segment “T is for Torture Porn”?
SS: It was something we’ve been wanting to make since the open entry contest on the first one. I watch a lot of porn, I love it. I think in horror there are interesting issues you can tackle because it’s not like you’re just preaching at people – you have one foot in reality and one in the fantastical. T is for Torture Porn is a commentary on unwanted sexual violence and degradation with a very angry reaction to that with how the short ends. But there’s still a laugh to it all, wait til the after credits scene – it’s the end of our segment.
JS: A tremendous honor! I loved the first ABCs of Death. I really wanted to be in it, but we saw T is for Toilet (the entry for the 26th slot open to all directors) and it was perfection. We wanted to make Torture Porn all the way back then but we put it on the back burner. We didn’t even expect them to do a sequel. I’m so happy they did and absolutely honored that Ant invited us on.
MG: Are you ever afraid of taking it too far or offending the audience?
SS: Ha ha, from some of the not happy with it reviews, maybe I should have? Naw, art is to make people feel things. It’s to spurn a reaction. Anything that one person loves, another person will hate it.
JS: In the immortal words of one of my favorite comedians ever, John Cleese, “some people deserve to be offended.” It’s just art and art should make you question things and leave an impression on you. It should get you thinking. I’m not a fan of senseless violence or cruelty to animals, but I think that violence and the obscene have a place in art for sure. Though somewhat controversial, MARTYRS and A SERBIAN FILM are superb films. They use their violence, gore, and more upsetting parts as a commentary.
MG: What do you love most about the horror genre?
SS: Everything. Being scared gets me excited, it makes me feel alive. It’s a thrill.
JS: What’s not to love? I feel horror chose us from a very young age. I can’t remember a time I didn’t love it. It’s exciting and fun. You ever go to a Horror Convention? If you haven’t, treat yourself. They are the happiest places on Earth filled with the sweetest people. Horror brings out the best in people.
MG: We ever going to see you both directing a romantic comedy?
SS: I thought American Mary was a romantic comedy. Jen and I are in love with this script written by Josh Murray, this extremely crass female-centric Christmas comedy. I bet you didn’t see that coming, eh? But that’s how we pick our projects – if we would want to see this movie, we would make that movie.
JS: Dammit, I thought SEE NO EVIL 2 was a romance movie! Well, to me, it totally is. I’d love to tackle any genre. I’m not into labels. Some people seem happy to categorize us as “female twin horror directors”, but I just see us as directors. I love film. I love all genres of film. There is no genre we wouldn’t tackle and put a Soska spin on.
MG: You also worked with WWE Studios for “Vendetta”, which is an action films; what can you tell us about that experience?
SS: Vendetta stars Dean Cain, Paul ‘Big Show’ White, and Michael Eklund and it is the most badass film we have ever made. The pure physicality to it, the amazing stunt fights from our Stunt Coordinator, Kimani Smith, and Fight Coordinator, Dan Rizzuto, pushed everything and everyone to the max. You have never seen the cast like this before. It is such a fuck yeah movie. We got our See No Evil 2 team back to pull it off and we really kicked the shit out of ourselves making this gritty crime revenge flick.
JS: It was incredible! It was so nice to have Michael Luisi of WWE Studios be the first to give us an opportunity to do a genre that wasn’t strictly horror. We have stunts and action in all of our films. It was really fun to have so much more of it. Dean Cain is outstanding, a true Hollywood icon. You’ve never seen him like this before, either. I love Dean good, but he’s SO much better bad. And he’s a total badass in Vendetta. Paul “Big Show” Wight is so evil. He plays a lot of comedic roles and the humor here comes from just how bad he is. And he loves it. Eklund is the Canadian Daniel Day Lewis. I just love him. There isn’t anything he can’t do. You hand me a script and I look for the top three roles I can see him in. He’s so capable and versatile. The film is so sexy, and dark. It’s almost a boy version of American Mary.
MG: How is your adaption of “Painkiller Jane” coming along? Is this your next project?
SS: Painkiller Jane is coming along very well. We are on the epic task of finding Jane. She needs to be tough as nails, completely shredded, with a great emotional capacity, and pitch perfect comedic ability. Easy, right? There are a few projects we have in development that are racing to the finish line right now, so I can say 100% sure on anything, but we have a huge focus on making Bob, our monster movie right now. It’s time, we haven’t stop work on it in all this time.
JS: We are filmmaking sharks. If we stop making films, we die. We have several original scripts that we’re pushing forward and have several more films in all stages of development. We’re planning some TV work along with a couple graphic novels, as well, so we honestly never stop. We’re so creative. I love story telling. I’m so blessed to be able to do what we do. With any luck, BOB will be our next one. It’s so very special to us.
MG: Lastly, I just have to ask how does it feel to literally be taking over the horror genre? Very soon, you will be so big that I won’t be able to speak with you again!
SS: Nothing feels like real life to me right now. I am getting to make films I love with my best friend and it’s been years of struggling to get to a point where we feel secure in getting to keep doing this! Thank you for supporting us – otherwise we would be waiting tables still.
JS: Ha ha, OMG, you will ALWAYS be able to talk to us! We still can’t believe people like our stuff. It’s like some sort of weird karma from being so damn unpopular growing up. It’s a profound honor to have people respond to us and our work the way they have. I grew up dressing like movie characters I love. Seeing people cosplay ours or get them tattooed on them is so unreal. Like a dream come true. And all the letters we get mean the world to us. We try to be the role models we would have liked growing up. We’ll always stay the same. Grounded and uber grateful for the influence we have. And we’re only just getting started.