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Rants and Raves: ‘American Mary’

Soska Twins Rock Comic-Con Panel

Above: Katharine Isabelle stars as the title character in "American Mary" by the Canadian filmmaking twins, Jen and Sylvia Soska.

For the second time I got to moderate a panel at Comic-Con. Last time it was on my beloved zombies and this time it was to focus on a pair of kick-ass women in horror: the Soska Twins.

I had pitched Comic-Con on a panel focusing on women in horror and specifically on Jen and Sylvia Soska, the wickedly talented Canadian filmmaking twin who made the DIY "Dead Hooker in a Trunk." Their new film, "American Mary," played at the Cannes market and will be playing at London's FrightFest. I had wanted to get them and their make up effects artist Todd Masters on a panel to talk about doing horror right. But all the programming hours were booked. I was told if anything opened up, I'd get a call. As Comic-Con quickly approached, I figured I'd have to wait till next year to pitch a panel again. But just days before the program was going to print I got a call asking if I could possible fill a panel slot on the opening Thursday of the Con at 11am. It would be a 500 seat venue. I said let me make a call. Within hours I had confirmation from the Soskas and Masters, and actress Paula Lindberg. Not only that but they promised a brand new teaser trailer and promo swag (appropriate surgical masks and mini posters).

And we made it into the program:

11:00-12:00 Twisted Twins: American Mary— Jen and Sylvia Soska (of Twisted Twins Productions and the makers of Dead Hooker in a Trunk) and Todd Masters (of MASTERSFX and make-up effects producer on True Blood) will discuss the use of prosthetics in horror. The Soskas will also address the challenges of working in a male-dominated genre. They will unveil a sizzle reel from their new film American Mary. Paula Lindberg (Ruby in American Mary) will also be on the panel, which is moderated by Beth Accomando (author of the KPBS blog Cinema Junkie). Room 5AB

As I expected, the Soska proved engaging and lively at the panel and drew a full house with a mix of ardent fans and people just curious about the film, which involves underground surgery and body modification. Here's the full panel with the teaser trailer. (NOTE the sound improves a couple minutes in.)

Video

Cinema Junkie: Twisted Twins' 'American Mary' Panel at Comic-Con 2012

Above: Cinema Junkie's Beth Accomando moderates the 'American Mary' Panel with Jen and Sylvia Soska at Comic-Con 2012.

The Soskas spoke about their love of horror and why they embrace the darkness of the genre. Masters discussed his effects work and Lindberg pondered way plastic surgery to fit society's image of beauty is considered okay but other body modification done for more personal reasons is deemed horrific. The trailer definitely whetted people's appetite for the film.

Beth Accomando with Sylvia and Jen Soska.

Beth Accomando

Above: Beth Accomando with Sylvia and Jen Soska.

After the twisted twins stopped by my Film School Confidential booth to sign autographs. I think they made new fans and they definitely generated buzz with mentions on Fangoria, Daily Dead, Bloody Disgusting, Dread Central, and more. And what made the whole event even more fun is that it was the Soskas first visit to Comic-Con and they were total geek girls, even dressing as Black Cat and Cat Woman on preview night.

Getting their geek on: Jen and Sylvia Soska at preview night, Comic-Con 2012.

Beth Accomando

Above: Getting their geek on: Jen and Sylvia Soska at preview night, Comic-Con 2012.

Here's hoping that the buzz leads to a well-deserved distribution deal. These ladies work hard and deliver the goods. That should be rewarded. I'm thrilled and honored to have been able to moderate their panel.

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