Celebrating Women In Horror Month With Jen And Sylvia Soska
Speaker 1: 00:00 Hi, I'm Jen Soska and I'm Sylvia Soska and where the twisted twins, when Jen and Sylvia Soska were little girls, they weren't playing with Barbies. They were playing with spiders or huddled in the horror section of their video store. Speaker 2: 00:13 We would go around looking at the back of boxes for the bloodiest things with the gorgeous messes, and we'd be like, Oh, this is a good wine. And we'd beg our mom and never, never, never let us watch wine until Poltergeist. And they are the [inaudible] sisters and they're here once again to celebrate women in horror month with me on cinema junkie. Speaker 3: 00:47 [inaudible]. Speaker 2: 00:47 I'm Beth Accomando, and I can't think of better representatives for women in horror month than the Canadian twisted twins. Jen and Sylvia Soska. That film Poltergeist changed Sylvia's life. It terrified her, but her mother calmed her fears by explaining the art of special effects. She told me everything I saw was systematically made by very talented artists with the intention of scaring me. And I was like, wait a minute. These people's job is scaring people. That's the job the SaaS guys wanted and they now have it. Those twisted twins burst on the horror scene in 2009 with the grind house film dead hooker in a trunk. The name of lone got them banned from a film festival. There is a dead body in the trunk with drugs Speaker 1: 01:34 have to call the police right now. It's not like you guys had anything to do with it, right? Speaker 2: 01:39 My throat is really fuzzy. Then they moved up in production values to make the [inaudible] Speaker 1: 01:43 personal and perversely brilliant American Mary that look to the world of body modification. I have the benefit of being connected to myself. [inaudible] is my sister, but I know that connection may or may not last beyond the six sisters. They never want to lose that connection there. Maybe they'll die to Gasa and vase, but others to come together. Maybe not, but should anything ever happen to [inaudible] before the AZA and Yvonne to lose that connection? If he wants you to take off her left arms and exchange them with one another, Speaker 1: 02:29 I shouldn't be a problem. And more recently they found success with a horror TV game show called Hellevator and working for the WWE studios. And last year they added a remake of David Cronenberg's cult favorite rabbit to their resume, an outbreak of rabies. Avoid all animal and exhibiting violent or erratic behavior spreads like an STD. Stop it. It could affect all of mankind. The film played the horror festival circuit late last year with a limited theatrical release in December. Now it's available streaming. I need to take a short break and then I'll be back with my interview with Jen and Sylvia Saska, the twisted twins. Speaker 4: 03:17 Before we do that kind of talking, we need to fuel ourselves with energy drinks. All right, well finally get to talk to you about rabid. Oh my gosh. It's so surreal to be remaking a Cronenberg's first remake of all of them. I mean, no pressure. Right? So how did this project come your way? You know, the funny thing is it was a blind email, like it was about three sentences long. And our producers have sent us an email that said, would you by any chance be interested in remaking David Cronenberg's rabid. We have the rights. And before asking anyone, I just obviously said yes and then my reps at this couldn't possibly be a real offer. And I'm like, ah, it's a Cronenberg offer, so let's, let's field it. And we had this meeting the next day at, um, there was an original script that they had given to David with a hopes that he would produce it. Speaker 4: 04:12 And he read the script and he said, ah, you don't really know anything of my work. This is rabid and title alone. So they went back and they Googled Cronenberg and our names came up because he was my greatest influences. And they retold this story during our Skype meeting and we said two things. Oh my God, you sent that script to David. Oh no, no, no, you can't do that. And then they said, why can't you do that? What's, and then we spoke for like 40 minutes about the subtleties of Cronenberg and they said, you know what ladies, you handle the creative will handle the money. Cause it sounds like you've got that covered. Now in tackling something like this, you have a nice balance of creating something that's completely new but also paying tribute to the source. So when you were working on this, like what kind of, what was going through your mind in terms of how to create that balance? Speaker 4: 05:03 Well, for Jennifer and me, we've been in the directing business for over a decade and at that point we had so many a hard knocks that were like, I don't know if this job is for me. And then this Cronenberg job came up and I was like, well I couldn't possibly imagine this movie in anyone else's hands. So it was interesting. It was like going back to film school, it was everything that first got us interested in and in making movies. And we got cast and crew who had worked on David's original movie. So when we were had a challenge, we could be like, well, Dave had never had to deal with this, and of course the sound guy hears everything. We have Brian Day who even he comes over and he's like, Oh, David, you had the exact same problem. I'm like, Oh my God, what did he do? Speaker 4: 05:42 And then he tells you and you're like, okay, well I deserve the exact same problems mr Cronenberg had. Let's just figure it out. Yeah. We went the total opposite way of when you do a remake, can you just totally do your own thing and you make it a title alone remake. I was terrified that somebody would a Cronenberg film and then for people for heaven forbid that weren't familiar with them would watch and be like, ah, this isn't very good. This Cronenberg guy must not be very good. I just wanted it to make the most loving a homage to him possible. I don't think there's ever been a more self aware remake. We haven't been actually adjusted our directing style, Beth, because as you might know, we're very loud. Yeah, we are very loud. We need to do a library set because he ha he's very, um, is very methodical and he's very soft spoken and he doesn't have screaming and hysteria like we normally do just cause we're very loud Hungarian. Speaker 4: 06:31 So loving, screaming, hysteria. Like it was interesting to be have that quiet there but also it's nice and quiet. So then when you go and may have those louder moments, everybody gets excited cause they're like, Oh, here we go. We're about to get loud. What did you feel was the most challenging thing about taking on a project like that? Uh, excepting the shadow and Freud of it all. We made shot Freud a part of our film because I knew that, uh, first of all we're female so we're going to take a little bit of shit for remaking a Cronenberg film. And also a lot of people consider all of his films sacred, even rabid. Even though mr Kronenberg by his own admission says he was just kind of figuring out filmmaking still with his second film. There are people who say you can't remake something even though he re-imagined the fly, you still can't. Speaker 4: 07:19 I would say the thing that I would say it was the hardest thing was uh, putting myself on the firing line because I wanted people to either love the film or hate the film and us because it would lead them back to loving David. Regardless. If you love the film, you'd love David. If you hated the film, you'd be like all those nasty twins. David is so much better, and we tricked you into loving David again and literally all of the press, even the bad press, they all said nice things about David except there's a couple of Canadian people who badmouth David and I was like, you know what? You should shut up the most out of anybody. He's a brilliant person. You can say, I suck. I accept that, but that's it. I thought Canadians were always polite except to their own artists. Apparently mr Cronenberg has a lot to say about that as well. Speaker 4: 08:03 There are few people who said it surpasses the original and I'm like, you can't really surpass and original because without the original there is no remake. I really feel our film is more of a thought accompaniment piece both to the original rabid and to American Mary. Yeah. They could play together as a cool double feature like cause they almost are exactly the same film with like 41 years between them and one is just the male perspective when one is a female perspective. Yeah, they're pretty much the exact same film. Kind of feels more like Sam Raimi Spiderman to me. But you know, actually the last path there was, there's a moment in the red room, Beth, that is definitely all saw Sauskia the rest was through mr Cronenberg. But uh, throughout the film, anytime you see red, it's an indication that there's danger and there's something very bad that's about to happen in the more red there is the worst. The situation as, tell me more about these people, not just the meat, Speaker 5: 08:56 it's just blood. There's something about it. Well, it's not uncommon for patients to report changes in taste post-surgery. It's a side effect of the anesthesia. Things don't taste the same. We crave things we've never eaten before. How's your appetite? All the time? Speaker 1: 09:21 I can't keep anything down. I have this fear stomach pains when the pain is too much. That's when the hallucinations start and I see myself Speaker 5: 09:35 please, Jackie, I'm glad you're dreaming. Why am I dreaming about drinking blood? When people who bring them about drinking blood often have unfulfilled yearnings, it's tied to the guilt of desire. Don't feel guilty. Are you in control of the dreams or do the dreams controlling you? Speaker 1: 10:01 Sometimes I am in control of them. Sometimes it just seems like watching myself, I'm somebody else [inaudible] these type hallucinations. It's making me feel like I'm becoming a monster. That was a clip from Jen and Sylvia sauce goes rabbit, the remake of David Cronenberg's 1977 cult film. I'll be back after this second and final break with the rest of my interview with the twisted twins. Speaker 4: 10:45 Now you guys, as we've seen in your films are not afraid to depict violence or horror, but that seemed to have gotten you into a little bit of trouble in social media of all places. You know what I believe Todd masters and masters effects, particularly the Toronto team. They've done their disgusting work on Handmaid's tale. So when you watch that show and you're like, Oh my God, that's masters effects, they do the best bodies in the business. The weirdest thing is there is much more graphic scary monster imagery in rabbit. Then the face accident, like there was a, there was a banner when we had our world premier and the trailer, uh, dropped. And uh, we got this warning from Twitter saying, Hey, this is your, you're promoting violence. And I thought, Oh LOL, this is such a funny joke. They are not gonna take the director of a film off of Twitter the day they're releasing their movie. Speaker 4: 11:37 And apparently, yeah, yeah, they, they totally can. And it made me aware of this huge problem that seems to be going on on all these different social media sites that the, the smaller independent seem to be getting caught up in this kind of thing. Whereas even the, the, the bigger movies can going for forward. And it's funny cause we were still an independent film, but we funded by the government of Canada through telephone. So I was hitting up all of my contacts being in there were even on the news and they're like, um, I'm trying to tag you in your Twitter so we can promote this movie. And I was like, Oh my God, this is a freaking nightmare. And then all the distributors were so happy. They're like, how did you girls get Ben? This is fantastic because of the movie. And I was like, no. Speaker 4: 12:16 All those Twitter people I've worked for like 10 years to have them following me. This is, Oh wow. That's, that's, that's social media. This marketing and filmmaking in the modern times. Yeah. It's really an embarrassing double standard because they're studio films. Like literally the next day after we were taken down for obscene and graphic content, Twitter was advertising. The number one trending story was the [inaudible] super gruesome trailer. And I thought, wait a minute, what's the difference between my little facial deformity and a huge gory trailer? Oh, that's right. I don't have the studio money backing me to be on Twitter and to have a mass marketing campaign. I thought it was very nasty because you know, all my followers and all of our retweets, we don't pay for them. They're actual Gitelman people. I think we just got a little bit too much attention. Our black widow story actually dropped that week too. Speaker 4: 13:06 Yeah. But a lot of people didn't know about us before rabid and even as crowded, they probably won't, but it'll be years. Then somebody will be like, wow, they've made 16 really disturbing movies. Who are these girls? And they'll call us overnight sensations. Now this is also February, which is women in horror month and [inaudible] and you guys do things, I mean, you guys do special things for women in horror. Correct? Are you still doing the blood drive and stuff? Yes, absolutely. We are every year. I, for those that don't know, uh, is women in horror month in February. I know it's also black history month, but I have to be real. There's only 12 bribes. Every month is a lot of different things. And because it was kind of romantic with Valentine's day, that's when Hannah neurotic, it shows February. And I never really wanted women in horror to feel like a charity or a handout or like we're asking for a favor. Speaker 4: 13:58 We just wanted a little acknowledgement and we just wanted equal treatment and equal kind of celebration. So I thought it would be really generous for us to give back. And I never really thought why no other horror personalities thought of doing this before because you can't really think of horror without thinking blood and donating. Blood used to be our civic duty. I'd been on grandparents all used to on the regular donate blood and it's now become one of those things where we just assume someone else's going to need it but, or do it for us. But donating blood is just about the most selfless thing you can do. Most people don't do it because they're afraid of getting a little prick. But I really feel that the horror fans are some of the most compassionate and bravest people in the world. So every month we find filmmakers from across the world of every level. Speaker 4: 14:45 This year we had even Troma participate and they make Phillips and PSA is, uh, encouraging to donate blood as much as blood services. And, uh, red cross have said off the record, they love what we're doing because they're very corporate. They can't officially, uh, approve us, although very quietly they're cheering for us. Yeah. And luckily, uh, because we got to travel so much with a rabbit internationally, we were able to find a bunch of people at different artists internationally. We went to Birmingham university, we mentioned bio students there, uh, moron lung who, uh, did a short, uh, just had her short featured on dread central today. Troma kicked it off. And then there's a few other international national artists that are going to have their work showcased. And we do that because a lot of the time with a filmmaker, it's hard to figure out how to get started. Speaker 4: 15:33 So if you do a blood drive where you have like an open creativity, um, it's, it takes that fear away from you and then you never know what that person's going to end up doing next. Yeah. And women in horror month is a great place to get your initial exposure. I don't know if a lot of people realize that, uh, when we made our first film dead poker in a trunk, it was very difficult for it to be seen. And I would send it anywhere. I would send it to people having a frat party, a bar, hopefully film festivals. But it was hard to find them. I said, send them to him to a lot of film festivals and they said, by title alone, I won't even watch your movie. And it was like, can you send the money back? But no, that's just not how they roll. Speaker 4: 16:11 But in February, 11 years ago, women in horror month, the very first women in horror month or two film festivals, one in the UK and one in Texas that played dead hooker and in shrunk for the very first time. And that really kicked it off. And that exposure and that kind of celebration meant so much for me because of course, I mean we may dead hooker in truck for $2,500. We didn't have a lot of a listers in there. As you can imagine, a little word of mouth goes a long way. Yeah. It's always important to be able to send the Alabama theater back down and who knows? One day those ladies are going to be our bosses potentially. Here's hoping. Yeah. How do you feel about how women in horror have come along? I mean, it's been a decade since your foam. Um, do you feel that you are able to make the films that you want or is it an environment that's more inviting to you or has it changed at all? Speaker 4: 17:03 Yes and no. And you know, before, uh, this most recent film, I thought all the experiences I had that were negative challenges, birth for the pre me to Mo movement and pre before, uh, people were more accepting of female talent, especially being an identical twins. I mean we got, we went through some horrible experiences, but because we got to work with telephone, I got to actually sit down and talk to them about the experiences we went through. And they said, Oh my gosh, ladies, we can't protect you from what just happened, but what would you like to have see in the future that can protect people from now on? And we brought up the idea of having intimacy coordinators like stunt coordinators. So instead of having kind of like this free for all, if there's any kind of intimacy, any kind of sexuality, any kind of, any kind of content like that, you have somebody on set so that nobody feels that they're uncomfortable, they're not being put out of place. Speaker 4: 17:53 It's just like if you have a stop scene, you know where the punches are going to land. If you have an intimate scene, you know everywhere everyone's hands are going to go. And then also before you even start the production, there's a, what were they call J Oh, those are sensitivity training things. And you do them, you know, I think it should be a group team building exercise instead of just for, you know, Hey, Bob's kind of racist and old Hollywood as we like to say. Maybe he just goes by himself. I think my language is ever evolving in the 90s. Uh, forgive the term chick with a Dick with something that we could pass along and have a laugh at. And now there are people that are trans and I mean they're people trends back then, but the amount of kids that are like killing themselves because you know, they're laughing stock and they can't help who they are. Speaker 4: 18:40 The insensitivity in the media is disgusting right now in that kind of language has been on sat and normalized for so long. So instead of say being like, well, we can't say a joke anymore before we even started production. Everybody knows what the rules are going in. So when there is a challenge that arises, you can be like, well, we've already put out the boundaries of what is acceptable, what isn't. Yeah. People say that for whatever reasons set can't be fun anymore. But what I like to say is now it has to be fun for everybody. Unfortunately, I feel with the me too era, there's more of a conversation happening than any action happening. And with the conversation we're getting more upset at people misspeaking than the actions that have have happened. And I absolutely agree that people need to speak respectfully to each other. Speaker 4: 19:23 What we need to start with the, the people who are physically like abusing and stopping people's careers and doing that kind of thing. And as much as I've struggled to find the right collaborators that don't stifle our vision, because as you can imagine, we are pretty out there when we're not on a leash. We actually are, are working with, uh, David Cronenberg's producers, the amazing Martin cats of Prospero pictures and Karen Wookie Martin worked with David on his five most recent films. And I think a lot of people can tell that even mr Cronenberg has a more relaxed, uh, supported style in his most recent films. So, uh, we are finally making Bob, which is our movie that was supposed to come after American Mary. It's an original monster movie, which is about trauma and about releasing that trauma and how when something's from happens to you and you don't deal with it, it kinda creates this monster. Speaker 4: 20:16 And we all have these monsters, these things that we carry around with us. And the film is really about dealing with that pain and trauma and releasing it. And it's a very, very dark comedy. Uh, and it's very funny because it's, it's also very true romantic comedy too. I mean, everybody has their own monsters, right? Everybody has their own thing that's affected them. All right. Well this makes me very happy because as much as I've enjoyed your films and your success, I really was looking forward to something that was kind of a personal project like American Mary Speaker 6: 20:48 was. So I'm very happy to hear this. Hey, it only took like seven years between each year, but Speaker 4: 20:59 it was so wonderful. Um, Martin and Karen, we connected with them when we were just finishing up rabbit in there. Uh, two of the first people to see the very, uh, final edit once we locked the movie. And as soon as it was done. And I remember Martin saying, I wish I made that movie. And he's saying that, Oh, we're gonna make movies together from now on. And I was like, no way. We're going to start making movies together and we are and the the the kind of support and instead of hearing that, uh Oh, I don't know if I want to put that tentacle there or that monster should do that. Now they're like, this is fantastic. So let's make sure the tentacles a hundred percent supported and we have as many monster makers as we need. And it's just, it's just fun. It's what, what you always dream of. Speaker 4: 21:39 I think that every film we've been a little bit restrained because especially with like our WW II films, I love all of my films, but my films outside of American Marion dead hooker in a trunk, I am working for a client. I think sometimes people forget that when they're like, Oh bad film maker. And I'm like, look, I really pushed the boundaries for family biggest WWE. Please forgive me that everything that you hoped, but I think our fans are going to be really excited about Bob because we, uh, we really pushed the envelope and this is going to be the most us, the most purest Soscol film ever. And if you don't like it, you just flat out don't like us, so don't worry about it. Yeah. And the time that we have on this one is kind of crazy and crazy about it cause like this, well Beth, you know, this one's been our baby, so we've been, we've been collecting people for a very long time to get going. Every favor will be called in, will be called in. Speaker 6: 22:32 And how does it feel to get back to something that's a little more personal? Cause I mean, I understand why you take other projects too. You guys have to make a living and a career out of what you're doing. And sometimes doing your own personal work doesn't pay the bills quite as well. But, um, how does it feel to get back to something that you do have a, a more personal kind of, uh, uh, something more personal vested in? Speaker 4: 22:54 Well, you know, I never, Beth, I didn't know if it would ever happen. I thought American Mary was so scary. I was like, Oh geez, we shouldn't have done that one. So right off the bat, because everyone knew too much. The, Oh, never let those girls have full creative say on anything ever again. But I think it was interesting because it made us these niche filmmakers that were only able to do these certain kind of things. And uh, uh, having made so many movies, I still don't think anybody has seen what Jennifer and I are 100% capable of. And that's something we're definitely going to show off. And Bob and I, there's so many movies I know that they a huge meaning. I know American Mary meant a lot to people, but there's some people in my life I've been wanting to make Bob for for so long. Speaker 4: 23:34 And I know once they see that movie and have whatever experience we're gonna have with it. I mean that's the whole point of it. There's this really great scene in a rabbit addition spoil anything for anybody that seen it between a Chelsea and Rose and its core, the uh, the fashion show at the end and uh, Chelsea tells Rose that she's going to be great and that it's going to be her own line next. And the film like American Mary is very much an analogy for our own ventures in the film industry and Rosa's last and Chelsea is the, the best friend Rosa's really stuff and I'm really Chelsea that Jen is the optimistic one. She's Beatrice and I'm married. It's always been that way. Karen, I'm the summer and you know that that was such an important scene to us that we put in very self aware because as much as I am like beyond honored, there are no words. Speaker 4: 24:21 I mean you need to send a poet to explain how touched I am to be given the opportunity to remake a Cronenberg film. But it's been so long after American Mary, I was told just do a studio film, then you'll be able to do another original. They're like, I just do another studio film. Okay, just do another thing. And I was like, I feel like I'm being punished. And it's been a, not to be dark, but it's been a really, really hard road. The more successful you get, the less people you get to have around you. For whatever reason. A lot of people change and a lot of people reveal themselves and it's really painful. It's really damaging. And I always wanted to make Bob for everyone else to kind of let go of their trauma and release their pain. Now I really feel that I'm making Bob for me as well, and it feels like it's happening at exactly the right time. Speaker 4: 25:07 And it's really a special film. It's not just a horror film, it's a, it's an incredibly therapeutic horror film. And I'm so grateful that we're working with Martin and Karen to be able to make it this. And what do you think defines your particular style? What is your particular fascination with working in the horror genre? It's interesting. I sometimes think I'm, I'm so unable to articulate what I want to say, that a movie is the only way that I can explain how I'm feeling at any given time, which is a very weird way to say anything. Um, I think a lot of it is very loud and brash and in your face. And it was so many times my mom, even after she saw a dead hooker for the first time, she was like, please don't show this to anybody else. I was like, mom, the screenings tomorrow, what do you mean? Speaker 4: 25:54 And she said, it's okay. I, but your dad and I know what you girls are like. It's just, if everybody knows what you're like, some people aren't going to get that and they're gonna, they're gonna make fun of you. Maybe, you know, it's like, that's, that's OK. I, I like that Jen and I are so loud. So even if there's somebody out there that's like, Oh my God, I hate the Saska sisters. Maybe if that inspires you to make your own anti Sauskia sisters movies. That's cool. Like at least you don't have to worry because we're pretty loud and kind of carving this big path and you can be as quiet or as loud as you want to. It's, it's, it's all good. Jan, do you want to add anything about how you define your style? You know, I guess, I guess our style would be about survivalism and hope when you really think of it. Speaker 4: 26:34 I, I like to point out that every one of our phones is about somebody that could be, you could be me. We try to make them very relatable, very flawed. Then something happens to them that would usually break a regular person and instead of being broken and destroyed, they rise and they become something more powerful than what it is that happened to them. And, uh, I think that good horror is actually therapy. It's very therapeutic and I love to trick people into learning both moralistic and, uh, self-love lessons through our phones. And, uh, I, I do think that makes us very real. The first thing I think about when we make a film is what is the message? Why does this film exist? I don't think, Oh cool, you've got however much money and this actor isn't doing anything for two weeks. It's just not enough for me to make a film. It has to have something to say other than buy this toy twice as important. Jen, Hey, you're going to get your Bob plushes that you squeeze and he'll have his catch lines and don't worry. I definitely got that. But you know, I think in a place where there are so many a world where so many people are just saying whatever messages they're being told to say, I just like to encourage our work just encourages critical thought, authenticity and Hey, you always know our reviews are real cause people trash or movie. Speaker 6: 28:01 One thing I had wanted to ask about rabid was the clothes, the designs. They were so amazing. Where did you get the person to design those and how did that all kind of come into play for the film? Oh my gosh. Speaker 4: 28:17 So we got more gantry Newson who had just come out of retirement for us and she had worked on in the mouth of madness and it was amazing. She was working on this collection and she was a [inaudible] and she didn't even know that this movie was happening. And she was like, I just feel that this is going on working towards something. And when we found her, I was like, this is supernatural because we need a whole fashion line. But we wanted it to be, we had a champagne, a taste, but a bare budget. And I was like, I really want to have authentic couture in here. So we were teamed with a Roger Gingrich of fashion week who ended up being our curator for the top designers in Canada. So we had the hottest fashions on everybody. Even every single actor and character had their own designer and designs put on them. Speaker 4: 29:03 We had house of Haleigh giving shoes to everyone. It was, it was really exciting because I soak commonly people are like, well that's from Canada, that almost look ugly. That sucks. And I was like, no, Canadians are cool. And we make nice clothes and everyone can look pretty. Yeah, we took absolute pride in not only displaying the talent of [inaudible] Canada, like everything in the film is so key. And Canadian. Even the sea lamprey, which has that little snake things in dr burrows tanker are Canadian. The Canadian little invaders are, uh, dead ringers. Robes are imported Egyptian silk because obviously dead ringers was our favorite. And we had to really show off with that. We actually asked David if he still had them, but he gave them away. I was like, ah, Oh, I wish I was at your house. That, Oh my God. And we had Christine, who was one of the seamstresses from American psycho. Speaker 4: 29:49 She did not know what psychos we were for that movie she put up with us. She was a goddess. She was magnificent. And the amazing Joseph to sone a piece together, our nightmare dress, which is what Chelsea wears and Rose wears. And uh, it has that beautiful feather a, Oh, I love that piece. It was also on design, on display at a Toronto fashion week. Yeah. So if there's anything you see in rabbit and you're like, Ooh, I want a cost play as that, check out the credit scroll because all of those designers have all of those outfits or break into my house. Cause I took a lot of, Oh yeah, we took a lot of it. Well it was just when you saw the designs that she was drawing, it really kicked it up a notch because it, it had a quality to it. Speaker 4: 30:34 That was just amazing. Thank you so kindly. So when do you actually start working on Bob? Have you already started shooting? We have not started shooting right now. We're just that in early prep. So it's a, it's getting our monsters all in a line, which is really fun. Yeah. And we're getting our right distributors on our international partners and, uh, we have a list of our casts that we want. We have our first or second and our third choices and we're just seeing what the international, you know, responses. But, uh, it will definitely be our most, uh, impressive cast. There will definitely be horror icons that are reappearing. And, uh, like I said, there's a lot of favors that were being, are being called in. We're having our early meetings with our creature designers that are visual effects because Bob is a, is a beast all on his own. Speaker 4: 31:25 Yeah. It's a little bit like a who framed Roger rabbit, which we're excited about because we're doing some technology that hasn't been done in films before. So luckily we have very smart artists who are like, Oh wow, that never happened. Well, let's make it up. Also, I thinking in the future, I definitely want to do horror conventions with whoever a creature performer is for Bob. Oh my gosh. He would be so cute. Hugs from Bob. That would be great. Right? I feel sorry for the guy on stilts already. No, no. He might be that one tall guy. Yeah. And you guys have had, uh, a dedication to wanting to do practical effects and is that something you're gonna carry over into Bob? Absolutely. I always feel that visual effects should be like good plastic surgery. If it's there, you shouldn't know it's there, but at the time you don't think visual effects are good enough for you to be like, Oh, it's a magical mystery thing. Every time I see visual effects I'm like, ah, there you are my enemy. There you are. I see you. Even like old practical effects if you light it right, if you, you know, put the right kind of guru on it, it looks masterful. I always go back to Rob Bottin and the thing like that's just a masterpiece. Yup. Well I think it engages you more when you're watching Speaker 6: 32:40 it so that CGI has a distancing effect. But I think practical effects draw you in more. Speaker 4: 32:48 Absolutely. I love something that you can feel and touch and if even if it's weird looking. I like it. Weird looking. Yeah. And it's so much fun when the monster or the beast or whatever is onset, the whole cast and crew, it's like the whole place is electrified cause you're like, Oh here's that weird stuff that shouldn't exist. And now it does. Also Bob's going to do some very violent things. So there will have to be some visual effects. Unless we kill a guy, there's only one guy and get less, we can actually rip him in half. We might, I mean who knows? We don't have some really dedicated fans. Speaker 6: 33:23 Okay. And can you trace back the first monster movie you saw that had an impact on you? Like when you were younger? Oh, gremlin. Speaker 4: 33:32 It had to be gremlins. I watched gremlins and gremlins too. So many times. Especially gremlins too, cause all of a sudden it was like, wow, there's every kind of gremlin. They got backroom Linds, they got electric gremlins, they got vegetable gremlins. It's mostly almost tied with little shop of horrors. I remember I watched that plant constantly and even though it, I think it was years after I watched the movie that it was like, Oh, the plant was the bad guy. Okay, okay. No, I understand. I think I got it mom. It's like, wait, what the plan was the bad guy. The parent no is actually greed, greed, greed was the bad guy. The plant was just the manifestation of the greed. The plant was so good. I didn't realize until years later because it's so seamless that they sped up the puppetry. Yep. I had no idea of movie magic. Right. And can you guys describe it? Speaker 6: 34:21 Why it is that you feel a fascination for horror? Speaker 4: 34:25 It's interesting Beth, cause I, I remember so much about horror as girl time with my mom. My mom owes, had horror movies. The time I couldn't hang out with my mom was, she was home watching a horror movie. I was like, what is it? Think like eating up mom time. And then I was like, wait, I'm not allowed to do this. Well, I definitely have to do it. And then ever since then I guess it was felt like a Rite of passage. Uh, it always feels like home. I remember there's so many times that Jennifer, I mean we, we started as actresses at seven and it was only when we were doing horror movies that we were like, wow, this, this is special. This feels cool. It felt like coming home. Also being raised Catholic, you have a very natural relationship with good and evil. Speaker 4: 35:06 You do and you're being told you're going to burn forever. All of a sudden you're like, Whoa, wait, what? Why did I do? I'm literally still making peace with being a child and what it is to exist. But now I know that I couldn't die in burn forever because I, I messed up a rule that I didn't even know I had so that I, you know, the devil and evil is like naughty, naughty, don't look into that. Don't read any Alister Croley. So you do, you have no choice. You have to be drawn to it. I also think that, um, for whatever reason being like bullied and having a hard time growing up, Hora was just such a safe therapeutic space because you know, in horror, you, when you're in a difficult situation, but you were removed from that difficult situation, but you could still have the life experience without going through any of the trauma. Speaker 4: 35:54 I believe someone once said, someone much more clever than I. Maybe it was mr Cronenberg that a good movie is the equivalent of one year of life experience. So I aim to make movies that give people, you know, that one year of life experience. Well, I had a chance to interview Cronenberg and he gave me one of my favorite quotes of all time, which was, he said, I'm not interested in comfortable cinema. Ah, he's such a, he, I love him. Let's be honest. That's so sexy. Yeah. Like wow. Mr Cronenberg, you, you just floor us. Yeah. He's just such a gift. I hear he's running a pet store now. Did you, did you hear about possessor killing at Sundance? Brandon? I saw a little piece of that at Fife as Brandon is just like such an amazing filmmaker too. Is he the one who did antiviral? Speaker 4: 36:46 Yes. Yes. Oh, treat yourself to seeing possessor. We saw the proof of concept at fright Fest and I immediately had to be like, it's so good Brandon. Oh my God. Yeah. And the three people that we are with, none of us got an agenda. Explain the ending to us. And then we've emailed to Brandon and he's like, and this is the other potential ending, or like, Ooh, I'm just so tired of formulaic having to follow logic art. Like if I get a self, a horror movie and it's one of those what I call a cell phone script, like the whole movie is about why don't they call the police? I'm like, no, no, I'm not going to do it. They don't call the police because it's a demon or an alien or whatever. Come on, Jen. You ever Rottweiler puppy? Dog food isn't cheap. I know [inaudible] but possessor is amazing because it's just, you know, it's so interpretive and it's not something that you're just handed and I feel that a lot of the times like you'll watch a horror movie and then like the last five, 10 minutes is just summing it up. Hey stupid. Did you understand the movie? And I'm like, Aw, tell me what happened at the end of the movie takes my thinking away. Isn't that the gift thought? Yeah. I remember watching the proof of concept and it was so surreal. It almost makes you question what reality itself is. It's great. All right. You've whetted my appetite. Speaker 4: 38:00 You see it before us. Let us know. But that, that one 20 minute scene we saw, we were like, Oh my God. Yeah. I think it's on the film festival circuit right now. Yeah. All right. I'll have to keep my eyes out for it. Are there any other films right now that kind of excite you, that are, are films that you're seeing as opposed to films you're making? The film that I'm most excited about right now is Jill six is the stylist. I don't know if you ever saw the proof of concept, like the short version she did years ago, but she went around, she shopped it to studios for whatever reason it is. She just had to wait for it and then she ended up doing a Kickstarter for her herself and now she's actually shooting the movie and it's, it looks so good. She's such a great director and it's just so exciting to see it actually happening for her. Speaker 4: 38:45 And I think a lot of people don't see that cause you see all these other filmmakers and they make something and then someone comes and they help them. But that's not always how it happens. Sometimes you just have to make your dreams happen for themselves. And that's what Jill is doing. Also on the film festival circuit. We both met the amazing Jennifer Reeder and saw her film knives and skin. Oh my God, I can't even like, you can't even shove that film into a genre. I mean core is where it was blanketed. But it's like if David Lynch me in a high, a high school musical is just unbelievably like Tony and paced and stylistic and uh, I just popped in cause I was like, Oh, let's watch a film. And it was like bawling by the end of it. It just gutted me. It was just so beautifully made. Speaker 4: 39:32 And another filmmaker that we, uh, met while we were on a film festival tour is Ariella Mangan who did this amazing film for Nassis. Uh, it's a, it's a feature film that she's touring with as well and it's absolutely brilliant. It's also an experimental art film that uh, well Jennifer readers is of felt that follows like structure. But this one is such a beautiful interpretive, artistic speak a piece with barely any talking in it as well. I love it when there is a film with like limited talking, so it's just relying on the visuals and that's touring as well now. And she's the first person to ever make a feature film off and she comes from this tiny little Island off of that guy, this guy with this giant of volcano on it and it's just like surreal what she was able to do. Yeah. The phone was called for Nassis. Speaker 4: 40:24 It's F, O, R, N, a. C. I. S. and she's touring it with it right now. She's amazing too. She's also on social media. Both of them are, yeah. How was the reaction to rabid had been and how have you felt about its distribution and is it getting out there to people? It's interesting because as a filmmaker you want to be involved in the entire process, but that's just not a reality of the situation a lot of the time. Sometimes you're looking at Twitter, you're like, Oh my gosh, is that what's happening with that? I'm so sad that the last place that got it was Canada. Everybody kept giving me shit about that, but it kind of made sense that the U K got it the first time because they were always the first to promote us with a dead hooker in a trunk. They were the first to promote us with a American Mary. Speaker 4: 41:09 They gave us the world's premiere there. They've heard the first to put us on TV and even David Cronenberg said it was the UK that kind of understood his work a lot before his own country. And I feel like we have the same kind of a thing that we're going through right now. Yeah. I don't know if people realize how challenging it is to get a film out there and especially get it in theater space because the theaters have these agreements already with these massive studios that they already have that space. So unless like Disney picks up rabbit, uh, by accident because they might, I know you're watching us Disney, I know you want to call us in, but you don't know if we'll behave. I promise we will. We will. We did for WWE game show network on. Okay. Anyway, shameless plug, you know, we'll get one night at a theater and everyone's been asking all winds rabid playing in American theaters. Speaker 4: 41:58 I'll see it. I'm like, it was December 13th and only December 13th and it was like 12 theaters and as much as I'd love, you know, to have like 2000 screens, it's really competitive and you know, people don't take risks on art. They just kind of do these huge marketing things and push their films. The funny thing though is that despite that the fans are seeing rapid and the reaction is incredibly gracious, incredibly thoughtful. A once in a while you get something pretty ignorant and kind of Shodan Freud about it and you're just like, wow, that person is mentally unwell. I'm sorry that they had to express themselves in this way to me. But mostly, you know, you get a lot of people that really get it. It's a very, it's a very female story. It's kind of about the horror of what it is like to be not just a woman, but a person in this world where we're so casually cruel to each other. Speaker 4: 42:52 Uh, and what it's like to try and sack, uh, clarifies things to, to survive that. Yeah, I was blown away by the reception. Uh, it was our very first time in sit just when the film played there and it was part of the midnight screening and I was like, Oh geez, do people stay up till midnight? No one told me my movie played at three 30 in the morning. And I was like, Oh my God, is anyone, the whole place was packed and they were cheering and after every scene they would clap it like they wanted to be quiet while the scene was going on. It was such a surreal experience. And then afterwards we met everybody and in broken English from all around the world, they would be telling us what they thought about us or how they, they ain't been fans since this or that. Speaker 4: 43:29 And Oh, it was overwhelming. There's a fan who said, I'm your oldest Mexican fan. I flew in just to see you. I couldn't even, black couldn't even believe it. I had to hug him like 10 times. I was like, I'm so sorry you came to see me. I hope I'm not a disappointment. Yeah. Jennifer and I started on theater. So we love to have the audience right there. So, uh, with film you have to really travel to get that audience. And a lot of people know that we're known for hugging, but I don't think people realize that it takes two people to hug. And every time, I mean, we're just greedy for hugs. We want all the hugs in the world. No one's caught on yet, but they're just like, Oh, the twins are so nice. And I'm like, yeah, I just want more hugs. Speaker 4: 44:03 The fence had been amazing. Like the turnouts to all of the festivals have been incredible and so, so gracious. And there's so many friends that, uh, go, uh, what I like to call breaking bad, crazy over rabid or like I've shown my friends, every one of them or people who are like, I've watched it 10 times already. I'm like, wow, thank you. I'm, I'm so touched. And also listen, come to it with the commentary cause we say some, some good stuff there. Yeah. So when can we look forward to your next project actually coming out? Speaker 4: 44:36 Ooh, I'm hoping to have it shot this year and ready for the film festivals early next year. There are a couple projects that might pop out sooner. I will, uh, cheekily say that, uh, we returned to acting. Yeah, we returned to acting in a, in a, and we worked with, uh, Oh, I don't know, I don't even know if I'm allowed to say who it is, but it's an extremely famous person whose movie actually toured with ours. And we were able to reconnect on the film festival circuit and they're making a new film and they said, Hey, do you want to be in? And I was like, yeah, I love acting. Acting is called vacation for a director. Yeah, but it was, it was, it was awesome. Beth, I'd love to talk to you about it more when we're allowed to, but it was very cool to see somebody who's an icon and to have an artist that just knows what they want but aren't, isn't afraid to do it. Speaker 4: 45:29 Like I know so many directors that are like, Oh, I asked for this blue to be Mo, but it's not that color. I guess I'll just change my fish and it'd be fine with it's this person wouldn't even go on to set unless everything was exactly perfect. I was like, that's so cool to have it. It was, it was an interesting way to work. It was really fun. Yeah. I loved visionary and there is such a respect because it wasn't like the studio or the executives being like, you can't do this. It was like, what do you want sir? Let's make that happen for you. I will say it'll be out. Uh, I want to say before may, I don't know, I am not allowed to say one. It's coming out, but I think it's going to be out a lot sooner than our next move. It'll be at a film festival and it's going to be a very, very, very loud project. I was honored to be a part of it. It's also very violent and very sexual, so people will be super happy. Yeah. Speaker 4: 46:20 Yeah. All right. Well, it's always a treat to speak to you both. We love you. Thank you so much. You're so wonderful. Beth. Thank you for putting up with us for all these years. Yes. And thank you for standing or a controlled chaos. I can't wait for Bob. I've been waiting for that for a long time. Do. I'm so excited. It feels like it's not even real life that it's finally happening. All right, well I'll be looking forward to that and best of luck with everything else. Thank you so much and we'll hit you up before in your neck of the woods. Please do love to everybody. Okay. Speaker 3: 47:03 [inaudible] Speaker 2: 47:04 been speaking with Jen and Sylvia Saska, the twisted twins, about their latest film rabbit, which is currently available on Amazon prime fooduh and other streaming services listeners supported KPBS cinema junkie podcast comes out every other week. Please subscribe to it on Apple podcasts or listen to it wherever you get your podcasts till our next film fix on Beth haka. Mondo your residence in a mud junkie. Speaker 3: 47:55 [inaudible].
When Jen and Sylvia Soska were little girls they weren't playing with Barbies, they were playing with spiders or huddled in the horror section of their video store.
"We would go around looking at the back of boxes for the bloodiest things, the goriest messes, and we'd beg our mom, and never, never let us watch one until 'Poltergeist,'" Sylvia Soska remembered.
I can’t think of better representatives for Women in Horror Month than the Canadian blood-loving filmmaking twins Jen and Sylva Soska.
"Poltergeist" changed Sylvia’s life. It terrified her but her mother calmed her fears by explaining the art of special effects.
"She told me that everything I saw was systematically made by very talented artists with the intention of scaring me," Sylvia said. "And I was like wait a minute? These people's job is scaring people?"
That's the job the Soskas wanted and the job they now have. These Twisted Twins burst on the horror scene in 2009 with the grindhouse film "Dead Hooker in a Trunk," the name alone got them banned from a film festival.
Then they moved up in production values to make the very personal and perversely brilliant "American Mary" that looked to the world of body modification and then threw in a revenge story that went to surgical extremes in 2012.
More recently they found success with a horror TV game show called "Hellavator" and working for the WWE Studios. Now they have a remake of "Rabid," David Cronenberg's cult film from the 1970s.
The film played the horror festival circuit late last year with a limited theatrical release in December. Now it is available streaming on Amazon Prime, Vudu and other streaming services.
It's always a blast speaking with Jen and Sylvia Soska, and I'm thrilled that they are turning their talents to another personal project.