My Exclusive Interview With The Twisted Twins!

I had the honour and privilege of interviewing the Soska Sisters at this years Grimmfest!

Just a bit of a warning, the twins were interviewed after the UK premiere of their new film, “Rabid”, so this interview may contain little spoilers.

RMM: First of all congratulations on receiving the Horror Channel’s Achievement in Horror Award… 

Both: “THANK YOU!”

Q1: You mentioned in your speech that you didn’t know if you were going to carry on before Rabid was released, what made you decide to carry on?

Sylvia: “So before Rabid Jennifer and I had a lot of projects that came and went, probably the most famous one is Painkiller Jane, there’s a lot of movies that we put a lot of effort into and they never happened. It wasn’t just the career thing, there was a lot of relationships that dissolved during that time and a lot of we thought that were really close to us that we lost at that time and we thought ‘what’s the commonality in all that?’ Well it’s since we worked in the film industry and I was like ‘well maybe I don’t want to do this anymore’ and then we got an e-mail about Rabid and the thing is nobody should remake a Cronenberg movie but these guys had no clue what they were doing! It was just like Home Alone, like are you just going to leave the kid all alone or are you going to be like Laurie Strode and go in there and fight Mike Myers? And I was like, ‘SHIT, we gotta fight Mike Myers’.”

Jen: “I think the thing that helped us fall back in love with film making was going over David’s work and David is a million times more brilliant, talented and under appreciated than we will ever be, so seeing my hero who is 75 who told me he’s still never got 100% creative control, he always had to fight for his control in what he’s done, it was a real wake up call for me. He said also that art is suffering, film making is suffering, he’s just not sure if he’s willing to suffer anymore. I think the real thing that healed me though, because Rabid itself was a difficult experience…”


Jen: “Crushing, soul destroying, I do not fear hell or death or anything anymore because I directed Rabid. But it’s the fans, the people, as we’ve travelled with the film it’s like being able to see the film through everyone’s eyes again and I also see myself through peoples eyes that aren’t so awful. Because I’ve been in a very critical place before, so to get better perspective is really nice, very healing.”

Q2: Did you get in contact with David Cronenberg about making the film?

Jen: “There was a tremendous amount of pressure to involve him right away but we knew that his wife had passed from cancer and it was a prolonged battle that she had with it and he actually said she is his new project and I know he took a year off mourning. Even though there was so much pressure to involve him in the film what I really wanted was there to be an amazing remake that’s just a love letter to David, so by the time he’s starting to come out of that darkness and that sadness, he’s just wrapped and embraced in all that love and maybe, hopefully, if the film does what I want it to do, he’s gonna get more love than he’s had in the past and the appreciation finally that he deserves.”

Sylvia: “It’s so funny, so when the movie was done we finally got to meet David, which was the most nerve wracking, exciting moment of our life. So we go into the cafe and we go an hour early and EVERY table is full and we’re like ‘oh shit!’ I said to Jen, because there was just chicks sitting there with waters, I said ‘give one of them like fifty bucks and maybe they’ll leave’.So she went like, fifty bucks, fifty bucks, fifty bucks and I saw one girl look over but she didn’t want to offer up her table so I was like ‘Jen, give her a hundred bucks’. So she gave her a hundred bucks and she went off the table so we could have that meeting with David and we uhh, oh shit, we never wanted him to find that out but were so, so excited that we even got that little meeting with him and I remember he came in and he’s such a presence, he sat down and we started talking about Rabid and stuff I was so nervous. So I was like ‘just be polite, he’s such a master, he’s meeting you, he’s in the middle of writing something, he’s very busy’ and he told me and Jen ‘actually you guys are my excuse so I don’t have to work today’ and I was like ‘AAAHH, how cool can you be?!'”

Jen: “He is the most humble, down to earth guy in the world, I always say don’t meet your heroes unless it’s David Cronenberg and Slash. Those are the two mega stars that are the most humble selves and artistic souls, they just want to be around people who love art and it’s so hard for them to be because they’re megastars that no one can really relate to, they’re just cool as fuck!.”

Q3: In your film “Rabid” there were a lot of references to other Horror films that I noticed, they were actually really fun to spot, you certainly wore your influences on your sleeves. Was this done intentionally?

Jen: “Absolutely! Unlike a lot of Horror remakes, instead of saying ‘Oh I;m gonna do my own thing’ I did my own thing but I also celebrated everything that I love and not only were we gonna put in easter eggs to Cronenberg, there’s a bit to Irréversible, there’s a bit to In The Mouth Of Madness, there’s always bits to American Psycho, I mean the cocaine in the bathroom, I can’t help doing American Psycho. I really consider us the fan directors so I want the movie to be a visual treat and some people might say ‘oh it’s too much in love with Cronenberg’ well, fuck off if you don’t like it.”

Sylvia: “HA!”

Q4: The use of colour and style in the film visually beautiful to watch, it had a real Giallo feel to it , again I wondered if that was done intentionally?

Sylvia: “Ever since I saw Suspiria I like to have fun with colour and I go freekin’ nuts over it and when we got Kim Derko who was our DP on this, and we had an all female camera team, like our steady cam, A cam was Tammy Jones who came from Vendetta and then we had Paula Tymchuk as our B cam and it was and everybody was like ‘That’s an all girl camera team, they’re doing the female gaze because they have the female eye!’ And we were talking about the colours and we were like ‘well it’s 1977 but were doing it in 2019 so how can we have that feel but still updated?’ So we had these colour use like we have that eggshell kind of yellow, we have cyan, we have that red. So everytime your in those worlds these are very bright, very vibrant, very alive colours that are bringing you on this journey and every time you see red in this movie something awful is about to happen, that’s why we show up in red catsuits.”

Jen: “The saturated colours is really a staple of the seventies and I really wanted to just bathe it in beautiful colour. Just like American Mary, they said we couldn’t wake a cliterectomy beautiful, we sure proved them wrong! Our colourist was also the incredible Mila Patriki who also coloured The Witch and we told her that we wanted it to be the most beautiful Horror film to look at so she just masterfully delivered.”

Q5: Where did the inspiration to use the fashion industry in the film come from?

Jen: “The films very much like American Mary where it’s an analogy for the film industry and I love the cutting and sowing, Mary cuts and sows flesh, she cuts and sows fabric and fashion is very misunderstood as a feminine ‘mememememe’ kind of career but it’s cut throat as hell and it’s so vicious. Even the most beautiful people in the world don’t think they’re beautiful, even the most beautiful pieces of art are called pieces of shit, they’re made with like Egyptian silk imported, it’s like ‘you guys really have your priorities kind of off”. We also wanted to do a commentary on the class system, we married the medical class system with the fashion class system and how they’re all very elite and the stuff they’re putting money into is really not the right stuff to be putting money into.”

Sylvia: “The fashion was very inspired by Alexander McQueen and we were so lucky, Roger Gingerich who heads fashion week in Canada came over to curate the fashion for us so even the philosophy of transhumanism with this Canadian, so we were like, I wanna show off Canadian designers, and he’s like ‘oh, I know the hottest Canadian designer’. So that’s actually couture everywhere that your seeing and Morgan Tree Newson, she was the costumer on In The Mouth Of Madness and she literally just came out of retirement after working in her own place on this secret collection forever not knowing where it was going, that it was actually going to end up in Rabid. So it was like the movie was already happening in real life.”

Q6: As a wrestling fan myself I have to ask, what was it like working with CM Punk (Phil Brooks) and his wife AJ Mendez?

Sylvia: “Okay, this was a super long time coming. I remember years ago Phil tweeted he was doing a double feature of Dead Hooker and and Hobo With A Shotgun and then when we worked for the company Bray Wyatt told me he’d given American Mary to all the guys because like that’s what they’d do, ‘here, you need to check this movie out’. So by the time we were working on See No Evil 2 he was like ‘Uh, you’re working with Glenn and not me?!’ and then it was Vendetta and it was ‘you’re working with Paul and not me?!’. So as soon as we got this movie we thought, I mean me and Phil have been talking about making a movie and I was like like ‘you’ve got to be in a Horror movie and he was like ‘yeah I totally wanne be’. So we offered him the role of Brad, I mean he was the first actor in through everything, and as we were going through production there like ‘he can’t play Brad anymore’ and we were like ‘dammit!’, so we went ‘Oooh, maybe he could play Billy and he can do all the stunt stuff too’ and he goes ‘oh I hate that guy! and we said ‘well will you play him?’ and he said ‘Yeah!’ And April was so cool, we had to modify the script because originally Rose was a twin and she had a little sister called Tulip and they got mauled by dogs and they went to the Burroughs Clinic and their mum was played by AJ and then whole story line left and then we were like ‘Oh, we gotta put AJ in something’ because she’s so good with attitude so we were like ‘bitchy model, perfect’.”

Jen: “The movie was going to start with this amazing flashback scene where there are two little girls playing baseball and the baseball goes over the fence and they go over there and there’s a stray dog but everyone that looks at the dog is like ‘Oh no, it’s rabid!’ but the girls are like ‘it’s a little dog’ so they let it into the backyard and then they run upto the kitchen open glass door and AJ’s in there on the phone and she’s one of those white wine mums, just totally checked out, and the little girls are like ‘(pounding) Mum, mum, there’s a dog, mum, mum’ and she’s like ‘Shut up’ and she’s on the phone like ‘I’m making dinner go out and play’ and you see the other little twin go and pet the dog and then get ripped off by the dog and you just hear screaming and AJ goes out with the baseball bat and she beats the fucking dog to death ofcourse.”

Sylvia: “That would’ve been epic.”

Jen: “The little twin sees the dog get beaten to death, her sisters face hanging off, mauled and she’s just like ‘(big gasping noise)’ and then it goes pfft – RABID. Nobody knows that’s how it originally opened, it was our nod to Cujo but we had to lose it bit by bit and I was like ‘NOT THE CUJO REFERENCE!'”

Sylvia: “The thing was, everything that was like a twin thing that we wanted to do, we cut out when we had production so we were like ‘only David, only things David would be super, super fascinated and interested in seeing'”

Jen: “Well probably do Dead Ringers one day and get all our twin ya-ya’s out.”

Q7: We also saw a short scene with Stephen Mchattie, I’m a big fan, I was just wondering what he was like to work with?

Jen: “He is such a legend, we actually got him straight off Come To Daddy and he was shooting in VC which is where I used to shoot all my movies but fortunately he was in Toronto and he was just finished, it was a really strong shoot and his wife and his agent said ‘Please, you gotta do it, the girls are great’ and he already liked us and he was like ‘One day, how bad can it be?’ He’s such a presence, he’s so fucking talented, ofcourse he’s off book but the way his voie becomes like another character, it’s amazing! Have you seen Pontypool?”

RMM: “I have”

Jen: “Well there you go.”

Sylvia: “Claude Foisy who did the soundtrack for Pontypool also did the Rabid soundtrack so were doing a total Pontypool thing. Keith Elliott who mixes our sound, is actually in a band with the director of Pontypool. We had a whole Canadian thing, our post supervisor Lorraine Samuel worked on all the Silent Hill movies so we had so many people who we like ‘we did this on this and we had this on this movie’ but what Stephen brought was the doctor who didn’t give a shit. I loved like even when he’s talking to her, and he’s like ‘this is important’, he doesn’t even make eye contact with her and when it’s the mirror he just kinda gives her a look like I’m just gonna walk over here, and your friends here and… later.”

Jen: “I love that it always gets a laugh, ‘we highly recommend staying away from mirrors at this time’. what an asshole thing to say, her face is half off!”

Q8: This was your first remake, if given the choice what other film would you choose to remake, to put your own fingerprints on?

Sylvia: “So Jen and I very desperately want to remake Dead Ringers but swap the genders, make them  proctologists and G.I. Surgeons and we want them played by the Olson twins. Because think about it, the Olson’s weren’t in control of the narrative about them when they were on Full House and it just made them super uncomfortable and now they’ve just gone away from the world and I’m like ‘Olson twins, why don’t you work with me and Jen and we can all make everyone else feel uncomfortable about twins’.”

Jen: “I also wanna remake Altered States as a TV series, I also wanna remake, i not remake do another anthology of The Addams Family because I feel Sylv and I are The Addams Family, we’re weird but really, really nice and you look at us and think ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and I’m like ‘I don’t know but I’m loving life’.”

Q9: So, what’s next for the Soska’s?

Sylvia: “After the film was done we were very lucky to meet up with Martin Katz and Karen Wookey who are David Cronenburg’s producers, so they’re working with us on our next projects. We have a ouple of movies fighting to shoot in January which is insane, it looks like we’re going to be in a movie shooting in November which is double insane and I’m just excited to be creating. It looks like Bob is finally happening.”

RMM: “Finally!”

Sylvia: “I know right?!”

RMM: “I remember interviewing you like, 8 years ago and you were talking about it then.”

Jen: “Oh my God, if I make Bob next year I’m going to be the happiest person in the world because after American Mary we were kind of punished. That scene in Rabid where Chelsea and Rose are talking backstage and she says ‘It’s gonna be your line next Rose, you’re gonna be great’, that’s me and Sylvia talking to each other being like you’re gonna make one of your original film after this, people are gonna look at this remake and be like ‘this was a masterpiece, what do you ladies wanna do?'”

And on that my interview time had ended.

I’d like to thank everyone at Grimmfest for helping make this interview happen and I’d also like to thank the Soska Sisters for being patient and kind with me as this was my first face-to-face interview.

All credit goes to KennethJamesUK for the pictures used here (thank you Kenneth!)

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