Jen and Sylvia Soska
Jen and Sylvia Soska
|Other names||Twisted Twins, The Soska Sisters|
|Occupation||Film directors, producers, screenwriters, actresses|
Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska (born April 29, 1983), also known as The Soska Sisters or The Twisted Twins, are Canadian twin sisters who work together as film directors, producers and screenwriters. They are known for directing often violent and visceral horror movies such as Dead Hooker in a Trunk, See No Evil 2 and American Mary.
Jen and Sylvia Soska were born on their mother's birthday, April 29, in Canada. The twins graduated from Argyle Secondary School. Their love of horror began at an early age, when their mother gave in to their constant begging to watch Poltergeist. They decided to work in the horror movie field soon after, initially trying to become actresses and working as extras in various well known films and television series', but were very unhappy with the stereotypical twin roles they were being offered.
Dead Hooker in a Trunk
Seeking to make themselves marketable for better roles, Jen and Sylvia briefly attended film school and created Dead Hooker in a Trunk as a final project. Dead Hooker in a Trunk was directed, produced, written by and starred the twins. The film was shot for $2,500 and released by IFC. It received an overall rating of 80% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes (4 fresh and 1 rotten review). The twins starred in the film as twin sisters – Badass (Sylvia) and Geek (Jen). Highly inspired by Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without A Crew, the Soskas seemed out El Mariachi star, Carlos Gallardo, to appropriately play a cameo of God in the film.
An absurdist dark satire with horrific violence, Dead Hooker in a Trunk originated as a faux trailer after the sisters were motivated by revenge when the film school they were attending cut the budget for their final project. Disappointed, but not backing down, the sisters wrote, directed, produced, starred in, did the stunts for, location managed, etc. for the final project using a list of items too controversial for school projects as a blue print. They added bestiality and necrophilia for good measure. The reaction was so massive that the Soskas decided to max out their credit cards to turn the trailer into a feature. This was during the writers' strike of 2007.
The film was about a group of outcasts that find the body of a deceased sex worker in the trunk of their car. A hazy memory due to a night of heavy partying, the group is forced to solve the mystery to absolve themselves from the murder before evil forces get to the body first. The film would be rejected from film festivals due to its outrageous title, finally getting its first two debut screenings during the female-focused film festivals of the very first Women in Horror Recognition Month, founded by Hannah Neurotica. After that, the film would go onto cult status, even being banned in Saskatoon, again for its title.
Following their first project, the twins struggled to find work for women in the film industry. Deciding to make films themselves, they created American Mary, and have continued to direct films ever since. American Mary was shown at Film4 Fright Fest, Toronto After Dark Film Festival and Monster Fest, gaining positive reviews and critical acclaim from each festival. They make an appearance in this film, again playing twins known in the canon as The Demon Twins of Berlin.
The film would come from a conversation with Eli Roth who became a friend and mentor after the twins reached out with their first film, DHIAT. The twins were struggling to release their first film and he said to focus on the next one. Him requesting to read the script about a medical student, forced the sisters to write one, taking research from a personal interest in body modification and dealing with the trauma of family illness mixed with the horrors of the pursuit of s career where you are not necessarily welcomed. Even with the script written, their first film and their new film wasn't something anyone felt confident enough to sign onto.
After years of pithing American Mary and not finding success, the twins' parents remortgaged their childhood home to be the first investors in the film. The film would go on the cast Canadian horror icon, Katharine Isabelle, as Mary Mason, Tristan Risk, as Beatress Johnson, Antonio Cupo, as Billy Barker, and David Lovegren, as Dr Grant. It would also mark the first time the Soskas would collaborate with long time partners, Masters FX, who has defined their films with their realest bodies in the business. Wanting to be respectful to the body modification community, the sisters would hire flesh artist, Russ Foxx, as a consultant and to play a role in the film to ensure the authenticity.
American Mary deals with an impoverished medical student named Mary Mason who ends up doing body modification and underground surgeries to pay the bills. The film examines the appearances we put out into the world versus the real intentions underneath.
The film went on to win at Fantastic Fest: Jury Special Award, at Screamfest: Best Makeup & FX, Best Cinematography, Best Actress, Best Director(s), and Best Picture, at Shudderfest: Best Makeup & FX, Best Script, Best Actress, Best Director(s), Best Picture, at Toronto After Dark: Best Cinematography for Brian Pearson, Best Anti-Hero for Mary Mason, Best Director(s), Most Disturbing Film, Best Actress, Best Canadian Feature, at La Samain du Cinema Fantastique: Best Director(s), at BloodGuts Awards 2012: Best Supporting Actress, Best Director(s), and at the Klymkiw Accolades For Cinema In 2012: Best Horror Film, Best Supporting Actress, Best Production Design/Art Direction, Best Costume Design, at Horror Central 2013: Fan's Choice Best Screenplay, Fan's Choice Best Film, at the Rue Morgue 2013 in Review: Most Original Concept, Best New Killer, and at the Fright Meter Awards: Best Screenplay, and Best Actress.
ABCs of Death 2
The sisters directed a segment in ABCs of Death 2 titled T is for Torture Porn and appear in the segment W is for Wish as witches. Their segment T is for Torture Porn stars Tristan Risk, Connor Sweeney (of Astron 6), and Sean Hewlett in a dark satire on abuse in the amateur adult industry. The short follows Yumi as she auditions for an adult film rough sex play scene. The gentlemen are rough, but not as rough as Yumi who is a hentai monster who came for some rough sex of her own. Prosthetics again came from the body horror wizards at Masters FX.
The Soskas would reach out and hire Jill Sixx to codirect the segment's topper, Human Centipede 2 star, Laurence Harvey, commenting about not being able to wank to the disturbing sex clip. The piece from Sixx was so well received that it became the topper to the entire film.
The film was produced by XYZ Films and the twins' segment was banned in Germany.
See No Evil 2
Jen and Sylvia Soska made two films for WWE Studios: See No Evil 2 and Vendetta. See No Evil 2 stars Danielle Harris, Glenn 'Kane' Jacobs, Kaj Erik-Eriksen, Chelan Simmons and had the twins reteam with Katharine Isabelle. Avid fans of professional wrestling, the Soskas were hired to resurrect the franchise after a six yer hiatus. Fresh off of the success of American Mary, the twins wanted to show that they could work within the studio system while still creating their own unique brand of horror. The film would be one of the most successful films from WWE Studios and the film to introduce the Soska Sisters to an even bigger audience than ever before.
Shot in beautiful British Columbia, the sequel takes place directly after the events of the first film when the body of Jacob Goodnight and all of his victims are brought to a morgue to be processed. Morgue workers have their evening routine doubt interrupted when Amy's friends decide to crash her work for a surprise birthday party. All hell breaks loose when the party lethally discovers that Jacob Goodnight is not dead!
Makeup and FX by Masters FX who recreate an iconic look for the villain supported by a haunting soundtrack from the Newton Brothers. High action violence kill sequences with multiple nightmarish beats all coordinated by Kimani Smith.
Kicking off the Lionsgate and WWE Studios Action Six Pack, was the Soska Sisters' first action film - a brutal, bloody revenge flick penned by Justin Shady called Vendetta. The film would star Dean Cain as Mason Danvers who goes into prison after the man (played by Paul 'Big Show' Wight) who killed his wife. The film has an all star Canadian cast including Adrian Holmes, Ben Hollingsworth, Michael Eklund, Garfield Wilson, Jonathan Walker, and Dee Jay Jackson.
Reteaming for stunts coordinated by Kimani Smith, Vendetta marked the very first clear genre jump for the Soska Sisters. A brutal fifteen day schedule with at least one coordinated fight sequence a day, a script that begins with a shoot out, followed by a brutal beating, then ends with a prison riot - the teams worked extensively to not miss a beat of action within their tight schedule. The film wrapped half a day early and showed another side of the twins' work, a project that focused on the struggles of men in horrible situations, proving that they had a skill with dark character pieces regardless of gender.
There have been rumours from the cast and the directors that a Vendetta 2 is something they are all very much interested in. The first film ended on a cliff hanger with Mason telling the man behind all the corruption in the prison that he will see him soon. The brothers killed by Mason now have a grieving mother out for revenge. Not much more is known about the project, but it is assumed to take place after Mason fishies serving his sentence for his crimes.
As of 2018, the Soskas are co-writing and directing Rabid, a remake of David Cronenberg's 1977 film of the same name, starring Laura Vandervoort and former professional wrestler CM Punk. The film is set for a theatrical release in 2019. Avid fans of David Cronenberg's work, the Soskas set out to make a film that would please their Canadian idol. The sisters hired cast and crew from Cronenberg's previous films as well as a team with a huge resume of creating iconic horror. They would team again with Masters FX having Steve Kostanski coming on board to be their head creature designer on the piece. A film that focuses on the fashion world, it was with costume designer Morganne Tree Newson and Roger Gingerich of Canadian Fashion week to create the prolific designs seen in the film. Lauro Lash Chartrand was the stunt coordinator for the high action sequences throughout the film.
The film has dubbed 'Cronenberg wear couture.' The film follows Rose Miller (Laura Vandervoort) as an aspiring designer at the Haus of Gunter. Damaged mentally & physically from her past, her luck turns for the worst when humiliation at a work function causes her to get into a horrific accident leaving her lower jaw ravaged. An experimental healing medical facility lead by the enigmatic, Dr Burroughs (Ted Atherton), reaches out to heal her in exchange for the data they need to continue their research. Everything seems to be a dream come true until Rose starts have vivid nightmares about drinking blood and transforming into a monster. Are these hallucinations a side effect of her cure or is something much more sinister happening under the surface.
Rabid had its World Premiere at the 20th Annual Fright Fest in London on its closing night. It would go on to play film festivals throughout Europe leading up to the 101 Films October 7, 2019, Blu-ray release. The North American Premiere would happen October 15 in LA at Screamfest following the announcement that Shout! Factory would be releasing the film theatrically and on VOD December 13, 2019.
Alongside making cameo appearances in their own films, the twins have cameoed in Suburban Gothic, Dead Rising: Watchtower, and The Blackburn Asylum.
Jen and Sylvia Soska are passionate about raising awareness for blood donation causes, and curate a new blood donation PSA anthology for Women in Horror Month every year. As of 2019, they will have been making their Massive Blood Drive PSAs for ten years. As a celebration for their tenth year, the Soskas teamed with Terror Threads with a design that would have partial proceeds split between Canadian Blood Services and the Red Cross.
Jen and Sylvia have also worked as writers for Marvel Comics, writing a story featuring Night Nurse for Marvel's Secret Wars Journal #5 in 2015, then a short story called The Ripley with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and a Deadpool story for the first annual Avengers Halloween Special in 2018. In January 2019, the Soska Sisters started writing Black Widow for Marvel with illustrator, Flaviano, where they took Nat on one of her darkest storylines after her death in a series called 'Seeing Red.'
In 2018, Jen and Sylvia have teamed with Daniel Way and Rob Dumo as writers for an original graphic novel entitled Kill-Crazy Nymphos Attack!, featuring the sisters' likenesses in two characters called The Sister Sisters.
The twins were also the hosts of both seasons of the Blumhouse-produced Hellevator on GSN. They appear as themselves in horror documentaries as well as Eli Roth's History of Horror which aired October 2018.
The Soska Sisters are fans of Grindhouse cinema, and are influenced by directors Robert Rodriguez, Mary Harron, David Cronenberg, Sam Raimi, Wes Craven, and Eli Roth, who helped inspire them to make their film American Mary. When the twins were chosen to be the first directors to remake a Cronenberg film, they reached out again to Mary Harron who would support the film creatively, even giving notes for the final edit. The twins cite Alfred Hitchcock as an influence; they appear in all their films and have a tendency to kill off blonde females in their scripts, quoting the famous filmmaker "blondes make the best victims."
The twins have been referred to as the Cohen Brothers with Elvira's personality. The sisters grew up with an appreciation for the arts. Jennifer was a part of the Artists for Kids elementary school program where students where paired with artists to develop their gifts. The twins would start acting at the age of seven because of the popularity of the Olsen twins. They grew up watching horror movies & reading Stephen King novels with their mother which is where they got their wicked senses of humour. Their father is a small business owner who instead of allowance, gave the girls shifts at his graphic arts company so they could learn the concept of working for your money at a young age.
|2001||Josie and the Pussycats|
|2009||Dead Hooker in a Trunk|
|2014||ABCs of Death 2|
|2014||See No Evil 2|
|2015||Dead Rising: Watchtower|
|2008||Kyle XY||"I've Had the Time of My Life"|
- Leiren-Young, Mark. "Vancouver's Soska Sisters bring the madness to Whistler Film Festival". Canada.com. Archived from the original on 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- "Twisted sisters stick the knife into their latest film American Mary". if.com.au. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
- Torrevillas, Phylicia. "Call them the twisted sisters". Metro Vancouver. Archived from the original on 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- Whittington, James. "Exclusive Interview With Jen And Sylvia Soska, Directors Of Dead Hooker In A Trunk". Horror Channel. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- Christie, Greg. "Boozie Movies! Dead Hooker in a Trunk Review". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "IFC Midnight Picks Up Dead Hooker in a Trunk for Limited Theatrical and VOD Release". Joblo.com. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "Bloody Disgusting". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "Film Review: Dead Hooker In A Trunk". Brutalashell.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "Rants and Raves". KPBS. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- Jett, Kristy. "Soska Sister talks "AMERICAN MARY" casting and more". Fangoria. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- "American Mary". Dread Central. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- Freville, Bob. "Soska Twins Talk About Ass-Kicking, Hookers & American Mary". Kotorimagazine.com. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- Rose, Steve (11 January 2013). "The Soska sisters are the new faces of horror". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "About Us". Twisted Twins Productions. 2011. Archived from the original on 5 October 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "Dead Hooker in a Trunk". Rotten Tomatoes. 2009-12-31. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
- "Sylvia Soska - Biography". imdb.com. 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "American Mary". Rotten Tomatoes. 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
- "Vendetta". Rotten Tomatoes. 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2015-10-14.