Archive for Dead Hooker in a Trunk

Women in Horror Month 666: Top 6 Fierce Females of Recent Horror.

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

February means one thing for the female horror fan and no it’s not Valentine’s Day! Although if you’d like to get me a fresh, warm, bloody beating heart or a bouquet of red roses, I’m not complaining! (Just Kidding!). It’s the sixth annual Women in Horror Recognition Month. The cause began as a way to reflect and promote female talent within the genre and give support to various groups in horror who are under-represented mainly relating to race and gender and on the whole both together. Horror has been a male-dominated genre for decades and for a long time the traditional horror heroine came in the shape of the all-American white girl. While we’re not completely there yet, things have started to change; we have a range of female directors showcasing their bloodthirsty visions on screen as well as more dynamic roles being created for women in modern horror.

1455953_10153385250050558_6158865889426852646_n

You can’t really discuss Women in Horror Month without mentioning the twisted twins Jen and Sylvia Soska who have inspired a new generation of female filmmakers and fans alike. Most recently they teamed up with WWE Studios to create the sequel to See No Evil, and just completed their second collaboration with WWE with the action film Vendetta, proving they can take on any genre! 2014 saw Australian director Jennifer Kent gain well-deserved success on her terrifying and unique addition to the genre, The Babadook. All-rounder Jessica Cameron debuted her first directorial effort, inspired by Dead Hooker in a Trunk, titled Truth or Dare which I’m told is incredibly twisted and violent! On the short film circuit, Jill Sixx Gevargizian has recently garnered attention for Call Girl, a menacing little piece that’s interestingly shot, starring Tristan Risk and Laurence R Harvey, and in 2013 Isabel Peppard created an innovative and beautiful stop-motion animation titled Butterflies which was most recently screened at Australia’s Monster Fest. A groundbreaking all female anthology is also on its way, the eagerly anticipated XX that’ll feature segments from Jennifer Chambers Lynch and Mary Harron to name a few.

1466215_10152563532356356_9055160002352791423_n

For more information on Women in Horror Month 2015, visit Hannah Neurotica’s wonderful website: http://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/ which includes AxWound, a blog dedicated to gender and horror. Its a great way to look out for talented women working in the genre today, including an interview with award-winning actress, director and artist Gigi Saul Guerrero. Take a look at the Massive Blood Drive PSA where several of the above names have created short segments to encourage blood donation. This year has proven to be an awesome collection of twisted gender-bending and goreific effects:

As a female horror fan there have been plenty of strong women characters in place over the years to identify with, problematically they have all been created by men and if you agree with Carol Clover’s theory their purpose is to provide an outlet for a male audience which links to iconic characters such as Laurie Strode or Ripley. There are so many ways in which horror needs to move forward and this is just the beginning, we need to see horror movies with a diverse range of strong female heroines of all ethnicities and backgrounds. Genre women are beginning to find their voice and despite the obstacles and challenges we must continue to support this movement so these voices continue to be heard.

10413430_10152537946471356_368260442990664956_n

As a dedicated horror fan and reviewer my contribution to raising awareness for women in horror is a countdown of some of the most intriguing and dynamic characters from films all over the world to have emerged from the genre over this past year. This is a look at the well-written and developed characters that made the top titles of 2014 the most talked about horror films. Will they become future genre icons? There’s a strong possibility and here’s why…

WARNING: There will be some spoilers. 

  1. Amelia, The Babadook, Portrayed By Essie Davis.

images

While she may not be the most glamorous of characters, single mother Amelia is an unforgettable force that drives the terror in the critically-acclaimed, The Babadook. Suffering from terrible nightmares re-living the tragic night of her husband’s death and the birth of son Samuel, Amelia struggles to hold down her job, care for her boy as well as deal with snide comments from fellow mothers. Amelia is a fragile character, which is interesting in terms of this expectation where lead females in horror have to be strong and kick ass. There’s most definitely a human quality about her as she’s written with honesty and realism which then corresponds wonderfully in how she copes with the threat of the ‘monster under the bed’ trope. For those of you who have seen the film, you’ll know that with Amelia there is more than meets the eye. For a seemingly ordinary character there is much more to her than first imagined.

 

  1. Kylie Bucknell, Housebound, Portrayed By Morgana O’Reilly

housebound3

Twenty-something tearaway Kylie Bucknell is an unlikely heroine in Richard Johnstone’s highly entertaining horror/comedy Housebound. Moody, cynical and antagonistic, Kylie is the opposite of the traditional lead female protagonist in terms of likability. She isn’t best pleased to be put under house arrest after she is caught robbing an ATM machine. What makes matters worse is she is forced back under the same roof as her overbearing, yet well-intentioned mother who has her suspicions that their house must be haunted. Johnstone claimed he wanted to create a leading lady that ‘wouldn’t scare easily’ which works perfectly as along with Kylie the audience is able to remain as sceptical as she is until further developments are revealed over the course of the film. There is certainly something different about her, she’s frustrating yet endearing to a degree. Her characterisation comes full circle as she shows she isn’t afraid to take risks and proves to be resourceful when it comes to saving the day.

 

  1. Anna Peterson, The Guest, Portrayed By Maika Monroe

download

Anna is the only daughter of the grief-stricken Peterson family, the subjects of Adam Wingard’s fantastical love letter to 80’s action flicks, The Guest. Smart and sophisticated, Anna is one step ahead of her family in figuring out there is something darker at play when it comes to their mysterious new house guest, David who claims to have fought alongside their deceased son in war. Incredibly stylish with an awesome taste in music, Anna is no fool and will do what it takes to survive and protect her family even if it means taking on an unstoppable force in the shape of experiment-gone-horribly wrong David. Anna carefully researches who she’s up against, aligning her facts before facing confrontation. On the whole she is just an average girl in an extraordinary situation however manages to outlive a number of armed military men! Anna is The Guest’s standout female character and a surprising survivor.

 

  1. Louise, Spring, Portrayed By Nadia Hilker

spring-movie

Beautiful, mystical and enchanting, Louise is the core female character in the most romantic genre film of the year. She captures the heart of protagonist Evan in the idyllic Italian setting. Louise harbours a dark secret that threatens their entire romance but also enhances the vulnerability behind the confident exterior she projects. Louise is charismatic, charming and fun but also enigmatic and fearful. She has a naturalistic quality to her under the monster movie metaphor as she represents the fears and anxieties of beginning a new relationship and having that jeopardised if the other person was to discover something ‘different’ about the person they’re with. At times she comes across as a lonely creature that holds herself back but at the same she has a lot to offer. Louise is a captivating yet complex character and unique within her own mythology (you’ll have to watch the film to find out more!).

 

  1. Amy, See No Evil 2, Portrayed by Danielle Harris

safe_image

If you read my review of the Soska’s most recent feature See No Evil 2, you’ll be aware I wasn’t 100% sold on the film. Its redeeming feature for me was Scream Queen Danielle Harris’s portrayal of morgue attendant Amy. Amy is forced to cancel her birthday plans when a number of blood-soaked bodies slaughtered by serial killer Jacob Goodnight arrive at the hospital causing her to become stuck on the graveyard shift. Her loyal friends subsequently bring the party to her, unknowingly offering up fresh victims to the not-so-dead killer. In typical post-modern slasher style, Amy has been written with depth, allowing the audience to empathize and root for her as we should for a traditional final girl. What makes Amy all the more heartbreaking is her view on life and reasons for working in the morgue instead of chasing her ambitions as well as the unexpected twist on the character making her part in the film all the more meaningful. Amy is See No Evil 2’s saving grace, strong, intelligent and endearing, there’s a reason Danielle Harris is the ‘final girl’ because she plays roles like this incredibly well.

 

  1. Eva Sanchez, The Purge: Anarchy, Portrayed By Carmen Ejogo

maxresdefault

A character unaware of her full potential until her whole world is thrown into chaos. Eva Sanchez is a hard worker, trying to get by and earn whatever little money she can to provide for her ill father and teenage daughter. After her father offers himself up for purging to the wealthy in order to pull his family out of debt, Eva locks down her apartment and hopes that she and her daughter make it through the night. However when a scorned enemy breaks in and attempts to murder them, Eva and Cali are thrust out onto the streets. Luckily they join forces with a mysterious protector named Frank who has a hidden agenda, followed by a young couple also caught up in the anarchy when their car is jacked. Eva proves headstrong and somewhat of a leader as she works along with Frank to ensure the groups safety. Eva is compassionate and fierce; she comes to realize her true strength when faced with a harrowing ordeal.

Do you agree with my choices, are there any other kick ass females of recent movies that should have made the list? Feel free to comment below or tweet me on @hayleyr1989.

As a special extra, here’s something a little Nasty from the Ghostface Girls:

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Advertisements

See No Evil 2 (2014)

Posted in Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS**

Earlier this year I discussed which genre films I was eager to see in 2014 and anything with the Soska name on it was most definitely going to appeal. Twisted Twins Jen and Sylvia have brought something groundbreaking to a male-dominated genre with their unique and versatile films, Dead Hooker in a Trunk (a love letter to Grindhouse and proof of what you can accomplish on a low-budget) and of course the beloved American Mary, the darkly stylish, character-focused and empowered 2012 hit. Since then the Twisted Twins have been hot property on the horror scene and fans around the world anticipated their next project. When it was first announced that they would be collaborating with WWE studios on a sequel to a forgettable 2006 slasher, See No Evil the scepticism set in. Working within the confines of a studio would place restrictions on the twins creatively dark minds, however one thing’s for certain, their take on See No Evil would be far superior than the original.

download

Prior to watching Jacob Goodnight’s latest slasher outing, I decided to check out the 2006 instalment for background as admittedly I hadn’t heard of the film until the sequel was announced. See No Evil is arguably one of the laziest slasher films ever created. It came at a time when the horror genre was dominated by extreme, shock cinema most popularly Saw and Hostel. While there’s nothing wrong with taking a stab at the sub-genre much like Adam Green successfully achieved with Hatchet, See No Evil added nothing. Its story is flimsy to non-existent, its poorly acted and Jacob Goodnight (played by WWE Superstar Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs) can’t be taken seriously as a villain, especially with the bits of dialogue he gets that comes off as unintentionally hammy. Kane comes across as a really awesome guy but there isn’t much material he could really work with. Clearly all that was expected was for him to emulate a Jason Voorhees type-monster because its proved successful in the past. See No Evil was as if Friday the 13th met Carrie in a really bad way and let’s not forget the cartoonish CGI effects. When going in to the first one, I had been pre-warned that its as generic as they come however I didn’t expect it to get my back up as much as it did. Therefore, it was certainly going to be interesting to see how Jen and Sylvia would improve on what can be described as a tedious and poorly-executed film.

See No Evil (2006)

See No Evil (2006)

The result:  What’s most striking about the sequel is how flawless the cinematography and direction is, the twins demonstrate their love and appreciation for the genre as well as blending in the stylishness of American Mary, especially in the wonderfully constructed opening sequence which is a true treat for fans. Visually the film has a certain edge about it, there’s some excellent performances on show and some chilling, unexpected moments but despite this, I wasn’t entirely sold on the film which partially could be down to high expectations from two of my favourite female filmmakers and dismissing the fact that they didn’t have full creative control as with their previous projects. Or maybe because I wasn’t a fan of the first one this was also unlikely strike a chord.

seenoevil

See No Evil 2 picks up literally where the first one left off. Jacob Goodnight and the bodies of his unfortunate victims are rushed to the morgue following the bloodbath at the Blackwell hotel. Amy (Danielle Harris) is then forced to abandon her birthday plans and deal with the aftermath of Jacob’s massacre. Her friends decide to bring the party to her, their a quirky group who get more than they bargained for when a few drinks turns into a fight for their lives after Jacob mysteriously wake’s up ready to slaughter all over again!

The morgue setting is a great choice, its dark, confined and death is everywhere, Jacob has a string of different weapons at his disposal as the latest bunch of characters attempt to run and hide! In this sense the film really does show a glimmer of promise.

968full-see-no-evil-2-screenshot

While See No Evil 2 is an improvement on the first, some of the same problems remain in the sense of it being generic and a million miles away from what the Soska’s are truly capable of. The characters have very little to offer and are stereotypical to the point that they could be found in any slasher movie. There were suggestions in the trailer that this would probably be some kind of satirical commentary on typical slasher films and that it would potentially push the boundaries due to the Katharine Isabelle dry humping Kane’s body scene. But sadly it is what it is, a conventional slasher made to cash in on the genre, a financial boost for WWE. As its so formulaic, by the time the film challenges what its set up, it comes in too late.

safe_image

With that said, seasoned Scream Queen Danielle Harris is phenomenal as Amy, she’s a character we care for and the twist on her final girl status is interesting. Amy is the only real character is written with any depth with the others as throwaway. Harris of course shows us why she is incredible at the leading female role. Kaj-Erik Eriksen is sympathetic as love interest and co-worker Seth, probably the nicest character in the film, which is again superior to the original as there wasn’t one likeable character in it. Katharine Isabelle plays Tamara vastly different from Mary Mason which proves her talent as an actress. She clearly has a lot of fun with the role as its completely over the top but for me that was to the point of obnoxiousness. Tamara is similar to Gibb, Isabelle’s ‘party girl’ role in 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason but a bit more kinky and twisted, its a shame that wasn’t expanded on some more.

The whole premise of See No Evil 2 and the original does just feel senseless. Its a forced plot with a generic killer. There’s attempts at ‘humanizing’ Jacob but he’s just too underdeveloped for that. The repressed ‘mummy issues’ as a motive has been done to the death . There’s something about it that feels rushed and not thought through very well. Its a shame the twins didn’t get the opportunity to write it as we could be seeing a much greater film. Seeing them work with another screenwriters script is interesting. Their signature style is there but the content itself doesn’t match up to it.

Twisted-Twins-2

The disappointment is that I really wanted to like this a lot. Jen and Sylvia Soska are incredibly talented people and idols to women within the genre and fans of the genre alike. It just seems that they are worth more than a run-of-the-mill slasher. See No Evil 2 is wholeheartedly better than the original and its clear a great deal of effort was put in this time round but its fair to say Jacob Goodnight should really say Good Night!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

“From Grindhouse to Body Modification”: An Interview with the Twisted Twins, Jen and Sylvia Soska.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Canadian writers and directors Jen and Sylvia Soska are known as the Twisted Twins among the horror circuit. Their debut release “Dead Hooker in a Trunk” (2009) was hugely successful as an appreciation to grindhouse cinema; but for their second feature “American Mary” they have gone for a different approach dealing with the fascinating world of underground surgery and body modification. These talented twins have brought a unique and stylish vision to modern, horror film-making and encourage others to get out there and create something that inspires you! In this detailed interview Jen and Sylvia discuss their approaches to film-making, how they dealt with representing a serious subject for their latest film, fan appreciation, Cannes, feminism, influences of Asian and European cinema, doing their own stunts and much more!

The Twisted Twins recreate a famous scene from “The Shining”, Stephen King was an early inspiration for them.

1.       Can you tell us a little bit about your new film “American Mary”?

S: The film follows medical student, Mary Mason played by Katharine Isabelle, as she grows increasingly broke and disenchanted by medical school and the surgeons she once admired. The allure of easy money and notoriety sends her into the messy world of underground surgeries that leaves more marks on Mary than her so-called ‘freakish’ clientele. I was first introduced to body modification when someone was trying to scare me. It lead me to do what I always do when scared, obsess until I know as much as I can about it – because fears are just stemmed from a lack of knowledge. Instead of differences, I found a lot in common with the people in the community and I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to collaborate with these individuals for AMERICAN MARY.

J: The film itself is very haunting and disturbing, but in a beautiful sort of way. In many ways, stylistically, it is the polar opposite of DHIAT. DEAD HOOKER was very grindhouse and spontaneous while MARY is deliberate and deep. There is depth in the story and the characters. It also deals with the matter of appearances and what makes a monster. I’ve found that in life appearances are very misleading and often the ones in society that come off as good or worthy of trust are anything but, while those who appear a little different and perhaps a little darker aren’t the ones you should be watching out for. We’ve always felt like outcasts ourselves and being identical twins we often have to battle against the stereotypes of what people expect us to be. MARY does question one’s perceptions of right and wrong and good and evil in a very unique way.

2.       Would you say there are similarities between “AM” and your debut release “Dead Hooker in a Trunk?”

S: We try to write something that entertains and means something to us and has something personal in it. MARY is much more personal than DEAD HOOKER as it is an analogy of our time in the film industry, but the dark sense of humour, language, and content is the same. We took a fair bit of shit from some people reviewing DEAD HOOKER in regards to the camera work, characters, and story – all those things were a principle focus on MARY. HOOKER was a love letter to grind house filmmaking whereas MARY is hugely inspired by European and Asian horror filmmaking.

J: We put ourselves into our work so there will always be similarities between our films regardless of the content and the genre. I don’t think it’s possible for us to write something without elements of horror and humor, two things that we find go beautifully together. There’s nothing like giving your audience a little breath or an awkward laugh when things get a bit too heavy and dark. I’m pretty desensitized to the horror we put into our films so I can lose touch with how extreme some aspects of it can be. Like the extreme moments in DHIAT, there are some very disturbing moments in MARY. And we enjoy writing strong female characters. It was something that we felt was really lacking when we were acting and we try to write the kind of roles we would have liked to be offered to us.

3.       What was the most rewarding part of making the film?

S: The audience reaction to the film is what I live for. It’s also extremely stressful and nerve-racking because you never know how people will react to your film. I felt like I was on the verge of being sick up til the worldwide market premiere screening of AMERICAN MARY at the Cannes market. The audience, excluding one woman who ran out for content reasons, really dug the flick and it was cool to see them laugh and cringe – it makes everything worth it.

J: Definitely the audience reactions. We are horror fans ourselves and we try to make the kind of work that we’d like to see. We’ll always make our films with the fans in mind. Another wonderful thing about this film in particular is acceptance and challenging people’s views on those society deems outcasts. I think this film will open a healthy discussion about body modification and challenge the reasons why it is not universally seen as acceptable while “cosmetic surgery” is. I see no difference between the two accept for the fact that cosmetic surgery is largely used for people to fit into society’s idea of what is perceived as beautiful whereas body modification caters to enhancing one’s own ideal of beauty and individuality.

4.       The film’s theme depicts a world of underground surgery, what sort of research did you have to do in order to portray this?

S: It’s very important to Jen and me to have honesty in our work, it makes it more relatable even in a fantastical situation like filmmaking. The underground surgeries, the procedures and body modification community is very real. They don’t stop being who they are after the film is finished and given that this is one of the first films, if not the first feature film, to put that culture into the spotlight, we wanted to properly represent them. I think too often people make judgements without really looking into what or who they are talking about and I didn’t want that to happen in this situation.

We brought members of the community onto the production. Russ Foxx was our flesh artist consultant and him and Katie went through different techniques to keep it genuine. We mixed the phenomenal prosthetics from the Masters FX team with authentic members of the body mod community, so you’re never really sure if you’re seeing something real or something created. From my experience, I’m a huge fan of the body mod community and the people in that community. I think the film is going to change a lot of people’s ideas of what these people are actually like.

J: We wouldn’t be able to write something without researching it heavily. We spoke to the community and I’ve had so many conversations with Russ Foxx, who was wonderful. I felt like a bit of an idiot with the things I’d ask about, but he was always a gentleman, occasionally reacting with a little laugh, and always a deep, thoughtful explanation.

5.       You’ve recently taken “AM” to the Cannes Film Festival, how was it received there?

S: I felt absolutely spoiled by the audience’s reaction to the film. It was extremely well received. At a market screening, you’re up against official festival selections and a lot of your audience are buyers that watch ten minutes of a film before rushing to another screening, audiences rarely react the way a festival audience would. I was prepared for that, but it wasn’t what we got. What we got was a packed room with a responsive audience that sat even through the credits and stuck around late into the night with us, talking about the film. One woman got up and hurried out shaking her head at a scene that I call radical feminism, like a bra burning to the nth degree, but I don’t think she would agree with me.

J: It was more than we had hoped for and more than we had expected. AM had her world wide market premiere at the festival and traditionally those are lightly attended with little focus on the film and frequently have people coming and going. It’s vastly different from a festival screening where you have the benefit of fans being in attendance. We had a full audience and people laughed and groaned and whispered excitedly. It was incredible. I felt so humbled to be there. ha ha, and they even laughed at our bilingual jokes. I was all like, “how’d they know what he said without subtitles? Oh, yeah, we’re in Europe, ha ha.”

At the Cannes Film Festival with the Abertoir Festival Organisers.

6.       What’s coming up next for the film, will it be going around the horror festival circuit?

S: Next will be the film’s official in festival film festival screenings. We are still waiting confirmation before we can announce it, but we are hoping to start towards the end of the summer. I’m very excited to see how people react to the film because it is so different.

J: We’ll definitely be hitting the film festival circuit as we’re dying to show the film to the fans. We can’t say where it’ll have its official festival premiere just yet, but look for it towards the end of the summer. And don’t worry. When we can say, we will say. Loud. There’s no chance you’ll miss hearing about it, ha ha

7.       What’s the main appeal of making horror films?

S: It’s funny because we never set out to make a horror film. We love horror films, we grew up on them, and love prosthetics as that’s what really got us into our horror love. Knowing that everything you see on screen is a collaborative effort with the intention of scaring the audience was something that my mom taught me when I was ten and freaked out by POLTERGEIST. We made DEAD HOOKER as an anti-chick flick road trip movie. We had some pretty serious gore and stunts in there which made it more of a cult-style horror. Then, when we started writing AMERICAN MARY, we planned on making it a more ‘straight forward’ horror and it just ended up taking this life of its own. Sometimes horrible things happen and the best way I can deal with that is if I put it into a script, then I have control over that situation. It’s not that horror films are the only kind of film that I am interested in making, I just don’t know if I would make a story without prosthetics and something horrific.

J: We’ve been drawn to horror our entire lives. I’m not sure if it’s the thrill of it or the ability to watch a horror movie or read a horror story and come closer to darkness and evil and danger than you ever could in your real life and be able to walk away completely unscathed at the end of it. Or it could be that whole “you’re not supposed to” aspect of it. Horror is bad. Stay away from it. The more people hear “no”, the more they are naturally drawn towards the forbidden. It’s like a morbid curiosity or fascination. Fear is a learned emotion. If your mother jumped on a chair and screamed like crazy every time she saw a spider, you would have sub consciously learned to be afraid of them. We were fortunate enough to be raised with a mother who let us watch scary movies and read Stephen King novels at an early age. I highly recommend it. It’s great to vastly improve your reading level at an early age. We were never discouraged from our love of the strange and unusual. I’ve always felt that we, ourselves, are strange and unusual.

8.       Who would you say your main influences are in terms of directors and style?

S: Robert Rodriguez and Carlos Gallardo were a huge influence on us and what really got us to make DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. Also, the directors behind the multi-collaborative GRINDHOUSE had a bug influence on us. If it wasn’t for that film, I don’t think we would be where we are today – it came a perfect time when we needed to feel excited about making movies, enough to make our own. A lot of AMERICAN MARY is influenced by European and Asian cinema and directors like Lars Von Trier, David Cronenberg, Takeshi Miike, Yoshihiro Nishimaru, and Clive Barker.

J: Everyone that Sylv just listed. We are die hard comic nerds and gamers so we’ve taken inspiration from Stan Lee and Hideo Kojima. Another director I adore is Joss Whedon. His writing is superb, his characters are unique and iconic. His dialogue is phenomenal and he writes these beautiful story lines that unfold in the most rewarding of ways. His character interaction is flawless.

9.       What’s the best part about collaborating with each other on your projects?

S: I feel really lucky to have Jen. We’ve been best friends our entire lives and we work together like it’s second nature because it is. We joke that Jen is the Joss Whedon because of how she writes and how funny she is and that I’m the Lars Von Trier because I put scarring shit in everything. Somehow, even though we are totally different, we really compliment her. I don’t know how I could work without her. We break down scripts together, then scenes, then tag team write – one of us plays video games while the other types. Either gets blocked or stuck, we swap out, and the other goes over what was written and tweaks. It’s a lot of fun. We also have different focuses on set for the same goal, so we divide and conquer which I always think must be a little confusing for the cast and crew because we look alike.

J: Sylv is an amazing writing, director, and artist. People ask us what it’s like to work with one another and I honestly don’t know how people do it alone. We could work separately, but why would we want to? We can cut our tasks in two and divide and conquer or come together to really tackle something head on. Sylv is very driven, passionate about her work, and has this incredible dark and creative mind. We’re as similar as we are different. I often say we always end up at the same place, but we take very different paths to get there. I’ve read so much about writers endlessly hunting for writing partners. I’m blessed that I was born with one.

10.   You’ve both trained in martial arts and are able to do all your own stunts in your films, is that a lot of fun to do? And what challenges does it present?

S: I love martial arts and doing my own stunt work. On the teaser trailer for DEAD HOOKER, we did all of our own stunts and I got a little injured. Our original Cowboy Pimp thought I was a cunt and wanted to teach me a lesson, so he booked it for my horse drag and I lost a few inches of skin. When you have a feature and lots of scenes to shoot in a short period of time, you can risk any injury, so we still did a lot of our own work, but I had this brilliant stunt performer, Maja Stace-Smith, do the horse drag and the double kick in that fight. She doesn’t get enough credit – she is a real super woman.

J: Oh, we love martial arts and stunts! We have so much respect for the professionals that do it. We get pretty excited about it, but we try to not have our excitement suggest that we don’t have a lot of respect for the challenges and risks involved. For us, a new challenge is getting the okay to still do our own stunts. People worry and say “what if something happens to you?”. That’s kind of ignorant, actually. Anytime a stunt professional works, they are risking their safety and often their lives. I understand the risks involved and I would never ever attempt to do anything of that sort without trained professionals preparing me and being present.

And doing stunts is really a thrill. It’s a rush, that’s undeniable. It’s like doing martial arts and sparring. You just get this amazing rush and it’s wonderful. I’ve wanted to be a superhero as far back as I can remember. It makes me feel like I am.

11.   So, what’s next for the Soska Sisters? Have you got any future projects coming up?

S: I’m really excited for what we have coming up. We’re very proud of our hometown, Vancouver, and are teaming up with the Rio Theatre, who were the ones to screen DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK, to have monthly horror nights which includes horror burlesque shows with Tristan Risk, one of our stars from AMERICAN MARY, and Russ Foxx, whose human tackle box shows are like a cenobite’s wet dream, with us hosting. We are also looking to get to work on the next film soon. We have some very cool opportunities not only with our own scripts but bringing some people’s work that we greatly admire to a big screen adaptation.

J: We have a lot of interest in our “next one”. At this point, it’s tough to tell what it’ll be. We have several scripts ready to go, but we’ve been talking about directing someone else’s work, which is pretty cool. You can expect whatever it is that we’ll have our horror and humor elements in there. We want to have our next one started by year end. I’d really love to do BOB. It’s a script we wanted to get going before MARY, but she’s an undeniable lady. She wanted to be made and she is really relevant to right now. I feel BOB is the same. It’s a blend between the styles of DHIAT and MARY. It’s as vicious as it is hilarious. And, of course, very unique.

12.   Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers who want to become involved in the horror genre?

S: I would say that you should just do it. You have all the resources in the world, accessible technology, you can shoot on digital inexpensively, and you can learn from your favourite filmmakers through DVD commentary, books, interviews, and even speak to some directly online to learn how to pull it off. Rodriguez’s first hand account of EL MARIACHI, ‘Rebel Without A Crew’, was our Bible on DEAD HOOKER. Lloyd Kaufman’s ‘Make Your Own Damn Movie’ series is awesome. Learn as much as you can, make a project that means something to you, that is different, and that you don’t mind dedicating the next few years of your life to, and make it. Too many people wait for an opportunity to live their dream, we wasted years waiting for ours, so we got a killer group together with the same passion for filmmaking and made ours. As long as you stay focused and work your ass off, you will be successful.

J: Go make a movie, don’t just talk about it. Is it scary? Abso-fucking-lutely. But that’s part of the fun of it. You will never learn as much from reading about it or film school as you will from actually going out there and doing it for yourself. And at the end of it, you’ll have a movie that’s yours. I’d recommend watching a lot of movies. Sylv and I watch something new every day. Start with your heroes that inspire you and then try to see why their work is so good. Is it the way they use music? Is it the editing choices? Is it the framing? Is it the dialogue? The characters? And do the same thing with anything and everything you watch. You can learn more from a shitty movie than a good movie. Try to see where it became a bad movie and why so you can avoid doing that in the future.

And never use the excuse that “we didn’t have enough time” or “we didn’t have enough money”. If something sucks, don’t use it. No one cares why it sucks, they just see that it sucks. Pool your resources. Make a list of things you have available to you from locations (a business, an apartment, a church, a community hall) to props to cool things that will make your film stand out from the rest (an exotic animal, a classic car, anything unique). You’ll be surprised by how much you have available to you. Think of an idea for your film that gets you excited every time you think about it because you’ll be talking about it for the rest of your life. For Robert Rodriguez, it was a man with a guitar case filled with guns in EL MARIACHI. For us it was a dead hooker in a trunk. Also, don’t listen to anyone who tries to discourage you. If we stopped every time someone quite literally laughed in our faces, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Go do it!

Thank You to Jen and Sylvia for taking the time out to do this interview for Hayley’s Movie and TV Reviews,  I wish them every success with American Mary.

Interview Conducted By: Hayley Alice Roberts.

The Official Website for the Twisted Twins: http://www.twistedtwinsproductions.net/

The Official Facebook Page for “American Mary”: https://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Mary/167825893248295

For More info on reviews and interviews, please take a look at… https://www.facebook.com/HayleysMovieAndTvReviews

Cult Retrospect: “Dead Hooker in a Trunk” (2009)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: SOME SPOILERS**

Immediately the title of this film invokes curiosity and encourages the viewer to take a look. This exploitation flick is a must-see thrill ride with twists and turns and plenty of blood, guts and gore that keeps the audience gripped and disturbed from beginning to end. The film features interesting and experimental camera work conveying a gritty tone as the narrative cleverly changes direction defying expectations on several occasions resulting in a satisfying pay-off!

The plot centers on a group of misfits consisting of twin sisters one referred to as “The Badass” and the other ” The Geek”, their “Junkie” friend and a “Goody-Two Shoes” religious  “love interest” for “The Geek”. After picking him up from his “Youth Group” they discover the dead body of a nameless hooker in the trunk of their car! Without giving too much away, from then on we see a roller-coaster ride of extreme violence accompanied by tongue in cheek dry humor.

Canadian-born sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska deliver one of the best exploitation films of recent years, the dialogue is inventive and witty, the characters come across as larger than life caricatures with their dark sense of humor and actions and the plot is full of intrigue. The violence is deliciously extreme from eye gouging to arms being hacked off to guts being spilled, it really is a crowd pleaser for genre fans who enjoy something a bit more unusual and exploitative than mainstream horror has to offer! “Dead Hooker” also features some awesome women who can really kick-ass reminiscent of “Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill!” (1965). It also has a sense of uniqueness that as well as the title makes it stand out. The only criticism for the film would be a little too much exposition at the climax, depicting an incident the audience was aware of in order to fit in some more carnage.

“Dead Hooker in a Trunk” definitely deserves its status as a Cult Classic. One hundred per-cent recommend it.  The Soska sisters next project currently in post-production “American Mary” (2012) looks equally as intriguing and will be eagerly anticipated.

Hayley Alice Roberts.