Sorry I disappeared for a week. Last week, as some of you may know, was the anniversary of Dad’s passing. I didn’t feel very productive. But it’s passed, and I’m back.
I told you the interviews were coming. And Jesus, did I do a lot of interviews for This Is Infamous and Rue Morgue. In the near future, you’re going to see some surprising blog posts, recalling my wild west days as a freelance reporter. But, before we get lost in my past glories, let’s give you something to chew on. Here’s the first to notarize me with any attention, and the interview that helped secure my HWA membership… This goes all the way back to New York Comic-Con 2013… where I was provided with the opportunity to sit down with the darlings of horror near the beginning of their illustrious careers, Jen and Sylvia Soska, and talk about their WWE movie, See No Evil 2…
It’s no secret that WWE Superstar Kane’s motion picture debut, SEE NO EVIL, wasn’t quite as scary as it could have been. Overuse of the “monster” throughout the film took away the horror aspect of a movie that looked better on paper than it did on the screen. Move along half a decade later and rumbles of a sequel have hit the trades. It drums up the question, “If the first wasn’t all that good, then why make a sequel?” WWE Films found the motivation to continue the story of Jacob Goodnight in the extremely talented directing tandem, Jen & Sylvia Soska. Their recent hit horror flick, AMERICAN MARY has done a great job of making middle-America piss its pants in fear. So who better to make SEE NO EVIL 2? I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with the sisters during WWE Studios Halloween Horror extravaganza at New York Comic Con this past weekend. I use blessed literally, its definition is “to anoint in blood,” something the Twisted Twins aren’t afraid of in the slightest as they seek to push the boundaries of what we accept as modern horror cinema.
Token Tom Clark – So you’re directing SEE NO EVIL 2?
Jen & Sylvia Soska – YES!
Tom – How do you guys go about taking a project that isn’t initially yours and making it yours?
Jen – The WWE was really sweet in giving us a lot of creative freedom with it. They did not want to go the regular route of what traditional slasher/horror is and we are the fan directors and very anti-formula, so we were able to work with the writers and work with WWE to make a very fan-favorite film that really defies definition.
Sylvia – We love horror movies, we watch them all the time so we were looking at, like, the classic like 1970’s horrors before studios had formula after formula. Like, How can we mix this up? How can we change everything? And the cool thing is the WWE Studios is totally into that, too. So we’re like, “Let’s do this!” And they’re like, “Yeah! But what if we do this, too?” We’re like, “You guys are crazy! OK, Let’s do it!” So I think when people see this movie they’re going to be very surprised at what we did to it.
Tom – Original screenwriter, Dan Madigan, did you guys contact him or work with him or anything?
Jen – No. I don’t know how to get in touch with him. I would have loved to be able to chat with him to know what was the…you know you watch the film and you read the Wikipedia page and it tells the story of two very different films, so I think there was a lot of things that were missed opportunities in the first one. But we’ve really capitalized, I think, on what the heart and the spirit of the first one is and we brought that to the screen. You actually do get the back story of Jacob Goodnight, you really get to know this character. And you really get to be afraid of this character, too, because I don’t think that people really felt that terror in the first film.
Sylvia – That’s because I feel they over-showed the character constantly to the point where you couldn’t be afraid of him. We didn’t write the script ourselves. Bobby Lee Darby and Nathan Brookes, these fabulously talented UK writers, with very similar sensibilities to us, they wrote it. We were lucky enough to have a creative back and forth of modifying it to get it to this right place, so, it was really exciting. And we didn’t want to…you know how movies are sometimes are “I’m like this because five years ago something like this and that happened?” It’s like nobody talks like that, can’t we just make them real people and see what happens in this situation?
Token Tom – How did you two get into the movie industry?
Jen – We’re probably failed actresses? We started off, well, when we were little girls the Olsen Twins were very big and we didn’t really do twin roles, but we did child labor roles where they swap one in and look, we’ve got another duplicate. But as we got older we just got the VERY stereotypical young women twin roles where it was slutty alien, sexy sorority girl. And being 4.0 GPA students, we got to a certain point where it was like, “I don’t want to just be a dumb broad anymore.” We’re very extensively trained in martial arts, so we tried to make the flip over into stunts. We ended up going to a film school that was just a film school in name only. But from that, we ended up making our own faux trailer called DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK, and we got together and we made it low budget, maxed out our credit cards and we never looked back.
Token Tom – What’s in the future for you guys? What’s your next film project after this?
Sylvia – We’re one of the many directors involved with THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2. I can’t tell you what letter it is, but it’s in the alphabet. And they gave us a list of things for the MPAA they would request we don’t do, but ours kind of pushes the envelope so we’re like, “Hey, I know it says this, but what if we do this?” And they’re very sweet, they’re like, “OK, you’re toting a very fine line.” And it’s kind of like a show-off, because it’s like the best of horror directors so we were like, I want to be the letter that everyone walks away from being like, “Oh My God! Those chicks are crazy.”
Jen – It’s not a competition, but we’re taking it as a competition.
Sylvia – Absolutely it is!
Token Tom – Are there any projects that you want to create yourselves, to make into a film?
Jen & Sylvia – Oh, yeah.
Sylvia – There’s a film that we’ve been trying to get off the ground. Our scripts are so weird, that until it’s made, nobody wants to make it. Like our last film, AMERICAN MARY, was about body modification, and first, everybody was like, “NO NO NO NO!” And now their take is, “Can you make that again?” I’m like we’re were you guys before when I was looking for a pile of money? Our new movie is called BOB, it’s an original monster movie. The tag line is: “There’s a monster inside all of us, sometimes it gets out.” It’s the most vile and disgusting thing we’ve ever written, but that’s also why it’s the most funniest thing, because you can’t have one without the other. And then…
Jen – I think ABC’S OF DEATH 2 might be the most vile and disgusting thing we’ve ever written.
Sylvia – It’s really hard to tell.
Jen – (evil laugh) We’re Hungarian and our new pet project is we’re writing about Elizabeth Bathory, Countess of Blood. We’re kind of obsessed with her right now.
Ever charming throughout our conversation, Jen and Sylvia laughed a great deal. Our exchange fell apart when we were given the signal for one more question, the ladies and I digressing into jokes about bathing in virgin blood and vampires. It’s apparent they love their craft; and this enthusiasm, a common thread throughout my interviews with WWE Studios at Comic-Con, makes me genuinely interested in the forthcoming SEE NO EVIL 2. The footage shown during the panel after didn’t show us Jacob Goodnight, but it certainly enforced my belief that young ladies from Vancouver are on the right path.
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