It’s Part 2 of our Soska Sisters Interview (part 1 is right here!). We discuss See No Evil 2 in depth along with working with American Mary star Katherine Isabelle again and scream queen supreme Danielle Harris.
Jen and Sylvia also cover whats they have coming up next, Superman Dean Cain being “one bad ass mother fucker”, their favorite sequels and their creative cameos.
I hope you enjoy this insight into the Twisted Twins as much as I enjoyed speaking to to them!
Love Horror: In your sequel the villain Jacob Goodnight played by wrestler Glenn Jacobs aka Kane is portrayed at times as quite sympathetic. Was that your idea or in the script?
Sylvia Soska: That was us, that was a little bit of the script and a lot of it actually came from Glen ‘Kane’ Jacobs because he was the only resource we had that came from the original film. I think the fine line that we walked was because there are so many questions left from the first film. The first film almost feels like a prequel there is so much about his mother and it’s her stuff and she is really the instigator of everything. Because he murdered her in the first movie now he’s on his own for the very first time and he’s sort of coming into his own.
I really like going into the background and the psyche of these guys but because we are kind of reinventing the character and this is the platform we are jumping off of we didn’t want to be like “Oh he’s alive again because of this reason definitively and this is going to happen now and this is this and this is this” because oh again franchise mind-set we thought in the third one we really want to delve into the character as well.
Jen Soska: The most important thing with the sequel was to reintroduce Jacob Goodnight to the audience that knew him and the people that hadn’t seen See No Evil 1 or the people that had seen See No Evil 1 and had forgotten it. That’s another thing about the sequel we watched the first one obviously and we watched it a lot more after we were working on the script and we looked online to see what the fans were saying, what they found were missed opportunities and what they found were successes in the film. We built on what was successful and we built on or replaced the things that were less successful.
One of the things I really feel was missing and it goes into us redesigning it as a 1980’s slasher is that he did not have an iconic look, he needed special kills, he needed weapons and he needed theme music. If you watch the Halloween films on mute it’s a much slower, less exciting movie without John Carpenter’s kick ass score and I love that Jacob Goodnight has his own amazing theme music written by the very talented Mutant Brothers. It’s a whole symphony so you get little pieces depending on what comes in. The theme has these religious undertones as well. We have just grazed the surface on Jacob Goodnight and his psyche and how tortured he is. We have got a lot of places still to go with him.
So you would definitely like to be involved with a See No Evil 3 if it happens then as you have lots of ideas for another sequel it seems?
Sylvia Soska: Oh definitely and I know that Glen has a lot of ideas and I am sure that Nathan Brookes and Bobby Lee Darby the writers will have a lot of ideas too. It’s cool because it was such a collaborative process and I think that’s a really fun thing to have. I think we can really play on the theme of see no evil and what defines Jacob differently from other characters. I like that conflict, I think it’s very interesting. There are not too many masked men like that who are like “I’m going murder you! I don’t know if I want to murder you! Arghh I’m going insane!”
Jen Soska: At the end of the first film also Jacob was killed very very adamantly and he’s alive again in this one. We very gently suggest the reasons and you hear in his flashbacks his mother saying “The hand of God, the hand of God” over and over again and that’s something we are going to explore more in the sequels as well. You can see that there is something about Jacob that makes him very special and unique as a killer and as a human being.
It’s funny now you mention the hand of God stuff it does make it more clear to me and I think that’s what was good about the film as it’s much more subtle than just having it explained by him being hit with magical lightening or a radioactive comet or something.
Sylvia Soska: Thank you so much! There are so many classic tropes in slasher movies so we put a lot of humour in our film too like when Katie Isabelle character goes behind the shelf and says “This is a terrible hiding spot!” or when they have the keys and it’s not to the right area of the building and you think “Yep that’s always how it goes in these films” it’s like “Oh no I can’t open any of these doors except this one where someone is going to get murder in no doubt.”
Jen Soska: It’s a very self-aware horror. When you go into the religious themes of his mother not liking sin and of course we have Katie who is a super sexualised empowered girl that goes down to see the serial killers corpse and your like “No don’t go down there. You’re already drunk you can’t add sex to the equation” because you know a serial killer is going to show up.
Sylvia Soska: We had to go into a bit of the back story but we didn’t want to go into it in a boring way and that whole scene existed because Katie is one of our best friends and Glen is the Diva’s favourite demon, the chicks always want to get a piece of that so we said somehow we have to get Katie to kiss Glen. I don’t know how but we’ll make a scene about it and that’s why we made her a character who does that kind of shit.
Katharine Isabelle was brilliant in the film as was Danielle Harris. They were both very strong and interesting characters played by two great actresses.
Jen Soska: Oh thank you so much. Being failed actresses ourselves we don’t believe in throwaway characters so it’s so important for the audience to be emotionally invested in everyone. As huge horror fans it was on our bucket list to work with Danielle Harris. To be able to put Danielle and Katie in a movie together for the first time was great. I can’t believe nobody thought of that before because they are so incredible.
Danielle is utterly amazing. I watched her for years and she is such an interesting person that there is a lot of Danielle and the person she actually is filtered into the script. She is that kind of woman, she is an Amazon. I was hearing a story about how she got trapped in an elevator and she hit out the roof and climbed out because she didn’t want to be late for a meeting. I was saying “Nobody would do that everybody else would be late, you are a crazy person. I guess it’s because you’ve been chased by masked men since you were a small child.”
Love Horror: You have gone from making low budget indie horror’s to this much bigger budget slasher sequel, what are the differences both good and bad?
Sylvia Soska: It was so heavenly! Dead Hooker was a Guerrilla style filming where we were always running from the cops and nothing was legal and we had no money and everything was such a pain in the ass. American Mary was more of an intermediate level but it was always just fighting for these ideas and not having enough money it was just so hard out there we didn’t have anyone behind us saying “Go get them girls.”
With this and WWE everyone warned us “Be careful it’s a studio there going to have their own intentions” and we thought “Oh God Oh God it’s going to be awful. I have never been so spoiled in my job as I have been working for the WWE and Lionsgate. For example I am a big camera snob and I always wanted to use the Phantom camera it’s a ten thousand dollar a day camera and I was ready I had my little directors stuff ready to do a big argument and as soon as I walked in I was like “I need this Phantom camera it shoots super slow motions and…” and they were like “Yeah sure what else do you need?” and I was like “Oh um nothing thank you bosses.”
So now you have had a taste of the big studio experience would you want to go back to indie film making again?
Jen Soska: We’re independent film makers at heart and I think that’s one of the reasons that we are so successful in the studio system because we are still looking for ways to creatively solve stuff. The last resort is going and asking for money. There are so many things you can get away with creatively and creativity solves problems. Money helps oh my god yes absolutely but I would love to do a do it yourself film again because if I made Dead Hooker in a trunk today it would be a very different film. I would never want to remake Dead Hooker, I might make an El Mariachi to Desperados version of it but I wouldn’t want to remake it because the flaws are part of the endearing quality of it. But now knowing so much more about filmmaking I think I could do something very different but still really very raw and organic.
Jen Soska: Yeah we just love always working and we hate not having something to do so if there ever is a time like we are trying to get set up on a few things now but if there is literally nothing we would just grab a camera and grab buddies call in some favours and see what we can do. It’s just so exciting, we just can’t stop. It’s like we’re directing sharks and if we stop directing we will die.
Sylvia Soska: It’s true we would die!
On that theme what’s next for you then?
Sylvia Soska: Well I am very excited because Jennifer and I are the biggest comic book nerds on the planet and Jimmy Palmiotti was one of the co-creators of Painkiller Jane has brought us on and attached us as directors for the big screen adaptation. This is literally from the pages adaptation and the nice thing is it’s finally a hard R (18) movie it’s not watered down she’s a badass bisexual cop who doesn’t give a fuck about anything and this is before she gets her super powers which are a regenerating healing factor. She feels the pain but you can’t keep this chick down it’s like a Terminator Wolverine and it’s so reflective of the modern woman. It’s such a smart script and it has so much heart there and it’s always been our goal to tackle that kind of thing.
Jen Soska: On the note of kicking ass we have just finished post production on our other movie with WWE which is Vendetta staring The Big Show Paul White, Dean Cain and Michael Eklund. If you told me that Dean Cain was one bad ass mother fucker two weeks before we picked up the camera I would have been like “Superman? Seriously?” You have never seen Dean Cain like this he is so hard. It’s our first action movie and it’s really unforgiving and violent and exciting and you really see the lead character being just as bad as the guys he goes after. It’s very much like a Punisher story and Dean Cain is the Punisher and the Kingpin is The Big Show. The Big Show should be playing the Kingpin by the way I mean I can’t think of a guy more physically and actor wise perfect for that role.
Sylvia Soska: Jennifer and I hate stereotypes and people being put into a category and Dean was so scary and I know it’s so weird because no one would expect something like that and it’s such a dark film. I remember looking at some of the shots with my DP and I was like “It looks like he he’s gone insane I am actually worries for him right now.” He was so hard core and I bet after this he’s going to be typecast playing psychopaths.
Jen Soska: The release date should be 2015 sometime.
Its great you are getting to branch out from horror.
Jen Soska: Yes it is and something I learnt from doing action movies is you can kill way more people than you can in a horror movie. I think the death toll is something around 47 people that get horribly, horribly, horribly murdered. I have never been to a men’s prison however I had a wonderful opportunity going through there and figuring out the different ways people can be horribly murdered.
What’s the best sequel ever made apart from See No Evil 2 obviously?
Sylvia Soska: My favourite is probably Ghostbusters 2 I love that movie. If that movie is on I cannot stop watching it. Same for Batman Returns that movie is just such a beautiful standalone piece I could watch that every day of the week. Oh and of course Halloween 2 is the shit I love that film.
Jen Soska: I love Gremlins 2. I know it was a total tone shift but to see Rick Baker’s masterful effects on the Spider Gremlin and the Girl Gremlin where absolutely amazing. I also love Wrong Turn 2 because Joe Lynch is such a horror fan and the film just bleeds little horror in-jokes for people who love horror. It’s made for horror fans it’s not made for anybody else.
And finally you appear on gurneys in the morgue at the start of See No Evil 2. Did you come up with characters for yourselves and imagine backstories for how you both died and ended up there?
Sylvia Soska: Wow we should have thought of something like that! No it’s that we always love doing cameos in our films and there was no opportunity to pop up anywhere else and we thought let’s have a big show-offy directors credit because obviously this isn’t like a movie about body modification or a small indie grindhouse this is going to hit a bigger audience. Then we thought “Maybe these people have no idea who the fuck we are.”
Jen Soska: One thing we like to do all the time is surprise our audience that’s why we love going into different genre’s and never repeating ourselves we thought the cameo would be a really good way and that nobody was expecting to see us there.
It’s a great cameo sort of like all the classic Hitchcock’s cameos in his films.
Sylvia Soska: Thank you so much. I just love the way Hitchcock marketed himself. We have slightly different body types but I think we have taken a lot of pages out of his book on the way we market ourselves and the whole Twisted Twins life.
Jen Soska: We are shameless cameo-ers Ricky Bates Suburban Gothic is playing in film festivals and we cameoed in that, we couldn’t help it we love him so much. We recently cameoed in The Dead Rising Watchtower by Zach Lipovsky too you can see us as dominatrix zombies.
I will go look that up right now!
Jen Soska: We are so typecast it’s so unfair!
Love Horror: Thanks for talking to us and good luck with everything.
Sylvia Soska: Thank you for talking to us this has been so fun.
Jen Soska: You were a wonderful way to start off our morning, much better than coffee!