Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Soska Sisters

Even some die hard horror fans don’t know that February is Woman in Horror Recognition Month. While horror movies are full of buxom vixens shrieking their heads off (Linnea Quigley) and the victim turned survivor girl next door types (Jamie Lee Curtis) Women in Horror Recognition Month is designed more to celebrate the various way women contribute to the genre. From celebrating authors like Shirley Jackson (The Lottery), Laurel K. Hamilton (Anita Blake series) and of course Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles) to stunt women like Patricia Tallman and Zoe Bell.
     Today I wish to focus on Canadian twin sisters and indie horror darlings Jen & Sylvia Soska who have just released their second full length film American Mary on DVD in the UK. At this time a US release date has not been set.

     The Soska Sisters hit the indie horror scene in 2009 with their ode to exploitation films Dead Hooker in a Trunk. The film was written, directed, produced and starred the Soska Sisters who also did their own stunts. The film tells the tale of four friends who discover a dead hooker in the trunk of their car and the outrageousness that ensues as they try to find a place to dump the body.
     The film, which was made on a budget of $2,500, made the rounds in the festival and convention circuit and was met with much critical acclaim. The film also caught the attention of director/actor/writer Eli Roth who helped the Soska Sisters get DVD distribution of the film. He also helped them form their production company Twisted Twin Productions.

     American Mary tells the story of Mary Mason who is played to perfection by Katherine Isabelle. Most horror fans will recognize Isabelle from the werewolf/coming-of-age tale Ginger Snaps. Mary is a medical student plagued by tuition bills who takes on a second job at a seedy strip club. For a price she performs extreme body modification. The tale takes a turn when Mary is drugged and raped by a medical school instructor. The Soska Sisters make a small cameo as customers. The film is a commentary on what real beauty is; what it means to be beautiful and what it means to be in charge of your own body. American Mary has garnered much critical acclaim with its strong story, use of gore and practical special effects and is littered with extras from the body medication community. The camera work is nicely done and the final shot is amazing.
     If these two films are just the beginning for the Soska Sisters the mind reels at what their pinnacle films will be. I, for one, can’t wait to see what else these Twisted Twins have in store.


  1. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there's such a specified honorary month, but then again... there's a month for everything. Obviously, I'd never heard of the Soska sisters, but the description of their feature film reminds me a little bit of Robert Rodriguez and the original "El Mariachi". It seems like there's shades of Tarantino, too, even if their craft is pure horror. It'll be interesting to see if they grow in popularity now that Eli Roth is in their corner.

    1. Funny you should bring up "El Mariachi" since he makes a guest appearance in "America Mary". "Dead Hooker in a Trunk" is very Tarrintino-esque because it is by definition an exploitation film. Keep in mind that Eli Roth is a Tarrintino protege.

  2. I am on the same page as Matt in that I also didn't know February honors women in horror films; this makes me wonder the who, what, why, and how this came to be. It is interesting that "Dead Hooker in a Trunk" has been received so well. When I first saw the trailer for the film all I could think was, "Oh great, another horribly cliche', over-the-top waste of film." Although I'm not a fan of Tarantino's work, it's awesome that these ladies could create something from nothing while getting such a big name as Eli Roth involved. I might just have to check it out. After all, I am always supportive of women waving such a brave flag of: we are women and we take our horror seriously.

  3. Woman in Horror Recognition Month - that's quite a mouthful. I'm impressed there is such a month, and glad you aptly timed this post before the month's conclusion. The Soska Sisters sound like they have quite a future for them. I enjoyed the spotlight.