Interview with the Soska Sisters – Part 2

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The Soska SistersHellbound Heart: Talk to us a little about your documentary film ‘Please Subscribe’, based on popular YouTube broadcasters, how did you decide to make this documentary?
Sylvia: I love YouTube. Absolutely love it. You get to see all these real-life normal folks that are so talented, funny, and creative broadcasting through a medium that anyone can use. We were still finishing up with Hooker and hadn’t had the opportunity to do anything creative for a while. We were watching our favourite viral celebrities online discussing what we should do next, maybe a documentary, and I suggested we try to do one about people we already enjoy and would like to know more about. We got into contact with David Choi, HappySlip, Tay Zonday, and Daxflame and they were courteous enough to take part in the project. You never know how people you watch for entertainment are going to be when you meet them in real life, but all of them were so genuinely nice, funny, smart, and lovely. We still talk to them on a regular basis as friends – just the kind of people you want to have in your life. The film, ‘Please Subscribe’, is getting to a final cut and will be doing the film festival circuit soon.
Jen: I truly feel that YouTubers are the new generation of independent film makers. They are masters of the short film. The time, intelligence, and skill that goes into much of their work blows me away. I’m in awe of how so many of them can pump out so many amazing videos and so frequently. They are so dedicated to their work and their business and their fans. They’re so innovative and always coming up with new ways to entice new viewers and satisfy their fan base. It’s incredible.

Please Subscribe - The Soska Sisters

Hellbound Heart: You’ve taken part in – and done really well in – some short film contests lately, including a sharp short film titled Bad Girls and the film you made for the ‘Film Racing’ challenge. How did you get involved with these projects, and how did you find making these shorts?

Sylvia: CJ, Jen, and I all live together and usually work together on different artistic projects. If we aren’t working on something – rewrites, trying to get money together, shooting a video – we miss it. We are always working on new projects and planning what we will be doing next, but it’s not easy to just film a feature on a whim, so short films are awesome. For the timed short contests, it gives that same pressure on thinking on your toes while getting everything written, shot, and cut in a time frame. It’s great practice and it also gives you some really fun projects.


Thank you for your kind words about Bad Girls. We get a lot of shit for that one. My aunt in Europe saw it and now worries about us. I prefer there to be something realistic and awful about the violence in our films because when violence happens in reality there is no cutaway to spare the victim. Also, if something upsets or haunts me from real life – like seeing a kid’s eye get knocked out – I put it in a movie to share my horror with an audience. Most of the films in that competition were comedic horror, so Bad Girls kind of surprised people.

Jen: I love doing fast film competitions. It really keeps you on your toes and is great practice for indie film making. When you’re an independent film maker, there is great importance in problem solving and practical thinking. Truly, you never know what will go wrong or not go according to plan. When you do a fast film, you really just jump into it and give it everything you’ve got. That really is the spirit of independent film.

I’m very proud of our collective short films. I particularly enjoyed playing the Hornet. I miss her. Believe me, you haven’t seen the last of her.

Hellbound Heart: A lot of your stuff has a comic-book element to it – you actually play superhero characters in The Hornet, and you guys use a lot of cartoonish violence, snappy, sardonic dialogue, a dry sense of humour, where does that come from?
The HornetSylvia: Reading lots of comic books and playing video games our whole live. I love sitting down and reading a great graphic novel – Preacher is amazing as are Ennis’ Punisher comics – or having a few days off to play a new game, kill some evil, save the world a bit. My mom always used humour to deal with things that scared us (like the horror movies we begged to see). I was terrified after seeing Poltergeist and my mom came in to watch the end of it and made a bug joke of all the horror. I still laugh when I watch horror movies – it makes me happy. I use humour for a bunch of situations in life. If things are shitty and you can still laugh about them, then it’s really not so bad.
Jen: We’ve always been hopelessly addicted to comics. And passionate about them. They definitely affect and influence our work. We can’t help but add our sense of humour to our work. I feel it’s something that sets us apart from others. I guess I would attribute our dark senses of humour to our mom and mister Stephen King. My mom had (and has) every book he’s ever written. At an early age (elementary school), she let us each pick one to read. If we came across a word we didn’t understand, we’d just look it up. Never could hunt down that oh-so-frequent “fuck” word. I just assumed it was some uncommon, yet commonly used sentence enhancer. I picked Pet Semetary and Sylv picked Cujo. Stephen King has a beautiful way of adding humour to his work. It always seemed natural to us and that would be where we began to develop it.

Hellbound Heart: Female filmmakers are still a minority in the scene, although -as I can attest – female horror fandom seems to be on the rise, with more and more women represented in festivals and screenings, and things do seem to be changing, as both fans and filmmakers, do you think the horror/indie scene has been welcoming? Do you think you have faced any particular issues?
Sylvia: Going into making Dead Hooker in a Trunk, we knew that we would have to have craziness to get people interested. The title alone has gotten people fascinated in the film, but has also had people get instantly turned off from the film. The horror community has been very welcoming to us and Dead Hooker in a Trunk. Once we actually finished the film and started showing it to people, everyone had really nice things to say. Before the film was finished we had a lot of locals calling the film and our ambition too ambitious and crazy. I had a well-known actor turned teacher call storm off set and call me a cunt because I wouldn’t give in to his temper tantrum during the fake trailer and he still does today. You have to look at things like that as sad. Enemies are a waste of time and effort.
Jen: We’ve really been embraced by the horror community. Perhaps we’re just fortunate or all the cruelty is done behind our backs. I’m really grateful to the horror community for their support of us and our work.

The Hornet - The Soska Sisters

I still think that we do have a ways to go in the way of the work. Simply because a film is made by a woman we shouldn’t think it’s wonderful or crap. We should let the work speak for itself. If a man makes a movie and its shit, everyone jumps on him. I’ve seen women make crap and have their work protected because it was apparently some great accomplishment that the poor dear even tried. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a great deal of respect for any man or woman who has the balls to go out and make a film. It’s rough and you deserve a lot of credit for pulling it off. However, I’m a feminist who believes women shouldn’t be cut breaks because of their gender. Even if it’s positive, it’s still sexist. I think men and women should be treated as equals [Amen to that! – K]. Besides, it toughens women up. And you need to be tough in this business. You ever read the Preacher comics? There’s a bit Sylv loves where one of the badasses are talking about terrorist situations and he says kill the women first. Because if a woman is standing among those men, she’s not only worked every bit as hard as them to prove she deserves to be there, she’s blown away her male competition and she is truly a threat to be reckoned with.

Hellbound Heart: Okay, some more light-hearted questions for you both – I’d like to ask, what films have you been enjoying lately?
Sylvia: I recently saw Martyrs and it rocked my little horror nerd world. It was beautiful and disturbing and epic. Every fan boy and girl should check it out. I have a huge respect and admiration for Asian horror – like Suicide Club, Machine Girl and Old Boy. We have this ritual where we go to our local indie movie rental place and we each grab a movie that looks cool from their horror section.
Jen: We LOVE going to out and renting three movies and then randomly watching them all in one night. I’m proud to say we watch something new pretty much every day. I rented Happiness Of The Katakuris recently on the recommendation of female femme fatale film maker and friend, Marichelle Daywalt. I adore Takashi Miike and musicals so when she told me he made a musical and intentionally cast actors that couldn’t sing, I was hooked. We saw Inside recently. I loved it. Aside from the cat violence. I hate cat violence. We saw Inception in the theatres with Daxflame (if you don’t know who he is, check him out!) It was visually magnificent. I’m a big fan of practical effects. We saw Deep Red, which was rad. I forced Sylv and CJ to watch Psycho Beach Party with me because it had a Buffy cast member in it. It was pretty brutal.

Hellbound Heart: What are/is your favourite…
Sylvia: American Psycho is my absolute favourite for witty satire and sexy horror and it was directed by the incredible Mary Harron. I also love Suicide Club, Audition, The El Mariachi Trilogy, Twins, The People Versus Larry Flynt, The Classic, and Ghostbusters.
Jen: American Psycho. Sylvie and I quote that movie all the time. I’ll sit down with her after going to piss and say, “they don’t have a good bathroom to do coke in” or “there are no girls with good personalities” and high five her. God, we love that movie. I love Twins (no shit, right?), Memoirs of a Geisha (on the inside, I AM Japanese), Jurassic Park (in a cheesy way, I love having “quote competitions” and am currently undefeated), State and Main, Suicide Club, Bringing Up Baby, The Good The Bad And The Ugly, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I’m also a big Joss Whedon fan and have been in love with Dr Horrible and his Musical Blog.

The Soska SistersHellbound Heart: Music?
Sylvia: There’s this rad indie band called The Antlers that has a wicked song called ‘Sylvia’. I’m not just being narcissistic, their whole album is great. I also like The All-American Rejects, She Wants Revenge, Chris Issac, and Jay Z. I like a variety of music.
Jen: I adore movie soundtracks. I really like Danny Elfman. I love 80s music, Rolly Teranishi, Queen, Fiona Apple, The Moody Blues, Rammstein, Glee, all sorts of weird stuff that doesn’t seem to go together, ha!

Hellbound Heart: Food?
Sylvia: I love Hungarian food like any good Hungarian girl. Spicy food rocks, but I’m also a dedicated fan of Burger King’s Whopper.
Jen: Sushi! Good God, I love sushi. Yam tempura, Salmon and Tuna sashimi, I’m salivating as I write this…

Hellbound Heart: Drink?
Sylvia: I live off of energy drinks – Redbull, Rockstar, and 5-Hour Energy are great. Coca Cola is my favourite pop and Malibu Coconut Rum is my favorite big-girl drink.
Jen: Jack Daniels. Single or double shot and don’t you dare put it on ice.

Hellbound Heart: Locations?
Sylvia: I really would like to travel more. I love my hometown, Vancouver, it’s beautiful – mostly when we get a break from the lovely rain. We’ve been going to California a lot lately and I would love to move down there in the next couple of years. It’s got such a history to it and some incredibly interesting and entertaining people live there.
Jen: I love Vancouver. It’s my home and it’s absolutely beautiful. I love it here. I’ve always wanted to visit New York (for comic book nerd reasons), Egypt (because it’s always interested me), and, more than any other, Japan. I’ll be so happy the day I finally get to go.

Hellbound Heart: Who are your role models?
Sylvia: I have also wanted to meet Robert Rodriguez – his book and films have had a huge impact on our lives. I really admire Vincent Price’s work and contribution to horror – he made it so interesting and classy. Mary Harron made my all-time favorite movie and she had to deal with a lot of shit for the subject matter, but despite the controversy made a smart, edgy piece that is still hip today.
Jen: Sue Sylvester.

Hook penis bathtub acidHellbound Heart: Steve asked me to ask you both for nude photographs. My question therefore is, how do you think Steve should be killed?
Sylvia: There’s a saying if men misbehave with women they get a daughter and if they are really bad – they get twins. Tread carefully, Steve. And please name them Jen and Sylvia. I read that there was this little boy fucking around in his bunk bed who tripped and fell out. The real zinger is that his dick got caught on a hook and he hung there until it the weight of his body made it rip clean off. I could always get a hook.
Jen: I had a morbid friend in high school that was always thinking up ways to commit suicide or kill people. To my knowledge, he never did either. One method has been stuck with me. I know nothing about chemistry like he did so bare with me. It was something like this… Drug your victim and put him in a metal bathtub tied and holding a rope. The rope is connected to a bucket over the tub that keeps it from tipping into the tub. In the tub is part of a solution for a highly concentrated acid. The missing ingredient is in the bucket. As the drugs kick in, the victim loses his ability to hold onto the rope. The bucket tips, the victim melts, and Steve learns to be careful what he asks for ;)

Hellbound Heart: What are you girls working on at the moment; what are your future plans?
Sylvia: We have a screening in Vancouver of the final cut of Hooker in the next two weeks that we are organizing as a thank you to everyone who locally supported and pimped the film. As an added bonus, we are showing a teaser which is the first glimpse to our future project, ‘American Mary.’ We’re filming this week – we have a wonderful actress and great prosthetic team to make something weird and memorable. We’ll have it up on the site after the screening on August 13th.
Jen: The screening is our current obsession. We want to thank our town and fans for all their support of us and the film by giving them a night they’ll never forget!

Twisted Twins - The Soska Sisters

Hellbound Heart: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Sylvia: Thank you very kindly for talking with us. With an independent project like Dead Hooker in a Trunk, we don’t have the kind of money to promote the film with commercials, billboards, or magazine advertisements, but through interviews like this, people reviewing the film, people requesting it in their towns, people telling their friends about it – it gives the film this life that it could never have without the support. This was a totally fun interview to be a part of, so a big thank you to you. Also, if you are reading this and want to see the movie send us a message through our website - and we’ll do our best to get it to a screening near you!
Jen: Thank you so much for your time! It has been a pleasure!

You can find out more about The Soska Sisters and Dead Hooker in a Trunk at the following links:

All photos used with kind permission of Jen and Sylvia Soska