Women in Horror Month: Exclusive Interview With Jen Soska

Jen Soska Interview for Women of Horror
by Seth Metoyer, MoreHorror.com

Being a twin myself, I am excited about our next set of interviews. In this installment of exclusive Q&A celebrating Women of Horror Month, we turn the focus onto the Soska Sisters of Twisted Twins Productions. For those who don't know, the Soska Sisters are two bad ass twins who are blazing the bloody trail of horror. As you continue to keep your eyes fixed upon their rise to the top, take a moment to gander at the interview below with lovely Jen Soska.

MoreHorror.com How did you get involved in the horror business?

Jen Soska Ever since we were little, Sylvie and I loved horror. We would make a bee line for the horror section every time we went out with our folks to pick out a movie. We'd turn over all the boxes and hunt for the scariest images and then call each other over to take a look. Our mom had this HUGE collection of Stephen King novels and would let us read them. Little me would sit there, with her thesaurus at hand, and just disappear in those novels. I couldn't put them down.

Starting off as an actor, I didn't really get the opportunity to go out for many horror roles. We began acting when we were little, but as we got older it was always "slutty this" or "bikini clad that". I find acting really limits the control one has in their own career. So many actors are just so desperate to work and get their names out there (and understandably so), but they kill themselves for roles they really don't care that much about. How badly could you want to play "Cop #2"?

When we began film making, it just felt right, like coming home. It was like we found that "something" we had always been looking for. It was never a question of choosing to do horror movies. We LOVE horror. Even if we do films that are considered your traditional horror movie, and ours really aren't, we'll always have "horrific aspects" to our work. That's how we approach each project. Heck, I considered DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK a comedy, but my sense of humor is a tad darker than most...

MH What was the first horror movie you ever watched?

JS It was Poltergeist! It scared the shit out of me! I had a clown doll that I had to lock in my closet at night and that just made my closet all the more terrifying. I avoided walking anywhere near a TV for a month. It's pretty funny, looking back.

MH Early on, did your friends and family think that your fascination with horror was odd?

JS Ha ha, many of my friends and family STILL think my fascination with horror is odd! I've always been kind of weird and I like it that way. I don't like normal. To me, normal is weird. I wanted to be a super hero since I was a little girl and as soon as I could start legally buying them or getting my paws on them, I started collecting weapons. People thought that was weird. I remember one Christmas, Sylvie bought me this beautiful katana and had it engraved "To my Sister Jen, The Toughest Bitch There's Ever Been". I opened it and started to cry. My grandmother didn't get it. She thought I had cut myself on it.

MH What makes horror so exciting to you?

JS There's something so primal in horror. I love fear, I find it exhilarating and fascinating. When you're afraid, your body exhibits the same symptoms as when you're aroused. It's a thrill. I think a lot of people like that.

Horror also is incredibly liberating. You can write anything and it can be accepted because it's horror. You can get away with things that you wouldn't be able to if you were making, say, a drama. Horror is very therapeutic, too. From the safety of our homes and theater seats, we can explore and come to terms with darkness and evils of the world. It can help us understand that. That way when we encounter some horrific in reality, we don't just stand there like deer in the headlights. That's a big part of the reason I hate censorship. I firmly believe censorship breeds ignorance.

MH What do you think about the current state of horror? Do you like the remakes or do you think they tread on hallowed ground?

JS I think that there is some incredible work coming from indie talents. I think with the advancement of technology so much so that literally anyone can be a film maker, we're going to see a big change coming. It's a very exciting time. I, personally, am not a fan of remakes. I understand the homage sense behind them, but more often than not they are cash grabs that are just trying to rehash old films that have a proven fan base and the studios see as "low risk" ventures. It's boring. Where is this generations Elm Street? Horror fans are so taken advantage of. But we're rising up and looking to the indie talents to change things.

MH What is your favorite horror movie of all time?

JS Shit! That's a hard one. If I can pick only one, it would have to be American Psycho. It's an incredible, controversial horror film beautifully directed by Mary Harron, one of our heroes. Sylvie and I quote that film all the time. We just love it to death.

*MH American Psycho is one of my favorite movies of all time as well. I obsessed over it for years.

MH What truly scares you?

JS It's been a while. I don't scare easy. I do scream easy, though. I love a good scream! I'm most afraid of losing my twin. I hate to be a downer, but she is such an important part of my life. She's my best friend and my partner in business. I'm so lucky to have her. It scares me to think of losing her. I'd recover and I'd have to be dead myself to ever stop working, I know we'd both want it that way, but it would be hard. I know we'd meet again. I just hope we go together as old farts.

*MH There are twin ladies in their 70's that live together across the street from me here in California. They have two dogs that look exactly the same as well. It's awesome!

MH Who’s your favorite scream queen of all time?

JS Shannon Lark. The woman is an incredible professional and I have so much respect for her and how she does business.

MH Plug a project time. What horror projects are you currently working on?

JS American Mary. She's our whole life right now. I wake up and brush my teeth to American Mary. I live and breath her. This film is so important to us for so many reasons. I wish I could tell everyone everything we know that we're doing in this project. It's going to change everything and I'm not exaggerating. Katharine Isabelle is back where she belongs as our title character. It is an extremely challenging and mature role, the kind that those who already know and love her are dying to see her in and one that will make everyone else take notice. Our effects are being designed and executed by legendary, Emmy award winning prosthetic artist, Mark Shostrom.

Mark has been making film history throughout his career by creating stunning works and never before seen effects. It is such an honor and privilege to be working with him and his outstanding team at Hello Boss FX. If you don't know the man, treat yourselves to a little read of his IMDB profile and drink in the awesome. There's so much to tell, but like any good director knows, you have to have that seduction in there. You need to build the excitement and when the time comes, you sure as shit better deliver. This film is very much a thank you to everyone who believed in us and supported DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. We won't let you down.

MH What was your favorite horror film of 2010?

JS Black Swan. Epic.

MH When are you “at your best”; morning, noon or night?

JS At night. I'm very much a creature of the night. It's when I do my serious "don't-fucking-talk-to-me-I'm-working" business. I do rewrites then, I do my research then. We're always on, but night fills me with this intense energy.

MH What do you enjoy doing the most when you are not working?

JS I forget! ha ha. No, seriously, I an uber nerd. I love video games and comics. I'm playing Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker right now. It's so sad because I'm so busy, I'll play a single mission and then put it away. Like, "Jen, you only get to play video games for ten minutes, then it's back to work." I love my life, though. Sylvie and I also love watching horror movies. We want to see everything.

MH What words of advice would you give to women who are interested in pursuing a career in the horror field?

JS Do it. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't. Yes, you can. If we can do it, you can, too. Surround yourself with good people. Like Robert Rodriguez did with EL MARIACHI, find an idea you're passionate about. Ours was a DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. Stick to your guns. There is always a way. Spend what money you have creatively. Inexpensive doesn't have to mean cheap.

Don't think for one second "the boys" don't want you here. There are some "dinosaurs" out there that are stuck in their ways, but that vast majority don't share their ignorant opinions. It's not about gender, it's about quality. Last time I checked, having a vagina wasn't a disability. If your work is good, it will speak for itself. Learn from your mistakes. Yes, some people will shit all over you and your work, but if you get negative feedback about the same things over and over again, take a hard look at yourself and your work. No one gets better with pats on the head alone.

I always say aim for the stars, that way if you reach the moon, it's not half bad. Set your goals high and remember to celebrate the little victories. I hope that we and our story inspire others. Maybe film making isn't your thing, but whatever your dream is, you should chase it. It's possible, but you have to make that decision and go after it.

JS Thank you so much for speaking with me, Seth! Ha, I never shut up :)

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