Friday, 15 March 2013

American Mary.

Jan and Sylvia Soska.

Twenty nine year old Jen and Sylvia Soska are identical twins from Canada who are known professionally as the Soska Sisters. They are film directors, producers, screenwriters and actors and it was after attending film school that they decided to make a short film in the style of a Rodriguez and Tarantino Grindhouse trailer, which, at the time, was showing in cinemas. The title of that trailer was Dead Hooker In A Trunk, which was made into their debut film in 2009. Performing the stunts the twins also wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the film, referring to themselves as ‘rebels without a budget’. The cast and crew for this exploitation movie included friends and relations and took five years from conception to finally screening for a budget of $2500!

Set in a very modern day Vancouver, Dead Hooker In A Trunk involves Geek, (Jan Soska), her twin sister Badass (Sylvia Soska), there friend Junkie (Rikki Gagne) who set out to pick up Geek’s boyfriend Goody Two Shoes (C J Wallis) from his Christian youth club but end up in a gruesome bloody battle for survival when they discover the body of a prostitute in the boot of their car!

The film has been embraced by horror fans, reviewers, and filmmakers and has become an underground sensation being called "a hidden gem in indie film making and a cult classic in waiting[1]". The film was successfully shown at numerous film festivals where it won multiple awards. Both the film and the Soska Sisters caught the attention of director Eli Roth, best known for Hostel (2005) and Hostel Part 2 (2007) and for appearing in Inglourious Basterds (2009) as Donny ‘The Bear Jew’ Donowitz, who praises both the film and the Twins by saying  "you should check out the Soska sisters, who made a film called Dead Hooker In A Trunk. They made it low budget and it's fucking awesome. It's really violent and the stunts are superb. They are two Canadian twin sisters who made a feature that they wrote, produced, directed, and starred in. And it's fantastic."
This punk rock anarchic film is at the same time edgy, disturbing, funny, bloody and sexy, with loads of fun for devotees of gore and horror, and your be pleased to know, according to the end credits, that ‘no hookers were harmed during the principal photography of the feature film production’     

In  2008, the twins incorporated their company, giving it the name Twisted Twins Productions. Their second feature film, having secured a far bigger budget, enabled the sisters a sizable production, cast and crew, and was filmed in Vancouver in just 15 days. American Mary (2012) is a fictionalized look at the real word of the body modification community and involves a student surgeon, Doctor Mary Mason, who desperately needs money to enable her to finish her studies. To this end she accepts $5000 from a local strip club owner to patch up the horrendous injuries of a mobster. When she is approached by Beatress Johnson (Tristan Risk), who has had plastic surgery to make her resemble Betty Boop, and offered $12000 to perform some extreme body modification on her friend, Mary excepts and realises there is money to be made from assisting the EBM community. Subsequently her college lecturer violently rapes her, how will she extract revenge?  

Doctor Mary Mason.

Where as their debut film was a love letter to grindhouse, this second film is homage to Asian films like Takashi Miike’s Audition (1999) and Ichi the Killer (2001) but also incorporates influences from films like American Psycho (2000) and Eyes Without a Face (1960). It’s premier took place as part of the Film 4 Frightfest Festival at the Empire Leicester Square in London. Jan and Sylvia, who were in England for the first time, attended the showing. The Twins in a Q&A that followed the film told an attentive audience that the humour found in their film is more British than American or Canadian and that they both felt an affinity with society’s outcasts including the body modification community, some of which can be seen in film.

Beatress Johnson (Tristan Risk)

The awesome craziness that is American Mary is dark, sexy and graphic mixed with the sister’s trademark humour and highlights the acting abilities of the very attractive Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps 2000) who plays Mary Mason. The martial acts trained twins appear as a couple of deranged Germans from Berlin who commission Doctor Mary to remove their left arms and sew them on to each other’s bodies. They are dressed in identical gothic attire with their backs pierced with holes and laces inserted. (I actually saw this for real at the Tattoo Convention in Carlisle a couple of years ago!) They lie side by side holding hands and grinning, exposing their filled teeth!

The deranged German Twins from Berlin.

[1] Jeff Atencio, Jaded Viewer

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