How Do You Spell Trouble?
The Soska sisters on breaking the rules in the alphabet horror anthology ABCs of Death 2
How did the Soska twins ends up directing a segment of new anthology horror ABCs of Death 2? By asking nicely.
The cinematic siblings were at Fantastic Fest in 2012 with their second shocker, medical body horror American Mary, where they saw the first installment The ABCs of Death. Jen Soska said, "We went, 'Fuck, that would be cool to be a part of.'"
The pitch meeting was pretty simple. They cornered producer Ant Timpson at a Fantastic Fest party. Sibling Sylvia said, "We went over to him right away and said we wanted to be a part of it, and he said, 'If we do another, we'll have you guys on.' 'Really?' 'Yes!'"
Jen added, "I never expected to actually come on, because we were drinking at the time."
The format is the same as the original. Twenty-six filmmaking teams, each given a letter of the alphabet and four minutes to make the most creative, gory, ridiculous, stomach-churning demise imaginable. One catch. Jen said, "Their manifesto said no strong sexual content, and I went, 'Oh my god, that's our entire thing.' Sexual content, and a commentary on objectification." Ever the rule breakers, the Soskas gleefully violated the strict restrictions, with the blessing of producer Marc Walkow. Sylvia recalled, "We said, 'Hey, we kind of have this idea where we would do this, and it's kind of against the rules.' He said, 'That's fine.' 'Can we do this as well?' 'Oh, that's fine, and you can also [do] this this and this.'" Sylvia's reaction to carte blanche? "Oh, don't tell me that. I'm going to do this as awesomely offensive as possible."
They also make a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in the segment by fellow Canadian Steve Kostanski. The sisters became fans after his FF 2011 feature Manborg, and offered to act for him and his ultra-weird Astron-6 collective any time. "We started very forcefully putting ourselves into their lives," said Jen, and they were elated when they got to the set, "a warehouse in the middle of nowhere. It's super-sketch looking, there's people walking around with buckets of blood, and there's Brandon Cronenberg in a pink toga."
So how does that sit with WWE Studios, the PG-friendly wrestling firm that gave them their first big gig, writing and directing this year's sequel to 2006 slasher flick See No Evil? Sylvia said, "I told my bosses at the studios what I was doing, and they laughed so hard." After all, this is the company that greenlit "an arthouse slasher with strong feminist undertones."
In between all this, the twins are also making their own anthology, the all-female XX; a second film for WWE Studios, Vendetta; and a 30-minute making-of for their four-minute ABCs segment. "We're filmmaking junkies," said Sylvia. "It's the only thing we're really good at, so when we get an opportunity, we go, 'Let's film this and let's take pictures of this and I'll cut this and add a little movie on the side.'"
ABCs of Death 2 premieres at Fantastic Fest and will be available on VOD on Oct. 2 and in theatres on Oct. 31. See No Evil 2 will be released on VOD Oct. 17 and on Blu-ray Oct. 21.