The Twisted Twins burst onto the scene with their micro budget debut feature Dead Hooker in a Trunk and followed it up with their impressive sophomore effort American Mary. Their latest film See No Evil 2 is poised to hit VOD tomorrow and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on October 21st. The ladies were good enough to take a break from their busy schedule to speak with us about their new film. We got the lowdown on their experience working within the studio system for the first time, working with a script they didn’t write, and what we can expect from Painkiller Jane. *Spoilers ahead. Read with caution*
Their new film, See No Evil 2 directly follows the events of the first See No Evil picture. Jacob Goodnight is taken to the city morgue where he subsequently rises from the dead and begins another killing spree. This time, his victims include a medical student working in the morgue and a group of her friends that show up to surprise her for her birthday. The film stars Danielle Harris and Katharine Isabelle.
Wicked Horror: I really enjoyed See No Evil 2.
Sylvia Soska: I’m so happy. Thanks for watching it!
Jen Soska: Didn’t see that coming with Danielle did you?
WH: No, I did not. Was that in the original script?
SS: No. It was actually Michael Luisi from WWE. We started modifying it and collaborating. It as a very organic process once we came on board with the writers, Bobby Lee Darby and Nathan Brookes. Michael Luisi is such a cool creative producer. At one point he asked what this thing about a final girl? And we explained that she always makes it to the end. He asked if the final girl ever didn’t make it to the end and I told him that Danielle always makes it to the end. And then he told us that we could really upset people. Jen got really excited and wanted to Joss Whedon people. In her mind, it was like when Tara gets shot [on Buffy]. We went through a coupe of ideas for what Danielle’s death is going to be. We eventually decided that we we wanted a final boy. Seth is very much Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors meets Ash from Evil Dead. He’s a little bit nerdy but a lot sexy.
JS: He gets way sexier as the movie goes on. He’s a nerd in the beginning but by the end he’s covered in blood. Everyone keeps losing their clothes and they are down to their undershirts by the end of it. But as you watch it, they go through their final girl transformations. They get their tops taken off, they get covered in blood and Seth loses his glassed.
WH: This is your first studio picture to be released? How has the creative process differed from your experience making independent films? Obviously, you have to relinquish a certain amount of creative control to the studio but beyond that, what was your experience like?
SS: I felt like I had an army behind me at all times. With Dead Hooker in a Trunk, we had our cameras and we were literally running from the cops. The movie was funded by my parents refinancing their house and there were so many struggles. But with See No Evil, part of the reason they hired us was because they saw our independent movies. The other part was that there’s a whole audience of women that watch these movies that aren’t hearing their voices heard. There isn’t a reflection of the modern women in these kinds of movies. It’s a weird thing to say that See No Evil 2 is a very feminist film but it is.
JS: We are very proud to be the first female directors hired by WWE and the first ones to come back!
SS: Yeah! We came back for two jobs! It’s funny because everybody was asking what we were and were not allowed to do. And I was able to do so much more than what I thought I would be able to. They kept telling me to just go sit in my chair. And I kept trying to get coffee or do stuff like that. And they kept telling me that all I had to do was direct.
JS: As soon as we saw where we were going with the script and the direction we wanted to make it like a self aware 1980s slasher film. We have Katie saying dialogue like ‘This is a horrible hiding spot!’ It’s very much the eyes of the audience. I think cell phones have really done a disservice to horror movies because you have to figure out why they aren’t just calling the police.
SS: Because it would be a boring movie. They show up and it’s done.
WH: I definitely picked up on the meta spin that you put on the movie. It’s like an ’80s slasher with a dose of Cabin in the Woods style self awareness thrown in.
SS: Ahhhh! We love you. That’s such a compliment. I love me some Joss.
JS: Oh, me too!
WH: I know you do. I’ve seen your Tumblr feed.
JS: Laughs We’re sorry. It’s all body mod, horror, and Buffy.
WH: I’m curious to know how it feels to direct something that you didn’t write? Do you think that being distanced from the screenplay allows you to be more objective?
SS: It was really cool because we did get to put so much of ourselves into it. It was so multi collaborative. I have had the biggest fangirl crush on Danielle Harris since I was little. And every time she spoke I was like ‘OK, Amy’s gonna talk like this and Amy’s going to do this now.’ I wanted Danielle to be in there. She’d look around and she would tell us where she would go and what she would use as a weapon. So we would move things and rework things on her suggestion.
JS: I like directing other people’s stuff. You will always see stuff from us in there. That’s just the way it is. It was kind of cool because I would never have written a script where they go to a morgue and throw a surprise birthday party. That’s so funny. I was like ‘That’s such a stupid idea! I love it!’
WH: The film avoids a lot of the typical cliches, features smarter than average characters for a horror picture, and goes in some unpredictable directions. How much of that was your influence?
JS: It was always going in that direction but we wanted it to be more self aware. There are so many slasher movie tropes that we go through and play them up and make it very self aware. We also wanted to take some expectations and just crush them. You see that most likely with how we kill the final girl and the way that you kill the final girl. When you watch it the second time, you really realize that this is Seth’s story and it’s a love story about Seth. When he loses Amy, there’s no question that he would have happily died for her. And that’s how his transformation happens. As soon as that happens, he is able to fight Jacob. It’s nice to have given him a Patricia Arquette in True Romance moment where he says ‘You’re not so tough.’ and he stabs him in his femora artery.
SS: There’s a lot of dialogue that foreshadows at what happens. For example when Amy is patching Seth up in the embalming room and she says that everybody dies. And it’s like ‘Yep. Everybody does die.’
WH: I noticed a deliberate shift in tone and and level of violence in See No Evil 2 when compared to the first one. There’s not the same level of graphic eye-ripping violence, which I appreciated because it kind of grossed me out in the first film.
JS: [Laughs] Everybody got their eyes gouged out in the first movie and after a while it became white noise. I tuned out. It was like, you have to be a little bit more creative about it. It almost felt to me like Margaret Goodnight was the villain in the first movie and Jacob was kind of doing everything under her wing. But the thing was that he accidentally killed her at the end of the movie. Now he’s a single guy, coming of age. He doesn’t really understand social relationships and he’s kind of figuring out how to kill people as he finds different weapons. It isn’t until the very end until he accepts that he’s the ‘Hand of God’ killer that he found his way. He had to mutilate a few kids first, though. We also did that to piss off fans of the first one so they are sitting there at the very end complaining that we didn’t gouge anyone’s eyes out. But then we have this really nasty gouging scene at the end.
WH: That’s a good assessment that Jacob was a mouthpiece for his mother.
SS: Thank you. A lot of people were wondering how we were going to bring him back. But he doesn’t know quite why he’s alive either. Since we don’t give away all the answers, then we have something to talk about in See No Evil 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7.
JS: The original came so long ago that this was like our opportunity to introduce everyone to Jacob Goodnight.
WH: You laid some good groundwork for sure. So, tell us a little bit about Painkiller Jane and some of your other projects coming down the pipeline.
SS: We just finished our first action movie which we also did with WWE and LionsGate called Vendetta. That’s starring Dean Cain, The Big Show, Paul Wight, and Michael Eklund. It’s basically a Punisher movie. It’s our first action movie. It takes place entirely in a men’s prison. It’s so violent. It’s just an a**-kick fest.
JS: If you were to tell me before we went into production that Dean Cain is the baddest mother f**ker I would work with, I would have laughed right in your face. But every day, he had a variety of fight sequences. He got his a** handed to him and he was giving as good as he was getting. There’s this scene where he fights like eight guys. We just kept pushing and pushing and pushing him. I remember I was standing with my DP and watching Dean Cain and I was thinking that he actually looked insane. It’s kind of like the boy version of American Mary. You take this good cop who is a great guy and you watch everything taken away from him and he breaks more and more and more. It’s an interesting commentary on villains and what makes a bad guy versus a good guy. In this film, you follow him through all these terrible things but everything he does is redeemable because he was totally justified.
SS: We just got back from New York Comic Con. We were talking about Painkiller Jane there. There are some exciting things coming up right now. Jane has to be Jane. We can’t have little waif show up who punches people and has the stunt guys fall down for her. We need a girl with a six pack that’s tough and scary. She needs to be the kind of girl that if you spilled her beer, you would apologize and ask her if you could buy her a keg. Jane was a badass before her super powers. I really would like to see a female superhero properly represented. Not just to be eye candy but to be someone that you could believe would be powerful. And there’s BOB. Our boy Bob. Our monster movie. We keep pushing it forward.
JS: I think because people are really excited for what we are doing right now, so it might actually be Bob’s time right now. I think that if we keep talking about it, someone will tell us to just make it.
WH: Thanks so much for talking with us. It’s always a pleasure!
JS and SS: Thank you!