Features | Written by Martin Unsworth 04/10/2019

The Soska Sisters | RABID

After taking the horror world by storm, The Soska Sisters, Jen and Sylvia, have made their mark on the genre while staying staunchly independent. They’ve become a powerful force in horror as their take on the David Cronenberg classic Rabid shows. We caught up with them to discuss the remake… 

STARBURST: What was it that drew you to the Cronenberg classic?

Sylvia: we got an email and it literally said ‘do you want to remake David Cronenberg’s Rabid?’ I looked at Jen and said ‘did you see this?’

Jen: It was really early in the morning and the sun was just coming up and I thought ‘this is a sign’.

Sylvia: We did an interview the next day with these guys on Skype and they say they usually do religious movies and then they did a religious horror movie. They bought this script thinking it was about rabid dogs. That is until they presented the script to David Cronenberg, who let them know it was not! They asked him to be a producer but because of the script he didn’t want to be a part of it. So they Googled Cronenberg, and our names popped up.

Jen: He’s one of our greatest influences. We said yes…

Sylvia: …but the script was a little kooky…

Jen: I never say page one rewrite but I said I’m going to change the beginning, the ending, and switch the genders. I’m going to move the kills about and tweak the dialogue. And they said, ‘that’s a page one rewrite’ and no one likes to hear that! We ended up rewriting it 29 times!

Blimey! That must have gone down well…

Silvia: [Laughs] Yeah! So they asked us to explain what Cronenberg means - and it’s very complicated, very sexual.

Jen: I said thank god it’s not David Lynch as I couldn’t tell you what the movie’s about! [Laughs]

Sylvia: We explained it to them, and they said ‘how about you guys handle the creative and we’ll handle the money side’, which is the only way to do it for us.

Jen: We tried to explain what Transhumanism is and their eyes glazed over!

Sylvia: I’m traditionally not a fan of remakes, so we had to do something to respect David and to try to impress him.

Jen: And a lot of the fans don’t like them either, they get turned off by the idea of it. They usually end up saying ‘you’ve disrespected the original!’

Sylvia: But some people might not have seen his films, so we had to give it a go.

They’ll miss a lot of references if they don’t know Cronenberg…

Jen: There could be an Easter egg director’s commentary track. The biggest fans will be like ‘oh - there’s that - and that…’  The film is really a celebration of Cronenberg. There’s also five years of unanswered rage since American Mary.

There’s a lot of parallels between American Mary and Rabid

Sylvia: Absolutely! But Cronenberg’s original Rabid was so advanced. He anticipated stem cell manipulation.

Another person who influences the film is William Burroughs, when did you become aware of him?

Jen: It was through watching Naked Lunch. We found out he was David’s favourite author and now he’s mine - alongside Chuck Palahniuk.

Sylvia: We even have Burroughs in the film, as a voice on the radio.

We spotted that…

Sylvia: Yay! [Laughs] And he’s talking about vampires - I was so happy when we found that. I think you’ll get it better over here, as no one reads in America!

There’s a very obvious Dead Ringers reference in there - that seems to be the perfect film for you two…

Jen: Absolutely! We want to get the rights to do a Dead Ringers TV series, but gender-switch the roles. We need to get the Olsen twins to do it if we manage it!

Sylvia: If not, we’ll have to do it [Laughs]

Watch this space, then?

Jen & Sylvia: [Laughs] Definitely!

RABID is released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 7th.

Feature image: (c) Julie Edwards

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