Twisted sisters stick the knife into their latest film American Mary

15 April, 2013 by Rodney Appleyard

The Soska sisters in American Mary 

American Mary follows a medical student, called Mary Mason, who becomes disenchanted with the surgical world she once loved. Following her desire for easy money, she leaves medical school and is lured into the corrupt world of underground surgery.


 Soon afterwards, she finds herself executing a series of bizarre and gruelling emergency surgeries and is left traumatised by the actions of one of the more experienced surgeons. This leads her to take revenge, with horrific consequences.

The movie received critical acclaim last year from a number of high profile horror film festivals, including the Film4 FrightFest in the UK, the Toronto After Dark Festival and the Monster Fest in Australia.

The Canadian Soska sisters said they came up with the storyline, which they wrote, directed and acted in (including the stunts), at a time when they were experiencing severe difficulties with their own lives.

"When we wrote it, we were struggling after making Dead Hooker in a Trunk, before its release," recalls Sylvia Soska. "In fact, we were very poor, starving, meeting monsters in the industry and having all sorts of personal troubles.

"But the script was very therapeutic – we put everything we were going through and ourselves into that story, using mainstream medicine versus body modification as analogies for the mainstream film industry versus the horror scene."

They were also motivated to write this film after being fascinated about the body modification culture when they stumbled upon it years ago. So they decided to research more thoroughly into the subject matter. "In the end, we wanted to shift people's opinions on appearances on the surface, as well as one person's struggle for success."

"The body modification community is largely misunderstood and seems to be the subject of modern day witch hunts. It makes no sense to me that cosmetic surgery is fully accepted, whereas body modification (such as making sexual enhancements) is ridiculed. We wanted to educate people on body mod. It is also a perfect vessel for telling our story."

Their debut movie, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, which was inspired by Grindhouse, directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, also received critical acclaim when it was released in 2009. This amusing horror movie is about a group of friends who discover a dead hooker in their trunk, but they find it much harder to dispose of the body in real life, as compared to the movies.

 Following the success of this film, they contacted every director they could to drum up support for American Mary. One of the people who responded was Eli Roth, who played a big part in helping them to get the film off the ground.

The twisted sisters are big horror fans and the film features a number of gruesome revenge killings. In particular, they have deliberately included strong female characters to do some "serious ass-kicking," as they describe it. "One of Mary's victims ends up with an apparatus in her mouth that is used for spreading vaginas, which is a special way to finish him off," adds Sylvia Soska.

They have also deliberately killed off blondes very easily in the movie, which they claim is inspired by Hitchcock's theory that: "blondes make the best victims."

"It has nothing to do with us being raven heads," adds Sylvia Solska. "It just happens for some reason. The script writes itself and suddenly the blondes are all dead and mutilated. I don't know what happens. It's my Mac – it just hates blondes."

The sisters deliberately decided to avoid using CGI effects in the movie because they are such big fans of practical effects, in particular the work of Todd Masters, who owns MastersFX.

Masters' company has been responsible for creating a number of award-winning effects for many Hollywood films and series in the past, including Underworld, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, True Blood and Six Feet Under.

The opportunity to work with MastersFX was a dream come true for the pair, who were particularly delighted when Masters showed them his secret stash of fake prosthetic penises when they asked him for a special kind of genital for American Mary.

The next film they are working on is called Bob. It is a monster horror film, which stars an effeminate man who gets even with his persecutor by committing a rape revenge. The sisters have written the script, which features werewolves, vampires and zombies, specifically with MastersFX in mind because they are so keen to work with the company again. Stylistically, the twisted sisters say it will look like a cross between American Mary and Dead Hooker in a Trunk, which should please their growing army of fans.

 In January, American Mary was released theatrically in the UK.

Check out the trailer here:

This article first appeared in IF Magazine Issue #151