INTERVIEWS

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Vendetta
By James Whittington, Thursday 19th March 2020
Vengeance Season on Horror contains the UK TV premiere of Vendetta, the superb all-male maelstrom of mayhem from Jen and Sylvia Soska. We chatted to these incredible talented creatives about this action-packed thriller and what they have planned for the future.

HC: Have you always been wrestling fans and if so, when growing up, who were your faves?

Sylvia: We got introduced to wrestling during the epic Kane brother storyline during the Undertaker and Heartbreak Kid feud that led to the first ever Hell in a Cell. I mean after that kind of an introduction; how doesn't the magic of wrestling have your heart for the rest of your life? If it isn't obvious, I'm a Shawn Michaels fan.

Jen: Undertaker is, was, and will always be my man. I love the Undertaker. I loved the theatrical, gimmick type super stars. Undertaker, Kane, any character played by Mick Foley, and now I'm big time into Bray Wyatt. I love everything he's been doing. I've always wished they'd eventually have a female superstar like that. One day...

HC: When did you first hear about the film, Vendetta?

Sylvia: We had a very successful union with Lionsgate and WWE Studios with our Glenn 'Kane' Jacobs, Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle, and Kaj Erik-Eriksen starring See No Evil 2. They were doing an action series called the action six pack, and Vendetta was to be the first of those size films. We were first pick for it even though it was our first action film, all of our films have had some of the best stunt people in the world working on it, this was the natural next step.

Jen: Immediately after See No Evil 2. WWE studios and Lionsgate were both very happy with us and the film was very successful. They wanted to find something new for us and we'd been wanting to do an action movie for some time. An action movie is just a horror movie where you don't care about who dies, you're more cheering for the hero to kick everyone's ass. Lionsgate was starting off their action six pack with WWE studios and they wanted to start strong so we were called in.

HC: You've got a cool cast including Dean Cain and Big Show, two very different people with presumably very different approaches to acting. How much input did they have into their characters?

Sylvia: It's funny that you should say that because they are both seasoned vets in their own respects with a history in sports with great senses of humor and ridiculously dedicated work ethics. It was such a dream come true for a director to have that kind of talent to be the engine to tell this revenge story, but also to have two actors who are so into what you're creating that they completely commit to bringing these larger than life characters to the screen.

Jen: You'd be surprised. Both Dean and Paul are incredibly disciplined and dedicated performers. Both went above and beyond for this film. WWE really limits the creative input from their superstars who are all naturally very creative people so it was important for us to give Big Show especially room to play. His tattoo, "Not To Be F****d With" (or for the kiddies, "Not To Be Fooled With") shown across his chest as the letters N T B F W were his idea. It actually looked so great on there I had hoped he'd get it tattooed on. He still might, ha ha. Dean was 100% down to be a bad guy. His character, Mason Danvers, is such a good guy at the start of the film, and then he loses everything. Dean was ready to get dark. Good guys play wonderful badasses.

HC: It has a traditional plot about a cop out for revenge but has a cool twist, do you think it's that which separates it from other similar themed movies?

Sylvia: It's funny because we really just look at it as The Punisher vs The Kingpin in prison. It's even a set up that has been done in the comics, but you add these delicious dark moments and now you have something that sticks in your memory.

Jen: It's our style. It's our version of a Punisher movie with Dean as Frank Castle and Big Show as the Kingpin. For such a dark, violent film, it's a lot of fun. It's part Punisher, part I Saw The Devil. The hero becomes a killer by the end. If you saw the prequel to Vendetta (not yet made), you'd see everything Big Show went through to become who he is and you'd be on his side. You just happen to catch up with the story with Mason/Dean, so you're on his side. Good and bad is all very relative and the good guys and bad guys often have those lines get fuzzy.

HC: Where was the movie shot?

Sylvia: Same place as See No Evil 2 if you'd believe it. The partially open, partially open for film location rental, Riverside Psychiatric Hospital.

Jen: A partial closed haunted asylum. Where else?

HC: There are some amazing fight scenes, how difficult was it to choreograph those?

Sylvia: We have been blessed with being able to work with the very best in the business when it comes to stunts. On SNE2, Kimani Smith was our stunt coordinator who we brought back for Vendetta. He brought on Dan Rizzuto as our fight coordinator. We hired stunt actors and actors with fighting experience so we could keep the action level high and looking realistic.

Jen: Very and also incredibly easy. Kimani Smith and Dan Rizzuto, both filmmakers themselves as well, headed up our stunt and fight choreography. They trained hard. Our stunt team was superb. Uki, who did the shower fight against Dean, is a good friend and I'd been dying to work with him for ages. I'm really so proud of our entire team. An action movie shot in only 15 days. That's insane. That takes incredible talent and an unstoppable team.

HC: Did you approach the movie differently to your first few movies as its classed as a different genre to those?

Sylvia: It's astonishing how much work Jen and I can get done on a production. Every film up until this point, was shot in 15 days, Vendetta was no exception. We had a challenging box to work within, but the cast and the crew are our army who killed it. We prepared a lot and made smart calls when those plans fell through. We shot very very fast.

Jen: We spilt up to pick up pieces. I'd go back to shoot some inserts with a B unit or add more practical blood some place. We had to move fast and be very decisive. We never get pick up days or reshoots. Once the train has left the station, there's no turning back.

HC: It's got quite a soundtrack; were there any tracks you couldn't get to use?

Sylvia: We got to reteam with the fabulous Newton Brothers who did the music on See No Evil 2 and have been doing the music for Mike Flanagan for years. LOVE those talented gentlemen. Complete class acts.

Jen: Yes. There was an alternative opening credit sequence we shot and sound tracked by Kevvy that we really loved. It was a beautiful way to set the tone of the film before smashing into cityscapes, but we lost that battle. I still have it saved away somewhere. The credits were shots on black of Dean and Big Show showing how they're the same, even at the start.

HC: As you've said. this was your second movie for WWE would you do another, and which wrestler would you like to work with?

Sylvia: We've been trying to make a film with Bray Wyatt for years now! We are going to keep trying. We're writing an action buddy comedy for Phil Brooks - loved working with him on Rabid. The guy is a total movie star.

Jen: The artist formerly known as Goldust, Dustin Rhodes. I'd love to work with Nattie, too. It would be cool to work with Undertaker, and Mick Foley, and Steve Austin, too. Oh, and the Miz and Mrs Miz are so sweet. There will always be a place for a wrestler or two in our films. They're just the most dedicated performers.

HC: Do you still get a buzz when you see your names on screen?

Sylvia: I feel like we're fans first and filmmakers second, so it's always a surreal humbling and cool moment to see how we're a part of the things we love now.

Jen: Always. It's the girlhood dream fulfilled. I'm always gonna be a fan first. Getting to make movies for fellow fans fills me with so much pride. It's a huge honour and I'm grateful for every opportunity.

HC: This is your third movie to appear on the Horror Channel and it's a UK TV premiere, you must be happy with that?

Sylvia: You have absolutely spoiled us since our beginning, and we couldn't be more grateful for the foundation you've given us to build a career on! May all our films play on the glorious Horror Channel for all time!

Jen: Yes! We LOVE the Horror Channel and its viewers! Horror Channel has been the first place to really support us and believe in us like no other. We do play favourites and the Horror Channel is it. Thank you for having us!

HC: So, what are you working on next?

Sylvia: Our own graphic novel that we;ve been playing with since we were kids. There's a really cool partner that we would be honoured to collaborate with on that we're hoping we can connect with. There's a really wild film that isn't a script from us, but it's a new side of us that we would love to share with audiences.

Jen: We're making BOB right now. We're casting and it's been a long journey on that one. We're working with Martin Katz (who's produced David Cronenberg's most recent films) and Karen Wookey of Prospero Pictures. Finally, the right team for this film that we've been trying to get made since American Mary. Our long-time fans will be over the moon to know BOB is finally happening. It's an original script from us about trauma and the monsters we carry with us from our most nightmarish survival stories.

HC: Jen and Sylvia, thank you very much

Vendetta is showing on Horror April 4th as part of Vengeance Season.


Related show tags: SEE NO EVIL 2, VENDETTA
MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Mickey Fisher 1

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Gary J. Tunnicliffe doing SFX make-up on the set of Hellraiser Judgement

Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.

HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?

GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Director Chee Keong Cheung

Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?

CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
DAWN_OF_THE_DEAD_3D_BD_SLIPCASE_PACK_ (1)

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Concrete Plans poster

Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.

Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!

HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?

SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020
SHAYNE WARD NEW PROMO HEADSHOT 2020-6

A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.

HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?

SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Fried Barry

Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?

RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
thumbnail_Brandon Blood

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?

DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
FAITH MONIQUE INTERVIEW PHOTO

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
CHARLIE STEEDS EDITED-23

Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.

HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?

CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Nicholas Santos, writer and director of It Cuts Deep
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
It Cuts Deep Image 2

At Grimmfest we're used to comedy horror but none as well written as It Cuts Deep from writer/director Nicholas Santos. Here he chats about this true dissection of a romance going terribly wrong.

HC: Have you always been a big horror fan?

NS: I've been a big horror fan since I was a little kid. Some of my favourite childhood memories are seeing Event Horizon with my dad when I was in second grade, being absolutely terrified by Chucky from Child's Play at every waking moment and watching Psycho for the first time on VHS when I was 7 years old.

HC: Where did the idea for It Cuts Deep come from and did it take long to write?

NS: It Cuts Deep is a hor...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Robert Woods, director of An Ideal Host
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
Robert Woods

Ever had the dinner party from Hell with people you don't really relate to and seem alien? Well this is the premise of the the hilarious horror comedy An Ideal Host from director Robert Woods. Here he tells Horror about this cracking movie.

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it and what made you decide that this would be your first project as a director?

RW: Tyler and I had been writing theatre together for a decade, but movies are our first love and we wanted to give it a crack as well. Tyler came up with the initial idea but we worked on the story together and it evolved a great deal from the initial pitch. As it was my first time directing, I think we were j...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
FirstBorn
FIRSTBORN
Friday 21st May
9.00 PM
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH
Monday 24th May
10.50 PM
Star Trek: Enterprise
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE
Wednesday 26th May
7.00 PM