Known for pushing the boundaries of film and feminism, Jen and Sylvia Soska exploded onto the scene by flipping and reclaiming narratives. Whether you know them from American Mary, their work with WWE Studios, hosting Hellevator, or their installment of Black Widow comics for Marvel, they have certainly touched almost every aspect of the genre domain.
Coming from the indie comics world myself, where zines, karaoke, and pro wrestling are all enjoyed in equal rhythm – watching the projects the twins take on feels like watching a version of a life I’ve fantasized about. The unique perspective of these two powerhouses is incredibly vital, making it so hard for me to boil down and express concisely. No clear way to sum up just how much earth they have moved, how much easier they’ve made it for those coming in to get a genuinely weird story made. But I have found myself circling back to their recent remake of Rabid as a tool for explaining why their point of view is both necessary and relatable.
It’s hard to call their version of Rabid a “remake” as it seems to be more of a continuation of an idea - the first line of the film even cheekily states, “why do we keep remaking old trends?” It and its predecessor have parallel lines and themes that seem to bounce off of each other. Both have reoccurring instances of class and beauty, and main characters coming to terms with what it means to feel like a monster.
Each Rose is allowed to be messy, have their own moral compass, be handled rough by the world, and still try and make their own decisions. But the sisters took this base, and expanded. Whereas the first Rabid uses female sexuality as a trap for both the woman inhabiting her body in a dangerous world, and how her body is used to ensnare others; the second Rabid folds in the weight of suffering in silence and the coping mechanisms of dealing with humiliation and shame. Highlighting the experience of being manipulated, your life being steered from behind your back, the Soska’s Rose (Laura Vandervoort) wants to make her own choices, live her own life, and at every turn there is a well-meaning friend or lover meddling. It’s especially poignant when her doctor gaslights her. Poking at a common thread between Cronenberg and the Soska’s, doctors playing god and wielding their power over helpless patients. The feeling of being controlled by men is never far away.
Needing to have her own life, but also recognizing she’s a danger, Rose tries to take her life back into her own hands, by sacrificing herself – a story so many women can relate to. When our bad days have us feeling like monsters, we’re more prone to isolate, sit in silence, feel humiliated, and try to push away the love and support of others. It’s this side of the coin the Soska’s highlight in a way that feels genuine to my own experience, grappling with my anxiety and self-identity can take monstrous zigs and zags and feel as if I’ve been turned inside out. It’s a treasure to be able to relate to such a gruesome feeling, knowing it is something that can be shared.
Taking what you love and making your own authentic version of it is true art. And that’s what the Soska’s do not only here, but in their ability to traverse the industry. Never ones to back down, the stories they choose to tell are incredibly important and original, striking a chord with outsiders of all shapes and sizes. And the authenticity with which they tell these stories is astounding – the attention to detail and determination to represent something empathetically is so integral to the female gaze. Watching their stories feels like coming home, the importance of what they have to say always resonating. Thankful for what they have done so far, and full of anticipation for what they will be doing next, the industry is forever changed by The Twisted Twins and we’re all better for it.
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