Back in the late 1970s and early ’80s, when exploitation movies were in vogue, a movie title like Dead Hooker In A Trunk would have fit right onto the marquees of sleazy drive-in theaters and seedy grindhouse venues that played such classy gems as Cannibal Holocaust and I Spit On Your Grave.

Today, however, such a shamelessly tasteless and provocative title is more taboo than ever, but that’s what makes Dead Hooker (currently available on IFC Midnight’s Video On Demand service) so much fun—it’s batshit in ways most modern-day films are too reserved to emulate. Aside from its titular call girl corpse, the midnight-dark comedy features a cowboy pimp, an Oldboy-esque scene in which a guy’s teeth are assaulted with a drill and an icepick, a pipe smashing a girl’s head so hard that one of her eyeballs shoots out, spilled intestines, and a little girl shooting her father to death with a handgun, amongst other insanity.

Now here’s the best part: Dead Hooker In A Trunk comes from the minds of two sexy and morbidly inventive twin sisters, stars/writers/directors Jen and Sylvia Soska. Paid for with credit cards and shot with minimal resources two years ago, the Canadian siblings’ passion project has worked its way up from word-of-mouth buzz to various genre film festivals; last month, Dead Hooker In A Trunk reached its highest plateau when IFC Midnight picked it up for the company’s VOD platform (special midnight theatrical screenings are in the works). Not bad for a super-low-budget and wonderfully insane horror-comedy from a couple of rookie filmmakers.

To top it all off, the Soska Sisters are also really hot. And, as you’re about to find out, they’re quite funny, as well as legitimate gorehounds and promising young filmmakers. Complex recently spoke with the duo behind Twisted Twins Productions about Dead Hooker, skull-fucking, Britney Spears’ awful film career, how they once upgraded Quentin Tarantino’s birthday, and their film’s positive message. Let’s pop the trunk!

Interview by Matt Barone (@mbarone)

Complex: Full disclosure here: The main thing that prompted me to see Dead Hooker In A Trunk was the title. I ended up really digging it, but still—that’s one hell of a title.
Sylvia Soska: [Laughs.] No worries! That means we did our job. When we first came up with the title, Grindhouse was still in theaters, and we were so inspired by the fake trailers. We’ve also always been inspired by Robert Rodriguez, because not only does he make these gritty, cool movies, he also tells you exactly how to do it for super-cheap. So we were walking out of the theater and Jen turns to me and says, “Dead Hooker In A Trunk! That’s the title of what our short film should be, but I have no idea about anything else.” I was like, “OK, Dead Hooker In A Trunk sounds good to me.” And then we just started building from there.

Do you have any idea where that title came from, Jen?
Jen Soska: Well, we initially started off as actors, so at that time, as far as being directors and writers, we were completely unknown, and still are, really. [Laughs.] In this digital revolution now, though, literally anyone can make a film. So I wanted to pick a title that would stand out, be unforgettable, and would instill a strong, emotional reaction, whether it be positive or negative. And I knew it was going to involve a hooker, and, it’s silly to say, but I knew the hooker had to be dead, and the “in the trunk” just sounded nice.

I wanted it to be better than Hobo With A Shotgun. I’m not gonna say that it’s better because I completely respect Jason Eisener [director of Hobo], and he’s such an inspiration to us, but I’m very happy with Dead Hooker In A Trunk.

Sylvia: It’s actually really cool, because we got to screen Dead Hooker with Hobo With A Shotgun at a couple of theaters and that was such a fucking thrill.

Jen: I think I’ve always had a hooker fixation. Have you see that movie Four Rooms? Robert Rodriguez’s fourth vignette, “Misbehavior,” with Antonio Banderas, has a dead hooker in a mattress, and I just thought that was the funniest thing. [Laughs.]

Sylvia: A dead hooker in a mattress is the funniest thing? [Laughs.]

Jen: Hell yeah! We should have done Dead Hooker In A Mattress!

Sounds like you have the sequel all figured out.
Jen: [Laughs.] I think you’re right!

It reminds me a lot of how Roger Corman used to come up with crazy movie titles just to design posters and then worry about writing actual scripts after that.
Jen: Absolutely. All we knew for sure was that we were going to have a dead hooker somewhere, and, at one point, she would have to be in a trunk. We both loved the movie Weekend At Bernie’s when we were little, so we thought this would be Weekend At Bernie’s if Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino made it.

Sylvia: A little bit of a more grown-up one, though. Also, we really hate the term “chick flick,” and we really hated that Britney Spears movie Crossroads; we saw that and both said, “This is a terrible, terrible movie—we need to make a road trip movie with crazy women that do crazy shit and don’t just sit around and wait for a boyfriend.” So, thus, we have a dead hooker in a trunk. [Laughs.]

Wow, I can honestly say that I didn’t expect to hear a Crossroads reference in this interview, whatsoever.
Sylvia: [Laughs.] Yeah, it’s the anti-Crossroads. They play similarly. Maybe we’ll get a double screening somewhere.

Imagine that. Backtracking a little bit, did you two grow up watching all of those old-school grindhouse, exploitation movies?
Sylvia: Absolutely. It’s so funny, back in the day when video stores were still flourishing, we had a local one that had a big horror movie section, and it was all designed like it was Halloween inside of the store, with crazy props and decorations. Jen and I would stay there; that would be our main hangout. We’d go around looking at the cases and seeking out anything that looked scary or gory, and then we’d beg our parents to let us watch it.

 
Originally, because we first made [Dead Hooker] as a trailer, we didn’t even think about how you get from point A to point B; like, 'How do we get to the skull-f*ck thing? I don’t know, but it sure does sound insane!' —Jen Soska
 

The first movie we ever saw was Poltergeist; we made it all the way through, even though we were only 10 years old. And then it was bed-time, so we got scared. The coolest thing was that our mom sat us down and told us what we’d actually just seen, like the prosthetics, the director, the script. She said, “Everything that you saw was slaved at by very talented artists with the intention of scaring you.” And that just blew our little minds. I thought, “Wait a minute, this is all make-believe, and everyone’s in on the joke? That’s amazing!”

Since then, we’ve been horror junkies. We try to see everything that we possibly can. Our favorite kinds of exploitation ones are the Russ Meyer’s ones, with the really sexy women and all of that craziness.

Jen: I heard that Quentin Tarantino bought the rights to Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, but if he doesn’t want it, I’d love to do that. Those movies are fucking insane! [Laughs.] We should get Quentin Tarantino drunk one night and try to get it off of him!

I’d love to be there and see that happen. Dead Hooker In A Trunk seems like a movie that Quentin Tarantino would love. Do you know if he’s seen it yet?
Sylvia: Well, after the movie was done, we sent the trailer to all of the directors involved with the Grindhouse project, just to let them know that their movie had so inspired us to make our own. And we started it as a fake trailer before it ever became a feature.

Weirdly enough, a few days later—we never really expected to hear back from anyone—Eli Roth reached out, told us that he loved the trailer, and asked if he could see a full-length film, so we sent it over, and through that we became really good friends. He gave us a lot of good advice. I think it was last year, or the year before, Quentin Tarantino got Dead Hooker In A Trunk as his birthday present. No idea what he thought about it yet, but I hope he dug it.

Jen: What do you get the man who has pretty much everything?

A dead hooker, clearly.
Jen: [Laughs.] Exactly!

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