Interview: Shout! Factory’s Jordan Fields Says Soskas Are Only Filmmakers Capable of Remaking Rabid
It’s been over a month since we reported that Shout! Factory had secured distribution rights to the remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid, currently neck-deep into pre-production. The project is being written and directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary), considered masters and innovators of 21st Century body horror.
We recently brought you an exclusive interview with the “Twisted Twins” where we talked about Cronenberg, transhumanism, and everything they were at liberty to discuss about Rabid. We also caught up with Jordan Fields, Vice President of Acquisitions at Shout! Factory, to discuss release plans for Rabid, and what makes the Soskas the “only” filmmakers for the job.
Jordan Fields: Our entry into horror began when we started up our Scream Factory division. Scream Factory was established to be a home for the reissuing of classic horror on disc. For several years we tried to build a reputation for reissuing these beloved horror titles fans wanted. They were remastered beautifully and delivered with a new level of online fan engagement that the community wanted, loved, and responded to. Over the years, after we earned a certain level of credibility with the fans, we leveraged that credibility to position ourselves as curators for what’s new and cool in horror. That’s when we started acquiring new horror films. But we continue releasing classic titles in very fan-friendly ways.
DC: What are your plans for the future? Will you be doing more theatrical releases like Rabid?
JF: Over the past few years, we’ve been acquiring films with an eye towards distributing them across all platforms, including theatrical and the various downstream windows: DVD, transaction, and television. A few years ago, we launched an initiative to get involved in original productions. It made sense to release it through Scream Factory since that’s where we built our community, and our first original was Fender Bender. It had a contemporary setting but was a throwback to 1980s-era slasher films that we’re fans of here, and that we’ve released successfully on disc. That was a great experience and making a film we enjoyed whetted our appetite to produce more original features. It was about this time that the opportunity to produce Rabid came along.
DC: Perfect Segway! How did Rabid end up at Shout! Factory?
JF: What happened was a couple years ago I contacted a guy named John Boudet who’s the owner of Sommerville House which controls rights to a library that included Rabid. I had just heard that a remake was in the works and, to be honest, I was more interested in acquiring the rights for the original film. We ended up licensing his library and releasing titles like Rabid and Black Christmas in collectors’ editions. and a couple of months later the producer of the remake, Michael Walker, asked if we’d be interested in distributing the remake. Again, at that time our appetite for new features was growing and I read the script. It was super sharp, sexy, scary. I was already a big fan of the Soskas’ previous work, especially American Mary. I knew the Scream Factory team would knock this one out of the park, so it just made sense to be the home for this movie.
JF: Those sisters are forces of nature. They’re such an incredible team; they’re really among the most horror-literate filmmakers I’ve ever met. They’re a complete blast to hang out with. They have an enormous amount of creative energy that they’re bringing to Rabid. They’re uniquely capable of bringing to Rabid with the kind of detected intelligence and ferocious Id that made Cronenberg’s films so disturbing. They’re the only filmmakers for this film, in my opinion.
DC: Your excitement it contagious—pun intended!
JF: One of the things that also attracted us to this project was the degree to which the Soskas are partners in the marketing and promotion of their work. They’re online, they’re engaged, they have a tremendous following and an insane amount of energy that will drive our marketing and PR campaign.
DC: Fantastic! Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
JF: After I met the Soskas, I sent them this New York Times article about stem cell therapy. It was a cautionary tale about stem cell therapy gone horribly wrong. People went through treatment and suffered in some terrible ways when those cells mutated. So, Rabid uses that premise as a launchpad into a truly worst-case scenario, and I think that’s current, relevant, and going to be really exciting to fans. To borrow the title of another movie: There Will Be Blood.