The passionate and resourceful soul known as Hannah Neurotica had never imagined her little personal blogs and DIY 'zine she created years ago, would evolve into what is currently.
This month marks the auspicious 7th Annual Women in Horror Month ( WiHM ) the brainchild of Hannah, which spawned from her manifesto in 2010. This writing proclaiming February as the official month recognizing female genre contributors. The honest and heartfelt observations and opinions were followed with statements obviously laced with frustration. In an interview with 3A.M. Magazine, explaining her manifesto, Hannah shared the following
"Hey f#%kers, we are fans too, we are working under the radar, we deserve recognition."
The popularity of the original Ax Wound : Gender and the Horror Genre zine grew incredibly. Taking on the publication and distribution themes similar to old school Punk and the unrepentant Riot Grrrrl scenes, Ax Wound was a handcrafted source of essays, interviews, art and promotion of horrors derived from female creators. The cut and paste publication, named after the derogatory term for a menstruating you know what, was welcomed by many in the community and not just the ladies may I add.
Many cite Ax Wound as the "first feminist horror publication." The handmade zine and accompanying blogs by Hannah quickly gained her some allies within the industry. Using her creation as a valued platform, Hannah helped gain some notoriety for Viscera Film Festival, which since 2007, annually showcases genre productions led by women, also lending the opportunity to network.
In the first year celebrated, WiHM won the 2010 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for 'Best Fan Event'. The following two years, earning nominations for the same category. Hannah's success, I believe, comes from her genuine love of horror and her desire to create a continually growing community of like minded individuals. Ax Wound and WiHM literally started off as an emotional endeavor to promote the works of fellow women with a crafty, handmade written forum. This being backed by legitimate literary talent and impressive knowledge covering both classic and contemporary happenings in horror. Hannah's style and efforts attracted the attention and praise of a few legendary filmmakers. The Godfather of Gore himself was quoted below!
"Well it's about time! What a pleasure to see a genuine feminist horror zine that also is literate, informative, and --get this -- cleverly written. Hannah, I'm your admirer. So put me at the top of your list of fans." -Herschell Gordon Lewis
In it's seventh year, WiHM has seen considerable growth in participation of fans and industry professionals partaking in various events honoring the feminine horror additions. Everything from podcasts, screenings, displays, workshops, and art shows are enjoyed worldwide. Massive Blood Drives are initiated in conjunction with the monthly celebrations, spearheaded by the Twisted Twins, Jen and Sylvia Soska. They give back to the numerous communities where these Blood Drives take place, replenishing the volumes of life saving liquid at Blood Banks, as well as providing various cinematic opportunities with the short PSAs created to help spread the message.
In under a decade WiHM has become a strong advocate for a group that desperately needed one. Adding to the global influence already possessed, Hannah introduced the Ax Wound Film Festival ( AWFF ). The inaugural AWFF was held in Brattleboro, VT last October. The festival welcomed entries from around the world for lady led productions, Fangoria helping sponsor the Fest.
The examples of determination, equality, creativity, and sense of community that Hannah demonstrate are nearly unreal. A perfect poster child for seeing your fight through, and continuing to grow with the cause when need be and realizing the significant strides that have been achieved, the strides still sought after. The power of one, in this instance, was more than adequate to ignite an 'awakening'. In some cases perhaps, a voice was established because of Hannah's work. A sort of rally cry which was heard, and resonated deeply within many.
"Heather Neurotica is a testament to the internets invaluable power." -complex.com
I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. Her fiery need to champion female horror filmmakers coupled with her rare tenacity, is exactly why her manifesto not only became a reality, but ultimately her destiny.
Help us celebrate the amazing films directed by women. Produced and written, as well as photographed by women. The female fine artists and the make up artists. The industry executives and special effects teams. The entertainment journalists. Last but not least, all the female fans that adore horror. Because every successful woman in the industry, was simply a fan in the beginning.