Cat: Since I’ve heard about “Woman In Horror Month”, it caught my attention. Tell us how it got started.
Hannah Neurotica: Women in Horror Month was started out of my own frustration with how media and, well, people in general, perceived the relationship between women and the horror genre and horror film industry. In 2009 I was invited to be on a CBC radio segment about this very subject along side Jovanka Vuckovic (filmmaker, writer) and Aviva Briefel (writer/film studies professor). The producer of the show spoke with me on the phone before the live show and expressed her shock that there truly was a female fan base for horror. She said something along the lines of: “really!? Wow. I just never would have guessed.” My first reaction: here is a woman who works in media every day and yet this is shocking. If she is in the business and is blind to women’s taste in film or even entertaining the notion that women could like genre films, then what does that say about someone who does not work in media? I have no idea if there is a correlation but it spoke volumes to me. To be clear, I wasn’t angry at her, clearly this is a wide spread and pervasive notion. However, I was upset and annoyed at the situation. It was like everything just came to a head at that point. I have been making a feminist horror magazine for years so I just had it bubbling up for a long time. It was deeper then just women being recognized as fans of horror but also the idea that women are still pigeonholed into only being able to like “girl” manufactured entertainment. It just felt like I needed to do something. So, I wrote a blog post with a call to action and the rest is history.
Cat: How was the response in the horror community after the start?
Hannah: The response was unlike anything I could have ever fucking imagined. I mean, we are now in our fourth year and I never would have comprehended something like this happening. It’s a beautiful example of the power each one of us has to make change. We just need to be willing to put our ideas and passion out into the world and not have any ego attached. So, yes, to answer your question — I proposed the idea in September 2009 and got loads of women and men who shared there reasons for why it was something they felt was necessary. It just grew from there. It also hasn’t been free of criticism. But any movement hell bent on social change is going to encounter that. You just need to keep moving forward and tune it out.
Cat: And when did you start with the whole horror thing?
Hannah: My dad, Michael Forman (who passed away three years ago) and I were ridiculously close. When we got our first VCR back in the early 80’s he rented scary movies to watch with me and I would be so freaked out and yet fascinated all at the same time. It was the beginning of a bloody soaked celluloid love affair. I was a fan since I was old enough to watch TV 😉
Cat: What I personally like (among other things) about the “WiHM” is that woman from all over the world can come together and connect with each other. What is your impression of the woman in the horror industry?
Hannah: Totally! That is one of the most incredible aspects of Women in Horror Month. When I started it in New England (USA) I never would have expected there would be WiHM events happening all over the USA, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, Scotland, Serbia, and beyond. But it makes sense now that we are all so connected with social media. This never would have been possible before which is something to remember as well: we have power! Even though social media is a great way to play bejeweled blitz (or maybe that’s just me?) it is also a powerful tool capable of social change.
As for my impression of women in the horror industry? I think there are incredible women in all facets of the genre working their ass off. We have a very long way to go before things are where the should be. Right now there is just no balance. Men dominate the industry and that extends far beyond horror, its just our culture needs to see that women are capable, creative, and brilliant creatures.
Cat: Are there any plans for the next “WiHM” in February 2013 that you can talk about?
Hannah: I love this question because it shows how late I am getting these answers back to you. We are now in the middle of the month and so many amazing things are happening around the world both on land and online. I will say that soon Jen and Sylvia Soska of Twisted Twins Productions will be releasing their fourth annual Massive Blood Drive PSA. Be sure to stay tuned and donate blood! Jennifer Cooper will be hosting a WiHM Film Festival called Jennifer’s Bodies in Scotland now in it’s 3rd year. There is so much! Visit our webpage and check out our calendar as well as Facebook. We are always posting exciting links. Oh, and we also have another official WiHM Podcast coming out at the very end of February.
Cat: You are also a magazine editor! The new cover of AX WOUND is pretty awesome. What can we find in the magazine? It’s a homemade magazine, right?
Hannah: I am so glad you like the cover! Facebook wasn’t so kind and I got banned from my account for almost 2 months on and off. Facebook really needs to look at there policies on censorship in relation to art. Why can there be hate groups but not the brilliant art of Alison Lily? It’s disgusting that they don’t see a difference between art and “pornographic content.”
But yes! I am the creator and editor of the handmade ‘zine, AX WOUND: Gender and the Horror Genre. It’s a feminist horror loving zine and I haven’t had a new issue out in a couple years. The last one really took it out of me physically and emotionally, causing me to put the project aside. It sort of hung in limbo the past couple years because I couldn’t admit to myself that I needed a break. It was a very intense learning experience. I think I just needed to digest everything I learned from the past years before I could move forward.
I have now been able to resurrect it and the “sex and horror” issue will be out at the end of this month. The issue has articles on horror porn, women and necrophilia in films, an advice column from Jen and Sylvia Soska and an interview with their parents Agnes and Marius Soska. Plus a bunch of other bloody psychosexual things.
Cat: Most important question: Are you shipping worldwide?
Hannah: Fuck yes!
Cat: Let’s talk about horror flicks. Can you tell us some of your favorites that everyone should seen once in their lifetime?
Hannah: I am glad you didn’t ask me to name just one film because I can never pick a favorite anything. There is just way to much heart out there that manifests in such different creepy ways and hits a different chord each time. In your lifetime you shouldn’t be caught dead without seeing: CARNIVAL OF SOULS (original!), RE-ANIMATOR, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, GINGER SNAPS, BASKET CASE, THE OTHERS, SLEEPAWAY CAMP… oh god, I seriously can’t even answer this question. I could keep typing for hours! It all depends on what sub genre you love.
Recently I have been telling everyone to check out THE PACT and GRAVE ENCOUNTERS. THE PACT had a really jaw dropping moment for me. Also, don’t miss American Mary!
Cat: I saw that you and your work have some fans who are well known in the horror industry. Eli Roth, Lucky McKee, Herschell Gordon Lewis and the Twisted Twins Jen and Sylvia Soska to name just a few. You also worked with the Soskas as a voice actor for AMERICAN MARY. Is there any other film project in the future?
Hannah: I will remain forever speechless in regards to who I have had the honor to speak and/or work with over the years. For such a dark genre I have encountered more sweet human beings in the horror community then anywhere else. I am beyond honored that Jen and Sylvia asked me to be part of there second feature film, AMERICAN MARY. It’s a brilliant work of art and I don’t know how I got so lucky.
As of right now I am putting most of my time into getting Ax Wound together and coordinating things for Women in Horror Month. I do plan on making a short film this year. I made one last year with a friend Tammy Dwyer and loved the experience more then I ever could have imagined. I have a few shorts written that I am contemplating but I will be helping a lot with my friend Lukas Persson’s upcoming feature, DOSEY. It will star Lauren Ashley Carter (The Woman, Jugface). It’s going to be amazing! Check out the page on Facebook so you can stay up to date on it. Picture a revenge film starring a strong female character dressed like zoro!
Cat: Last but not least. Can you name a few of your favorite genre actresses and the film that you associate with her?
- Katherine Isabelle – Ginger Snaps, American Mary
- Heather Langenkamp – Nightmare on Elm Street, I am Nancy
- Jill Schoelen– Cutting Class, Popcorn, The Stepfather
- Debbie Rochon– Tromeo and Juliet, Model Hunger, just so many!
- Linnea Quigley– The Return of the Living Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street 4
…and many more!
Cat: Thank you so much for the interview. All the best with your future projects!
Hannah: Thank you so much! It was an honor to talk with you. Good luck with everything for you as well!