What It Feels Like For A (Horror) Girl: Ax Wound #3 Review by Sylvia Soska
The world can feel like a very lonely place in adolescence as you develop your interests and personality. Youth is filled with cruelty from your peers. My sister and I always stood out because we were twins.
From a very young age we were drawn to horror, movies and books. The more haunting the fright, the more unpredictably fucked up the better. Often, we were called weird. We were spat on in private school for seeming too dark. They called us witches because of our dark hair and love of the horror genre. Even though we had each other, there were many times we felt out of place. Fuck, I wish Ax Wound Zine had been around back then. It would have been nice to know that there are so many strong, intelligent, and insightful women out there that also love horror like we do.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ax Wound Zine, it is a feminist (everyone can be a feminist, too, boys and girls) horror zine. The term ‘ax wound’ is a derogatory term for a menstrating vagina — fits pretty perfect with the theme, doesn’t it? It opens an enlightened discussion about gender in the horror/slasher/gore genre bringing together women (as opposed to the typical girl versus girl culture that tends to tear us ladies apart) and men in different discussions, interviews, and reviews.
I recently received my first copy (and now I am a hopeless addict and must get all back issues because it is so fucking good), and I must share. The #3 Issue is ‘Gender and the Horror Genre’, edited by Hannah Neurotica. Firstly, Hannah is an incredible writer — she knows her shit inside out and she unapologetically gives us her thoughts with a high level of wit and gritty good humor — as seen in her interview talking maggot vagina corpse soap with ‘Girls and Corpses’ editor, Robert Rhine. Her interviews are smart, current, and the questions are so interesting that you have this feeling of intimacy with the people speaking because it is such an honest open discussion.
Speaking of baring your soul, all you need do is read Hannah’s intro to the zine to realize that she has gone through a personal hell as she lost her best friend and the person who nurtured her cunning approach to horror; her father, Michael H. Foreman. Such a fucking cool guy. His article about the Twilight series had me in stitches. I remember watching the film and thinking that the imagery of vampires created in my childhood were being violated by this sugar-coated bubble gum bullshit, how nice to read an article that reviews this phenomena with such fun wit.
Being Hungarian, the article on ‘Elizabeth Bathory: The Bloody She-Wolf of Hungary’ written by Mimi Honeycutt and beautifully illustrated by Rachael Deacon was a personal favorite. It is unbelievable that such horrific carnage actually took place in the world, that a woman could go so blood-lustingly insane and get away with it because of her rank in society. The details in the article remind me of a twisted metal wreck, too awful to look at but impossible to pull your eyes away from.
There are so many great articles written by such strong, smart women – ‘Chucky, Chainsaws, and Girl Survival’ by Clementine Cannibal (made me furious at the cesspool of society and also made me appreciate Chucky in an entirely new way), ‘Gender Transgression in Hellraiser’ by Nia Edwards Behi (Pinhead and I go WAY back, but I want to rewatch the entire run now), interview with Fangoria’s Rebekah McKendry (their discussion on horror and the perception of the horror genre is brilliant), ‘The Origin of NOS’ by Jessie Seitz (how cool to hear what a ‘Gore Whore’ knows and isn’t afraid to say), poetry and an interview with Marnie Colton (her words are lovely, poetically and in conversation), ‘Valerie Castro’s Period’ an interview by Andrew Shearer with Valerie Castro (indie film making at it’s most badass and best — there was even a real accidental electrocution on set!), ‘Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter’ interview with Shannon Lark (she is a writer/director/producer that the Viscera Film Fest is the brainchild of), ‘Mother Blood’: A Look INSIDE’ by M. Brianna Stallings (this will be the next movie I see because of this review, if you can stomach it – rent it too), ‘Horror Queen and Unusual Desires in MAY’ by Lindsey Campbell (it is so refreshing to see a film that feature a complicated and multi-layered female protagonist, this I am also renting asap) followed by an interview with writer/director of the film, Lucky McKee, ‘Too Neagative’ a comic by Jenny Gonzalez (whimsically dark and rad), ‘Consummate’ by Mary ‘BloodSoaker Goff (I don’t want to ruin anything in this short story, just read it, it’s bloody brilliant), ‘Create a Wound’ by Angel Young (FX tips for everyone), an interview with Reyna Young (she made a documentary about women in the horror industry, very rad, trailer to be out soon), interview with Sarah Jahier (creator of the horror review site ‘Fatally Yours’), ‘The First Girl’ written by Hannah Neurotica and illustrated by Rachael Deacon (a preview on radness to come, think Final Girl), and an interview with horror artist Rachael Deacon (the woman responsible for the magnificently haunting images through the zine). With so many mediums out there that dumb down content, censor language, and consist of inane information — it is a real fucking pleasure to read something that not only gives you very thorough, informed reporting, but also treats the reader like a free-thinking adult. The pieces felt so candid and personal.
It was thanks to our friend, Eli Roth, that this wonderful zine came into our lives. He has a massive interview in this issue where he talks about everything from his early film making to his current films, feminism and the roles that gender plays in his films, and of course the term ‘torture porn’ that the media coined after the popularity of his film, ‘Hostel’. In his interview in this issue with Hannah, he speaks about us and our film, ‘Dead Hooker in a Trunk’. This led to our own interview with Miss Neurotica, also in this issue. Something I am eternally grateful for because we have developed a very close friendship since then and with people like Hannah Neurotica in the world — I don’t feel all that lonely anymore.
If you’ve read it, you already know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, fork over that ten bucks and buy it already. Its grindhouse brilliance will rock your read!
Thank you to Sylvia & Jen Soska of Twisted Twins Productions for their continuing love and support. Check out there first feature film Dead Hooker in Trunk and other amazing work on their website. Not to mention AW #3 features a very in depth interview with these amazing women. <3