Friday, February 3, 2012

THE ABC's of WOMEN IN HORROR: A IS FOR...

To celebrate Women In Horror Recognition month, Day of the Woman is celebrating by compiling the ABC's of women in horror.  
TODAY'S PROGRAM IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER: A

Mother of WiH recognition month, Hannah Neurotica is also the beauty and brains behind Ax Wound Zine.  According the Hannah herself, "Ax Wound” is a derogatory term for a menstruating vagina. How perfect for a feminist horror zine title! It is my hope that “Ax Wound” will create a dialogue about gender in the horror/slasher/gore genre — a genre typically thought to reinforce patriarchal values. I want both the ‘zine and the website to provide a safe, stimulating environment for feminist horror fans of all backgrounds to discuss the themes of gender, sexuality, and culture in the genre both past and present. Ax Wound will also serve as a platform to help promote and bring together women in the horror industry"  Hannah and her contributors distribute far more than just a piece of horror journalism, the zine has a heart all its own.  Within the pages of Ax Wound, you aren't being force fed the same ol' horror garbage you could read on any other horror magazine, you're given an intellectual and passionate look at the genre from writers that live and breathe it.  They explore an often overlooked but VITAL part of the horror genre, and they do it with style and grace.

What Johnny Depp is to Tim Burton, Angela Bettis seems to be for female-centric director, Lucky McKee.  Praised for being a male director with an incredible grasp on female characters, the combination of his artistic vision and the undeniable talent of Angela Bettis.  Her commanding portrayal of his "weird" title character May has since become a cult favorite and and fan worshipped female horror role.  Angela Bettis is also one of the few women lucky enough to play the iconic role of everyone's favorite telekinetic teenager, Carrie White.  Her eccentric look and small frame was a dynamic combination that attracted horror fans the world over. It was recently in another one of Lucky McKee's films that Angela permanently put her claws into the horror genre.  Her portrayal of dobting housewife, Belle Cleek in The Woman exposed her true depth as a performer and gave a hell of an inspiring performance.  Although not the title character, she definitely owned the screen and captivated audiences. Interesting enough, she managed to get Lucky McKee himself to act for her when she directer a film of her own, Roman.  Angela Bettis can also be seen in Tobe Hooper's Toolbox Murders, and Girl, Interrupted.

One of the most notable figures for women in horror currently on the market, is Amy Lynn Best. Born in Topeka, Kansas but raised as a Pittsburgh native, Amy studied acting and dancing since she was three years old.  As one of the founding members of Happy Cloud Pictures, she works as an actress, director, as well as producer.  Some of the films Happy Cloud has put out has featured well known (and in some cases, woshipped) actors like Lloyd Kaufman and Debbie Rochon.  After proving herself as an actress, Amy Lynn Best put her skills behind the camera to the test with her highly regarded debut Severe Injuries, a film she also starred in.  Further directorial efforts of Best’s include the meta-filmic Splatter Movie: The Director’s Cut, the video documentary Spicy Sister Slumber Party, and a co-direction with Devi Snively on the recent short I Spit on Eli RothA beacon of support to women in horror everywhere, Amy Lynn Best is knows as one of the primary founders of Pretty-Scary.net (now Planet Fury), has contributed heavily to the women-in-entertainment publication of Sirens of Cinema magazine and is a frequent participant in the annual Women in Horror month celebrations. 

It was a little more than a decade ago when a woman named Mary Harron delivered horror fans one of the most beloved and praised horror films with American Psycho.  A Canadian screenwriter and film director, Mary Harron has always been drawn to eclectic story lines, and intriguing characters.  Before her film making career, she worked as a music journalist and was the first journalist to interview The Sex Pistols for an American publication.  In the film world, her most famous work is without a doubt, American Psycho.  The film may be noted as the film that helped spark Christian Bale's future success, it would have been NOTHING without the enthralling technique of Mary Harron.  Many of the shots of American Psycho have been regarded as cinematic staples like "morning routine", "the business card scene", "Do you like Huey Lewis & The News", "Patrick Bateman makes a sex tape", and "naked chainsaw chasing".  

She was one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the silver screen, and one of the most prominent in the B-Movie and Horror genre.  Born as Mary Jane, Allison was a former Miss District of Columbia, Allison Hayes was a woman who's life was taken too soon.  She died of lead poisoning in 1977 at only the young age of 46.  She was a gifted pianist and almost sought a career as a concert pianist, however it was when she represented Washingon D.C. in the 1949 Miss America Pageant that she was given a taste of the movies.  She was the epitome of a Scream Queen for the 1950's film sirens.  Her first dabble in the horror industry was her role as Livia in the 1956 film The Undead. She was able to transform throughout the film which was a first for a siren to do.  She then played a woman experimenting with voodoo in 1957's The Disembodied. Some of her other works were The Hypnotic Eye, The Unearthly, Zombies of Mora Tau, and The Crawling Hand. Allison has one of the most memorable screams. The one she lets out in ZOMT, is also heard in Frankenstein's Daughter and Missile to the Moon. So whenever you hear a scream that you think you've heard before...chances are, you have. It was however that infamous role in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman that gets her such notoriety.  The film was stunning, as well as Allison, but the idea of 50 foot women is a concept that we still see in films even today.

Obviously, there are PLENTY of women and films that have yet to be uncovered, but who knows...maybe they'll make an appearance under another letter.  Stay tuned to Day of the Woman for a continuation of this series and
for plenty of Women in Horror Recognition Month updates. 

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