The Nottingham Horror Collective: Meet the Spookiest New Zine in Town

Interview: Lizzy O’Riordan
Illustrations: Ruth Skrytek
Friday 29 October 2021
reading time: min, words

Formed by three friends with a love for all things spooky, The Nottingham Horror Collective is Nottingham’s new horror magazine, full of content to send shivers down your spine. We chat to creators Ruth, Emily and Bren about tarot cards, contemporary horror films and plans for Halloween…


Can you describe what The Nottingham Horror Collective is?
Primarily, The Nottingham Horror Collective is a magazine. We release three times a year and it’s filled with fiction articles, opinion pieces and art – all with a suitably spooky horror twist. It’s a way to share our passion and bring in local creatives. We’re lucky now because the zine is going to be shipped to places like America, Canada and France, so it’s nice to showcase what Nottingham’s got to offer.  

How did the zine come into being?
We wanted to combine our love of horror and our creative skills to make something. We were sitting in the Jam Café after the first lockdown when we decided to make the zine, and just like everyone else we were creatively starved. There was a bit of a resurgence of zines at the time because everyone was stuck inside and wanted that sense of community back. We grew really quickly during lockdown - people liked having something physical in their hands rather than scrolling on a screen.

I imagine it also capitalised on the ‘shop local’ messaging that everyone was getting during the lockdown…
Yeah, that was a huge part of it and we had a lot of support locally. The first interview we did was with Claire from Bone Arrow in Sneinton Market, she was really supportive and stocked some of the zines when they first came out. It was great because her clientele are the perfect people to be picking up the mag. We also met a lot of people through Claire which was fantastic.

The cover art on the zine is inspired by tarot cards, why did you choose this?
The first issue that we released was the tower tarot card which we chose because it was a time where everything was crumbling around us, so that was very pointed. Tarot is perfect because each card has strong imagery but there’s also not one true meaning to each card as contextually it means something different to everyone. It allows for creative freedom while tapping into that theme which keeps each issue consistent. It would have been easy when throwing ideas around to say ‘this one is the slasher edition’ etc, but we all thought that would be too restrictive and it’s also a bit played out, really.

Is there a large horror community in Nottingham?
Surprisingly so; we were all blown away by the reception we had. Every issue more people approach us - there are a lot more horror heads out there than we originally thought. Society is so atomised that people don’t have central hubs for their interests, but we’ve found that, when there’s a chance, people are really interested to get involved.

What’s your favourite thing you’ve done for the zine so far?
The interview with Epidiah Ravachol, who made the game Dread. Especially hearing his thoughts on how you make a tabletop horror game inclusive and safe while still pushing those boundaries of horror. We also loved going to the Huldra film festival in July. It was a festival of horror shorts which we were invited to. It was incredible and we can’t wait until next year.

Horror in general has the capacity to be cathartic and a safe space to explore the real and difficult aspects of being human

In the Elwood Quincy Walker interview you talk about horror being used to discuss OCD. How do you think horror grapples with the psychological?
Horror in general has the capacity to be cathartic and a safe space to explore the real and difficult aspects of being human. Take The Babadook: obviously he’s a creepy guy, but he also represents something much deeper which is grief and depression. Horror is that safe space to explore dangerous ideas through different lenses.

Often when people think of horror they think of gore and cheap jump scares – do you think it’s misunderstood as a genre?
Cheap jump scares and gratuitous gore are definitely part of horror, but it’s an enormous genre with so much depth to it. There was a period during the 2000s where horror had a creative dark age. It was the era of multiple Saw films and slasher remakes and that’s where a lot of people’s idea of horror still comes from.

Are we heading in a better direction for horror now?
We’re in an absolute renaissance at the moment with contemporary horrors like Midsommar, Hereditary, and The Witch. Cabin in The Woods was the ringing out of that old kind of horror, it hasn’t aged particularly well but at the time it took all those horror tropes and laughed at them. Everyone had to stop relying on all those tropes.

In light of the season - do you have any Halloween favourites when it comes to horror?
We wanted to say Hocus Pocus for the sheer Halloween nostalgia, but that’s not horror at all. You can’t go wrong with any John Carpenter film, he’s an incredible director and musician. His horror scores have dominated for years in the best way.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
We’ve got our fourth issue, The Moon, being released on 26 October. In the back of our mind, we’re also thinking about the March magazine which is going to focus on women in horror for International Women’s Day.

Anything else you’d like to say to LeftLion readers?
If there are any writers, artists or creatives out there then please get in touch! You can follow us on Instagram which is where we announce calls for submission. We also have an Etsy page where you can access all of our prints and zines.

Also, come to our launch party on Halloween! It’s at Liquid Light from 7pm - we have DJs, food, drinks and also films screening on their walls.

Issue IV of The Nottingham Horror Collective will be available later this month

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