The Nottingham Horror Collective Zine : The High Priestess Issue

Halló, Halló. I bet you’ve been wondering if I’d show up around here again, haven’t you? Or not. I’d like to think you have. Since I last wrote back in January, life has been diff-i-cult. I’ve been dealing with the after effects of Covid, my depression awoke from its not-long-enough slumber and life in England has gorged on my spirit and left me with very little to move forward with.

While I’ll update you soon enough on the goings-on in the wyrd world of Katie, today I want to let you know about a gorgeously grim little zine which I happened upon entirely by chance a couple of weeks ago. 

I was having a quick scroll on Instagram (minutes after I’d said to myself, ‘it’s really fucking important you limit your social media intake,’) and noticed a post about The Nottingham Horror Collective and Nona Limmen. I’d never heard of TNHC before, so I was intrigued. It turned out that TNHC produces creepy, beautiful zines, and their latest issue would feature an interview with Nona.  

Being an avid follower of Nona’s work, and always eager to gain an insight into her inspirations and creative process, I hastened to TNHC’s Etsy shop, glanced at what else the ‘horror zine for the morbidly curious’ offered – articles, poetry, fiction and art – and ordered a copy of the fifth issue, The High Priestess. Each issue centres on a tarot card, and previous issues include The TowerThe LoversThe Sun and The Moon.

It’s interesting how TNHC came about (I’ve never been to Nottingham, but from the looks of things, it’s a place where weirdos thrive) though who better to tell you about it than the creators themselves. Below is an extract from the About page on the TNHC website:

The Nottingham Horror Collective was a passing comment – something born out of a discussion about our collective creative skills, passions, and loves. We realised we’d each been devouring all things Horror since we can remember – why not make something of that, together?

This project also came at a time where we found ourselves no longer able to head to the cinema to watch the latest Horror release together, to play our favourite games in person, or to discuss the creepy books we’re reading over a couple of beers. A time where so many of the structures we considered normal crumbled, revealing what truly matters to us.

Ruth & Emily

Coming in at a healthy 60 pages, The High Priestess made for a most satisfying hour of reading. Whenever I invest in a zine, I set aside the time it deserves and pour over every inch. 

I was impressed with the excellent quality of the zine itself. It looks and feels really bloody good. The bold purple and black palate and its consistent use throughout was impressive too. The zine’s layout – the balance of art and text – was well thought through, and I soaked up all the morbid enthusiasm that had been fed into each page.

I think surprises are important and valuable, so I won’t give you a rundown of everything in the zine. Still, my favourite contributions include Daughters of the Evil: A Compendium of the Monstrous by Ruth Skrytek, which has sublime illustrations by R.Z. Skrytek. The compendium features The Girl from the film A Girl Who Walks Home Alone At Night (I MUST. WATCH. THAT. MOVIE.) and my doppelganger, Kayako from The Grudge. The Alien Queen and Ginger Fitzgerald also make appearances. 

I’ve developed an unhealthy (?) obsession with the art piece ‘Tradition’ by Samantha Bale. Following Bale’s art, there’s a poignant essay about the late Anne Rice, which I really felt and connected with.

“Do you know what it means to be loved by death? Do you know what it means to have death know your name?’

Anne Rice

The Abject Allure of the Monsterous Feminine by Emily Malone made for a fascinating and massively inspiring read. I’ve been turning her first line, ‘what is horror without women?’ over in my head for days.

And, of course, I gulped up the captivating interview with Nona Limmen and swooned over her Medusa, one of my all time favourite photographs from her.

Oh, and I loved, loved, loved that there was a ‘Meet The Creatives’ section. They are always so very much appreciated and enjoyed!

I know all too well the fucking hard work that goes into putting a zine together, and I salute each person involved in the manifestation of TNHC zine. They’ve crafted something quite special. I’m excited to invest in another issue, and I think it’ll be The Moon. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about its cover. Go have a look. I’ve no doubt it’ll seduce you too.

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