Nightmare: Queers Destroy Horror Review


This is a special edition of Nightmare horror magazine, part of the Destroy series. I saw it recommended in this article, so I picked up a copy. The writers and editors are all queer creators, and much of the content has queer representation.

The first half is made up of horror short stories, some original, others reprinted. There are stories by Matthew Bright, Lee Thomas, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Sunny Moraine, Poppy Z. Brite, Alyssa Wong and Chuck Palahniuk. The collection takes a broad approach to what’s classed as horror, with a wide variety of styles and themes. The highlights for me were ‘Alien Jane’ by Kelley Eskridge,’ Bayou de la Mere’ by Poppy Z. Brite (now Billy Martin) and ‘Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers’ by Alyssa Wong. The second half is made up of dark poetry, non-fiction essays and writer and artist interviews.

In Kelley Eskridge’s ‘Alien Jane’, Rita is disturbed but intrigued by the arrival of Jane, a new roommate in her psychiatric ward. It turns out that Jane has a rare condition where she can feel no pain. The story explores how their experience of pain sets Rita and Jane apart from the world, and how it shapes their lives. I found this one really haunting. It presents ideas that really got under my skin and lingered.

In Poppy Z. Brite’s ‘ Bayou de la Mere’, Rickey and G-man take a break from their busy life as restaurateurs to holiday in a small Louisiana town. But G-man’s Catholic past haunts him. Catholic guilt as horror—very relatable for anyone who’s had even a brush with the Church.

Alyssa Wong’s ‘Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers’ follows Jen, a shapeshifting soul-eating young woman through dark streets and bad dates in New York. Jen has a very different approach from her mother in feeding her monstrous hunger. This is probably my favourite of the stories in the magazine; it takes everyday dating problems and inter-generational dissonance and amps them up to grotesque levels.

There’s dark poetry from Brit Mandelo, Joel Lane, Lucy A. Snyder, W.H. Pugmire, Schweta Narayan, Lisa Bradley, Amal El-Mohtar and Rose Lemberg. Like the story section, there’s plenty of variety of tone and style here, from lush gothic description to fairy tale quirkiness—I enjoyed it all.

The non-fiction section looks at the history of queer horror, queer representation in horror, and the ways that horror writing and being queer intersect.

A really diverse (in every sense), thought-provoking collection. Well worth a look.


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