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The beast house series of books by Richard Laymon are undoubtedly his most famous books and in my opinion are some of his best if slightly most disturbing books. Now I am an official Richard Laymon groupie every book he ever wrote is on my book shelf and I still mourn his untimely death knowing that since his death he has still managed to average a new book a year. These new books are obviously not written by the late great man himself and are just based on notes of his to cash in on his popularity and you can tell as the quality is not there and these books are damaging the reputation he has managed to build for himself. Anyway enough of my complaining, the cellar the first in the beast house series is the perfect book for anyone new to Laymons world but be aware it's not for the easily offended or scared.
Donna is a woman on a mission to escape her abusive ex husband who has recently been released from jail for molesting their daughter Sandy. Together mother and daughter go on the run and while driving they break down in small town of Malcasa point.
Malacasa point has nothing of interest except a gruesome tourist attraction called the beast house that is an old house where several years ago there was a series of brutal killings reported to have been carried out by strange beasts. The owners of beast house have recreated the scenes by building wax works of the victims as they were found.
It's here that Donna and Sandy meet Judge and Larry. Larry is an old man who has hired Jud to break into the beast house at night and kill the beast as Larry had entered the house when he was a child with a friend but he was the only one to come out alive and he wants payback.
Jud and Donna have a connection with each other and romance blossoms between them. The girls decide to stay with Larry and Jud and whilst this is all going on we follow Donnas ex husband as he is tracing them across the country all the way to Malacasa point. Will the group be able to survive Roy finding them and what about the mysterious beasts in the beast house.
This book is fantastic, yes it is disturbing in parts but I believe good horror should be. It's one of Laymons thinnest books but certainly doesn't read like it is, the book moves at break neck speed and as the reader you are swept along by this. There are some really disturbing parts to this book that I found difficult to read such as child abuse and rape but it gave me a sense of complete horror and that was before we even got to the beasts. The character of Roy really is evil and one of the joys of reading the book is waiting to find out how he will be paid back for his disgusting crimes.
Now I don't think it's much of a spoiler to mention the beasts as the series is called the beast house and when they arrive on the page they are much different to what I expected and I have to say again I was slightly horrified by their description. I couldn't ever have imagined this type of beast in my wildest imagination. Apparently they have been trying to make a movie of this book for years but every time it stalls because no one can figure out how they are going to show the beasts onscreen. I'm not surprised I don't see how it would be possible to show them as they are described but to change them would completely change the whole story. Needless to say I can't describe them in this review so if you want to know what they look like you will have to read the book ;-)
The writing really does leave you on the edge of your seat and there is a twist ending that is unexpected and left me in shock. There are two sequels to this book and also a short story and I would definitely recommend them to all the horror aficionados out there. Enjoy.
This very graphical book of horror, underage sex, rape, graphic sex, torture, suspense and hardcore violence
Laymon has an amazing ability to describe the scene so well and vividly, it makes you think your at the scene yourself; in the Cellar with them while these horrific incidents occur. He describes how the characters feel, and what their doing with such imagination, it just grips the reader.
This is the first of 3 books by Richard Laymon which work around the Beast House legend; which Jud Donna and Sandy go to investigate....and the story begins.
This is a real page turner, the words and scenes are so gripping that you wouldn't want to put the book down. There is a lot of sex scenes. The auther will have you feeling sorrow and remorse for the characters.
Overall an amazing book - but if you are put off by horror, underage sex, rape, graphic sex, torture, suspence and hardcore violence - then this book is not for you.
I've read several of Richard Laymon's books and some I had to put down. The either detailed violence or graphic and disturbing sex is off putting to say the least. The Cellar is no different (dear god no), but the first few pages were gentle and engaging enough to have me read on.
Laymon's plots have great sense of urgency and his characters are well defined. While some may say he's crude (he is) he does know how to tell a tale, though never content on scaring us he often makes it his mission to disgusts us too. The Cellar is no antithesis to all this and is one of his most enjoyable, albeit sinister stories.
He takes no prisoners; once you are sucked in you have to finish. The suspense is marvellous. There is a lot of interlinking going on in this one and the whole time you're wondering how it's all going to pan out, not to mention what the beast actually is. Read if you dare.
The Cellar (1980) by Richard Laymon is the first of a series entitled Beast House Chronicles and was also his first novel to be published.
First posted on: vegansteven.blogspot.com (2007)
Every day visitors flock to the infamous Beast House at Malcasa Point-the scene for a series of brutal murders that occurred several years ago-and gasp in horror at the gruesome wax work figures that tell the official story of what went on.
But what they hear is only half the story,a version heavily edited by the owner of the Beast House herself....
Mother and daughter,Donna and Sandy Hayes,come to the town fleeing an abusive figure from their past,who they know is determined to track them down.Hearing about the Beast House for the first time,the pair are intrigued and decide to pay it a visit-and it is during their tour that they encounter Larry;a man whose own past is linked to an unofficial visit he and a friend paid to the Beast House late one night as a teenager....a visit only he survived!
Following another recent incident at the Beast House in which three more people were killed,Larry has returned to Malasca Point to finally face his demons and put the nightmares he still suffers from his experience to rest.Together with recent acquaintance,Jud Rucker,Larry plans to enter the Beast House at night and kill the infamous beast.Then Donna's convict ex-husband turns up and things begin to take a very diffrent turn.....
One of the first books published by Laymon,The Cellar is the first of three novels set in Malasca Point and is easiest one of the most brutal of his novels,moving at a fast pace throughout leaving the reader wanting for more.
Definetly not for the faint-hearted,the only criticism I had was that the book was a little too short and over far too soon but this just makes you more eager I think to read the others in the series.Certainly it is not as polished as his later work but,as a big fan of Richard Laymon,I can honestly say that even at his less than best he was still better than many authors and there was not a single one of his books I haven't enjoyed.
If you like b-movies,fearsome monsters,plenty of thrills and chills and a nice little twist in the ending-pick this up!!
If at all squeamish and easily scared-don't read it with the lights off!!
And don't go down to The Cellar.....Most of Richard Laymon's novels are available at all good book shops or I have seen them on Amazon starting from £5.59.Many of his works have also become available in omnibus editions too so you can read more than one of his books at once!!
I have read many Richard Laymon books and have always found them enjoyable - here is a writer who is not afraid to write all the gory details! The Cellar is the first in a trilogy which also includes 'Beast House' and 'The Midnight Tour'. I actually read 'The Midnight Tour' first not realising that it was part of a set. Thye book intrigued me so much that I knew that I had to get my hands on the other two! The Cellar has several main characters all with subplots of their own and they are all generally well fleshed out. Donna and Sandy are mother and daughter on the run from Roy (Donna's ex and sandy's father). They end up breaking down in the fog near 'Malcasa Point' famous town (though it scarcley has more than one street). It's fame arises from the monstrosity of Beast House. As the story goes Beast House is inhabited by one scary animal who likes to kill his victims at night - however this is only when they are prowling on *his* property! Judgement Rucker is a man whose line of business is death and along with Larry Maywood (one of only two survivors of Beast House) ends up in Malcasa Point. Needless to say as always, Laymon throws in a bit of sex and romance as well as gore and slaughter into his novel. Here is a man who would just as likely have his main characters have sex on the beach as rip their heads off! Although the Midnight Tour could be read without the other two novels (although it's infinatley more fun if you know the history), it is essential that The Cellar is read before Beast House. This book made me wish that I had a longer bed as I ended up really worried that me feet would be grabbed by the Beast as they stuck out. My advice, read this book whilst wearing thick socks!
The Cellar was Laymon's very first novel, and is probably his most shocking too. It contains scenes of paedophilia which some readers will find offensive, but it has to be said that they are justified and necessary in order to define the character of Roy, a child abuser who is released from prison and sets off after his daughter and ex wife. They escape to Malcasa Point, home of the mysterious Beast House... The Cellar is a good read and hard to put down (I read it in two days) but when you compare it to Laymon's later works, the writing can seem a little amateurish at times. For a first novel though, it is very impressive and I'd recommend to all but the easily offended.
As with all Richard Laymon books, I was unable to put this one down. This is the first in a trilogy of books about Beast House. The Cellar is based around the infamous Beast House, now a major tourist attraction, and tourists flock from afar to hear about the grizzly going ons. Your tour guide is a bizarre old woman, who claims that her husband and children were killed by someone or thing in this house, and she hints at the disappearance of many others. Visit Beast house and hopefully you'll not meet with the beast. For a man's fate is a swift and horrible death, for a woman it is sexual enslavement beyond your wildest fantasies or nightmares! An excellent book from start to end, which will keep you guessing until the very end.