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The Cellar (Beast House Chronicles #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  4,084 ratings  ·  208 reviews
Visitors flock to see the Beast House with its blood-soaked corridors and creaky doors. Armed with video camcorders, these poor souls enter the forbidden house, never to return. The deeper they go into the house, the darker their nightmares become. Don't even think about going into the cellar.
Mass Market, 309 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Leisure Books (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
unnecessary descriptions of child molestation in an odd subplot that is completely inessential to the narrative... sort of makes me question the author's motives. overall, an incredibly overrated piece of crap. however, taken by itself, "giant human/rat monsters who are obsessed with sex" is sort of an amusing concept. the description of a pair of these fellows earnestly double-teaming their landlady was certainly a first for me.

richard laymon inspires intense debate!

(view spoiler)
Bark's Book Nonsense
This is about a house rumored to contain a blood-thirsty beast. It starts out with a triple murder, then more murder, and as a topper an innocent child is abused and molested in typical Laymon style. It's hard to stomach the kiddie stuff, it really is, and I don't understand the need to put it in the book (there are other way to allude to it without the graphics) but I plodded on hoping it wouldn't continue in this vein.

I resisted the urge to DNF and finished every last word but I can't really s
Jun 19, 2011 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: die-hard horror fans
For those who are put off by such things, this book includes child molestation, (basically) bestiality and several near-rape scenes. But ... it is Laymon - honestly, what else should you expect? Also, many of those who do these acts get what is coming to them. Like many Laymon books, this is PURE horror - which means, no happy ending. Once again, if that bothers you, perhaps you should skip this book. However, I was riveted - Laymon can put out horror like no other and for horror enthusiasts, th ...more
Rebecca McDowell
Load of Crap - Part One
Rob Errera
Some people dismiss the late Richard Laymon as a hack horror writer.

Those people should go f**k themselves.

An originator of the early splatterpunk movement, Richard Laymon was an unsung artist who made the job of “novelist” look easy with his literary virtuosity and prolific output.

But, like Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Laymon got no respect. He never found a big American audience for his work during his lifetime. He pumped out thrillers alongside Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, John Saul, and Stephen
Don't read this. Don't let your friends read this.

I mean, unless you like scenes of child rape, adult rape, general misogyny, a one-note villain whose plot just sort of sputters out and stops rather than being resolved, and more rape.

This book also has the stupidest plot twist you can imagine. Seriously, think of a stupid plot twist. Now, imagine that this is stupider than that. MUCH.

I found myself reading this book out of inertia, hoping that it would somehow resolve into something that, whil
1980 baby! A good year for horror and the start of Laymon’s Beast House series and Air Supply was “All Out of Love”. (Damn, don’t remind me) OK…Back in Black and Blizzard of Ozz!! That’s more like it!

The Cellar reads like a classic horror novel from the 80’s. Wait! It is a classic horror novel from the 80’s and the first work by Richard Laymon who went on to become one of the true masters of horror.

I really liked this one a lot. While there were definitely some themes that were disturbing involv
Will Errickson
I've been reading horror fiction for almost 30 years and THE CELLAR is easily one of the very worst books in the genre that I've ever read. Laymon's reputation as some sort of extreme horror writer would be more understandable if he didn't write like a complete amateur with no understanding of human motivation, personality, or interaction. I've rarely if ever thought that writers who work in this field have "issues" with sex and violence and women, but I had to wonder with Laymon. The whole chil ...more
Randolph Carter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Printable Tire
"Laymon uses a typewriter ribbon soaked in cold blood," praises Burt Hirschfeld on the cover of my paperback. Perhaps, but not in a good way.

There are many goofy/sleazy things to like in The Cellar: the way it tries to mishmash a horror plot with an action movie; the way the hero is loath to litter; the way ridiculous anxiety is tossed upon ridiculous anxiety when a car crashes off a road; the way Beast House, a tourist-trap attraction, has seen scores of people murdered in it throughout the yea
Apr 10, 2012 Bill rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: horror
The following review is from my old website...this didn't make the initial migration to Goodreads for some reason.

It wasn't until finishing this novel that I decided to "skull" this review. But the ending was very good, and it was quite shocking in parts.
However...the heroine of the story, Donna, supposedly a caring mother, pissed me off so often that I was tempted to throw the book through a window. I mean, here's a woman on the run with her 12 year old daughter. Her husband, Roy, a child-rapi
This is the first in a series of novels, of which I have read only the first and second. "The Cellar" was my first experience at reading Laymon's works and I have to say, I wasn't overly impressed. The book wasn't terrible and it was quite a quick read, however I was left feeling unsatisfied and a bit perplexed at all of the attention this book receives.

The book has an interesting start, and builds up some suspense at first. The concept of the beast house is enthralling enough. The idea of some
Lily Author
While I had given one of Richard Laymon's books a low rating, I had forgotten to add reviews for his his other books. I suppose I was disappointed with the Travelling Vampire Show. It's not my thing. I consider it an anomaly.

The Cellar, the first in the Beast House series, does a remarkable job of showing how dialogue alone has the power to carry a whole novel, in turn, carrying the reader away.

It's also ripe with every sexual taboo imaginable. All of them. In graphic detail.

I gave it four stars
Dec 09, 2014 Nate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
Know what an exploitation film is? Sounds weird, but Wikipedia basically defines it as "any film which is generally considered to be low budget, and therefore apparently attempting to gain financial success by 'exploiting' a current trend or a niche genre or a base desire for lurid subject matter." I could comfortably call this book "exploitation literature." It's tacky, often half-baked, lurid and utterly tasteless. It has no redeeming value and relies solely on cheap thrills, and yet this kind ...more
the thing that always disturbed me the most about Richard Laymon was his author's photographs. I didn't like the fact that to me he looked like the mad sex-crazed knife-wielding predators that he wrote about so well.
the thing about Laymon's books are,even though not necessarily literary masterpieces they keep you reading,they go further than a lot of horror writers dare to go,and you pretty much get what you want from a horror book. one quote that I remember being on lots of his books was “Rich
Well, this was my first Laymon book, enjoyed his writing style after I got used to it. He writes with a more choppy style, short, quick and to the point sentences, doesn't overly explain any ideas, leaves out unnecessary details. A fairly quick read for me, around three days, while I can't say I enjoyed the book, it did have a certain like ability, after you read a little lighter over the rape anyway. The idea for this book was interesting and Laymon took it all the the way to the end with a dif ...more
Jenny Lane
I really enjoyed this book and I love the beast house series. But there are some things that may be hard to stomach, which is why there are so many bad reviews.
Laymon writes risqué books - if you don't like it, don't read his books.
If you like lots of action, no matter how gory or "inappropriate", then this book is for you b
I can't remember exactly why I picked this book up. I think it was included in a list of "must read horror" or something along those lines. I'm a huge fan of the horror genre, so after I saw that The Cellar had a pretty decent rating on here as well, I was eager to read it.

I would like to say that this book is so bad it's good, but sadly that is just not the case. It's just flat out bad.

Good horror is a subtle art. You have to find the line between what you reveal or describe, and what you leave
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
This was a pretty fast smooth read. The story takes place in Northern California where an unknown “beast” has been killing people at a house known as “The Beast House”, for over 50 years. One of the families of the victims buys the house where the killings have occurred and makes it into a tourist attraction. Donna and her daughter Sandy flee their home to head up North to try to run away from Donna’s ex-husband and Sandy’s father Roy who has just been released from prison after serving 6 years ...more
I don't get why people like this guy. Maybe he gets better in later books? I was ready for gore (ya call yourself splatterpunk, you need it, right?) but it wasn't that gory. I'd chalk it up to being published in 1980, but Ketchum was too and his didn't lack anything in the blood and guts department. Laymon seems to rely on rape, specifically child rape, to give you that uncomfortable feeling. But its not uncomfortable as in scary and you can't wait to experience it again, but more like gross and ...more
First published back in 1980, “The Cellar” introduced the world to the horror author Richard Laymon and formed the first instalment of the four part ‘Beast House’ series.

The tale sets out in a typical clique manner, introducing the reader to what appears to be a somewhat standard ‘horror novel’ style opening. The novel’s title and subject matter don’t help to dissuade the reader from the feeling that the novel is likely to turn out to be yet another attempt at a basic book to simply slide into t
As a relative fan of Richard Laymon's work, it was interesting to go back to his very first outing in "The Cellar". I went in expecting some very cautious writing with a lack of risks and intense detail. This was not the case. The Cellar is pure Laymon and only set the bar for all his later works.

A brief overview of the story, then. Donna and her daughter Sandy are driving as far away from Sandy's father as possible (who happens to be abusive and criminally insane). They meet two men, Judge and
What a horrendous disappointment. I looked up Richard Laymon because I had heard he was a huge inspiration for Brian Keene, one of my favorite horror authors. Stephen King and Dean Koontz have both praised the man, and I've heard generally good things about his fairly large catalogue of horror novels.

Again, I repeat... What a horrendous disappointment.

Not a single fully developed character, just galavanting stereotypes and smudges. The women in this book are demented, children, or just plain stu
Richard Laymon is not an author for people that cannot handle gore and so-called taboo topics. He does not hold back in his writings and intertwins tales of the paranormal world with those of the worst of human kind.

In The Cellar he takes us on the journey of a mother who is running away from her husband who has just been released from prison. The husband was in prison for raping their young daughter. He has promised he will come after the pair once they get out of prison.

While on the run, they
Oh boy! I was so not prepared for what this book contained. So please be forewarned BEFORE you decide to pick up a copy of The Cellar. This book had it's good and bad points.

I like the overall idea Laymon had with the Beast that lives in the house. I think the “tourist trap” angle was pretty good as well. I liked the characters in the story and was a quick read—I finished it in one day. The Cellar was interesting and kept my attention. Some parts of the book were predictable and maybe even a bi
Jeremy Boatwright
First off, if have not read Laymon before, or you are shocked by anything. Stay away. I was put on to Laymon by Bently Little, and the much more conservative Dean Koontz. This was his first published book back in the early 80's. it was the first in what would become the "beast house series". It has some pretty taboo material by today's standards. I am sure if your reading this you know of what I am talking about. I am almost ashamed to admit that I liked the book. Almost.. He is a horror writer, ...more
Jeremy Less
My second Laymon novel, after checking out "The Woods are Dark." I was intrigued to check out his classic debut, thinking woods may have just been a dud. This novel sounded really interesting based on the description and reviews I saw, but the execution was poor. Laymon gives us two storylines that eventually come together, neither amounting to anything interesting in the end. Characters are cardboard, Laymon seems to opt for half baked shock value rather than fleshing them out. I've learned not ...more
Reese Copeland
I enjoyed the book. It's the first in the series of the Beast House Series. (#2 is The Beast House, #3 is The Midnight Tour and #4 is Friday Night at Beast House). Reads quickly, a bit too much sex for me, as I found it to kind of challenge the rest of the story, and was more of a distraction than adding anything to it. Disappointed with the ending. Have already started reading book 2 and it does not pick up directly from book 1, so, you're kind of left in this limbo of "well, what happened then ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Drew Wheeler
A highly entertaining, grisly read. I'm looking forward to reading more Laymon. Not sure why it took me so long to start. The Cellar definitely hooked me.
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Richard Laymon Fans: The Cellar 33 45 Nov 26, 2014 02:43PM  
paced reading hor...: the cellar by richard laymon 15 22 Feb 06, 2013 01:04PM  
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Richard Laymon was born in Chicago and grew up in California. He earned a BA in English Literature from Willamette University, Oregon and an MA from Loyola University, Los Angeles. He worked as a schoolteacher, a librarian, and a report writer for a law firm, and was the author of more than thirty acclaimed novels.

He also published more than sixty short stories in magazines such as Ellery Queen,
More about Richard Laymon...

Other Books in the Series

Beast House Chronicles (4 books)
  • The Beast House
  • The Midnight Tour (Beast House Series)
  • Friday Night in Beast House
The Traveling Vampire Show Island Endless Night In the Dark The Beast House

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