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The Cellar (Beast House Chronicles #1)

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  5,030 Ratings  ·  288 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.
Paperback, 309 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Leisure Books (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 25, 2008 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
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
Rebecca McDowell
Jan 19, 2009 Rebecca McDowell rated it did not like it
Shelves: hated-it
Load of Crap - Part One
Bark's Book Nonsense
Mar 06, 2013 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
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
mark monday
Nov 10, 2015 mark monday rated it did not like it
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)
Jun 19, 2011 Katy rated it it was amazing
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
Will Errickson
Mar 13, 2012 Will Errickson rated it did not like it
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
Apr 10, 2012 Bill rated it liked it
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
Printable Tire
May 02, 2012 Printable Tire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Jul 22, 2012 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2015 Alissa rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book for the most part. It was very interesting, I couldn't put it down. It lost one star for feeling a bit unfinished, but I imagine it was necessary. I'll have to read the sequel to find out.
Randolph Carter
Feb 11, 2013 Randolph Carter rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny Lane
Apr 01, 2013 Jenny Lane rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 26, 2013 Brian rated it did not like it
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
Rob Errera
Aug 02, 2013 Rob Errera rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 15, 2013 Matthew rated it liked it
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
Nov 08, 2013 Alissa rated it liked it
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
Apr 09, 2014 Mindi rated it did not like it
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
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
Jun 11, 2015 Noel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
2.5 stars

This is my second Richard Laymon book, and I feel pretty much the same about this one as the first.

Some of the book (the general idea of The Beast House), is decent, some of the book (the whole Roy story- gross and not really necessary, at least not in that much detail) is awful. The characters are boring, one dimensional, and idiotic, and the dialogue is ridiculous. The epilogue saved the book a little though. I may give one more of his books a try, but I'm pretty sure Richard Laymon'
Jul 16, 2015 Addy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok. After much deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that I was very glad I gave this a shot...,finally! When I first became interested in reading a little more extreme horror I was very reluctant to dip into topics that might offend me. If u read this book, you know that it does have scenes of sexual abuse of a minor or minors. Bothered me and still does, but after reading jack Ketchum's Stranglehold, I figured I could handle it. Stranglehold was far more difficult to read than this. Now, t ...more
Aug 27, 2015 Adamus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Wow!! For being Laymon's first book definitely was a great read!! The characters were great the plot was amazing I thought & even the back story with Roy & how he went to prison & the past that happened with the beast were good. The ending threw me off sooo much I was not expecting that & that's one of the many reasons Laymon is a genius he will make you thinking one thing and just totally throws you off!! I think this is definitely one of his best novels that he has done & I ...more
Sakura Sternberg
Sep 01, 2015 Sakura Sternberg rated it did not like it
Holy Christ on a cracker.

I would describe this as "hilariously bad," if not for the gratuitous heaps of trauma porn and sexual abuse. Even the biggest belly laughs wind up tasting of spoiled cabbage and bile. But then again, even that gets fumbled like a deflated football, rendered ineffective by Laymon's stilted prose and nonexistent character work. Even the relatively novel concept of a centuries-old sex-monster with a giant wang—a sleazier variation on Lovecraftian mythos—is grossly mishandle
Jason Christopher
Sep 26, 2015 Jason Christopher rated it did not like it
Laymon's hang-up with rape is so very, very weird. Defenders of Laymon usually say, "Well, rape happens in real life, and Laymon is writing about horror, so what's more horrifying than rape?" Yeah, most sane people will agree rape is vile, but merely describing it badly in your novels doesn't award you brownie points. Laymon has no real opinion about anything in general, and no real opinion about rape specifically. I've never been offended by Laymon; he's too poor of a writer to muster that feel ...more
AmberBug **
Richard Laymon is not for me. I don't like the style - where he has to nonsensically add grotesque scenes of child molestation and rape to scare you. Yes, I don't scare easily, but this isn't what I want out of my horror books. Nope, no thank you. This is also coming from the chick who loves it when Joyce Carol Oates writes from a serial killers point of view. I can read sick... but this line is severely crossed with this one. Not only that but the female character is a freakin' idiot. What is u ...more
4.5 Stars rounded up to 5. The book ended a little too abruptly so it lost half a star. This is my first book in my goal to read all of Laymon's books in order. I still need to find copies of Out Are The Lights, Night Show, and Allhallow's Eve though. :/ The rest of his bibliography I already have on my Kindle. The three books I still need to get aren't available as ebooks.
Parece ser que todo lo que leo de este señor puede describirse como: wtf?
John Inman
Jul 24, 2016 John Inman rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I've never read any Richard Laymon books before. The Cellar was a great one to begin with. I loved it. True sexy, blood-and-guts horror, with murderers, rapists, monsters and all kinds of wierd shit. What a ride! At a friend's suggestion, I'm going to try Island next. Thanks Marco for turning me onto this author.
Aug 01, 2016 Oscar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: terror
Donna y su hija Sandy huyen de Roy, que acaba de salir de prisión con un único objetivo: atraparlas a toda costa. Madre e hija van a parar a un pueblo de mala muerte llamado Malcasa Point. La mayor atracción de este pueblo es La Casa de la Bestia, una vieja mansión donde por unos dólares es posible visitar los lugares donde se cometieron asesinatos por parte de una extraña bestia que nadie ha visto, y que llevan sucediéndose desde hace cien años. También sabremos de Jud y Larry, cuyo plan es aca ...more
Quentin Wallace
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edward Lorn
Oct 14, 2016 Edward Lorn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
I was going to wait until tomorrow to review this book, but fuck it. I need to get this over with. I read this once before but all I could remember was the creature was cool. That's likely because everything else was so bad, I blocked it from my memory.

The dialogue was shit, the characters were unbelievable and inconsistent, the writing was James-Patterson lazy, the pedophile shit was far too detailed, and the regular sex stuff was sillier than this election cycle.

There. Fuck this book.

In summat
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Richard Laymon Fans: The Cellar 34 60 Apr 03, 2016 03:08PM  
paced reading hor...: the cellar by richard laymon 15 26 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
  • Friday Night in Beast House

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