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The Woods Are Dark (The Original, Uncut Version)

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  2,130 ratings  ·  172 reviews
The Woods Are Dark (The Original, Uncut Version)
by Richard Laymon

Featuring a special introduction by Kelly Laymon explaining the history of the manuscript, how this version came to exist, and why this edition is more than just 50 pages of deleted scenes added back in, but instead a totally different novel you've never read before!

About the Book:
Neala and her friend Sherri
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Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 31st 2008 by Cemetery Dance Publications (first published 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melki
The woods are lovely, dark and deep

until...

you're being chased through the forest by a horde of inbred cannibals. Then it's enough to make even a staunch tree-hugger like myself say, "Go, logging industry!"

I had the same problem with this book that I did with The Ruins, in that the characters were so insipid I couldn't wait for them ALL to die. And any author that makes me root for the cannibals is worthy of scorn, not praise.

Thrown in dozens of WTF moments - (view spoiler)
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Evans Light
Laymon rewrites Ketchum's Off Season as a comedy porno and it's a rocking good time.
Read the whole book in about 3 hours. Very much like watching a crazy batshit insane horror movie. Really not so much horror as pure insanity. This book might be the original "Wrong Turn" as it's very much in a similar vein and tone, and even though an earlier work it's still full of Laymon's signature WTF delights.
Loved it, and highly recommend that if you haven't read it yet, get it - check your brain at the
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Gary
I have to admit Laymon is my favorite horror author. He was such a master at his craft and what he does he does with relish. This novel is no exception. Atmospherics and edginess always play a huge role in Laymon's books and he has some unique tricks in his bag that never seem to fail for me.
Granted, after reading a few of his novels an astute reader recognizes plot devices that are being reused, albeit some shifting and name changing, but if you liked them the first time you will enjoy them the
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Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This is not a book to be read by people susceptible to gore, horror, necrophilia, cannibalism, pedophilia and other... things...

I read the restored and uncut version of the book. Most Landers chapters are missing from the previous edition and I can see why. They are disturbing as hell. Beware. You have been warned.

This book is relatively small, with only 215 pages and right from the first chapter you are inside the rollercoast that finish in the last page.

You've got two separated sets of charact
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Andrew
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason
2.5 Stars


This was just ok by me. I have wanted to read Richard Laymon for a long time now, and this was the first. Even though I was not blown away by this book, I will seek out his other works.


This is a do not go out into the strange woods for there may be real sickies that might want to eat you story that we have all heard before. It starts out with a bang with an opening chapter that had me very excited for what is to come. It however goes flat for the next fifty percent of the book. I foun
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Janie Johnson
Apparently this book was first copywrited in 1981 and the editors for Warner Books butchered the book. Taking out full paragraphs, whole chapters were removed, bad grammatical errors, and so on. Laymon often referred to this book as the one that ruined his career. Then in 2008 after painstaking work, his daughter, Kelly Laymon pieced the book back together and had it published as the restored and uncut version, fortunately this is the version I have. Sad that Laymon did not get to see what his d ...more
Maciek
Richard Laymon penned the line "his cock felt like a fiery log" and for that alone he deserves two stars.
Addy
This book was AWEsome!! Just non stop absurdity after another which, come on! That's why we love him! From over the top Jenny who knew way too much about how to kill people to Neala, Sherri, and Cordelia, three women whom I really enjoyed. Poor Cordelia! Just don't know how she managed to suffer through initiation into the Krulls. Wow! I might rather die. And what the heck with the thing in the pit!? That was never explained, therefore this desperately needed a sequel! Another great read from la ...more
Kim
This was my first Laymon book, and it was fairly entertaining. The rising action begins quite quickly, and there were some definite twists and turns in the plot which provided some fun. However, I was quite disappointed with most of the action after the climax. It seemed like the plot just couldn't be held together very well and began to unravel. I felt like the ending was satisfying, but it really didn't seem like he spent much time thinking out the truly disturbing final turn that the father c ...more
Chrissy Wheeler
My first read by Richard Laymon, it was... weird. A very weird story. But I loved the fast pace of the story, and it was truly creepy as hell. Even though the story jumped from character to character often, the book flowed well and was easy to follow. Sometime, so much action & mayhem were going on, I didn't want to put it down... it only took a little over a day to read, at a very leisurely pace. I did catch myself wondering what was going on in the author's head a few times, it was so twis ...more
Marsten
Este libro me lo leí en junio de 1990 y me encantó! Fue mi cuarto libro de terror que me leía desde que empecé a centrar mis lecturas casi exclusivamente en esto del terror. Y siempre lo he tenido como un libro mítico dentro de mi imaginario de libros de terror.

Abro este hilo ahora, casi 20 años después, porqué me lo he releido ahora en inglés y en su versión integra y original.

Cuando se publicó por primera vez en E.E.U.U. en 1981 y en España en 1988 (en la edición que menciono en el ficha y que
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William M.
4 AND 1/2 STARS

This restored and uncut version of Richard Laymon’s near masterpiece of sex and violence is a reason to celebrate. Never one to hold back, author Laymon throws everything but the kitchen sink at the reader with this one. The story starts off fast and ends even faster in a quick tale of an inbred cannibal cult nestled deep in the woods, supported by a local town who feeds them strangers that pass through.

While some will roll their eyes at the quick transformation of various charact
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Kimberly Steele
I just started reading horror novelist Richard Laymon. I was excited to read his novels because like me, he's known for brevity, gore, and dark eroticism. Picked up a book from the library called "The Woods are Dark."

The book wasn't my first choice--it's what the library had. The editors at Warner brutalized this one so badly in the editing process that Laymon was even "in tears." Laymon died and his daughter lovingly pieced together the original manuscript and published the book posthumously.

Th
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Mike Kazmierczak
While not as complex as some of his latter books, THE WOODS ARE DARK is still an extremely strong novel with a rawness to it that makes for excellent reading. I found out afterwards that the edition I read was actually a reissue of Laymon's second horror novel. The only difference that makes is the previously mentioned rawness that permeates the novel.

The action starts from the first page and comes at you fast and heavy. Three groups of people are attacked by the cannibalistic forest-dwelling fa
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Robby
It's as if some of the family got out of the Cellar, escaped from the Beast House, and ran into the woods to do what they do. In other words, Laymon doing what he does. An adult read; not for everyone; Laymon fans will not be displeased.
Sarah
30/3 - Okay, so hypothetical situation: you and your friend (both women) are driving through small-town America when a disturbingly disfigured 'man' comes scurrying out of the woods into the middle of the road. He is missing his lower half, not through an incomplete murder, but through a birth defect - he 'scurries' on his hands (wasn't this an X-Files episode?). He pulls a severed hand out of a vest pocket and throws it at you and then continues scurrying across the road and into the woods on t ...more
Patrick
It’s been a really long time since I read The Woods are Dark by this author. It’s been a rather long time and for some reason, I don’t even have a review for this book! But I will try and talk about it anyways.

The story was a rather generic one. The main characters travel out into California and stop for a rest. Soon, they are captured and taken out into the woods in order to be sacrificed for a group of deformed humans known as the Krull. There’s not really much else to say because the story is
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Peter West
"The woods are dark" and bears shit in them. That was my first thought when I read the title to this book. I picked this up mostly to look at different styles of horror writing. Several things struck me about this story. The ending was very poor. It gave the impression of being a book that is sold in airports, where the author has three hours to tell you a story then has to end mid-sentence because the plane is landing in Hawaii.

Ignoring the ending for a moment, the first thing I noticed was tha
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Richard
Outside of the gratuitous amounts of violence and sex, the story itself is rather generic. It's basically run of the mill survival horror that starts with two seperate story arcs (a family and two friends going hiking) that eventually join around their respective run in's with rednecks and a cannibalistic society. Laymon doesn't dig very deep with any of his characters, but I doubt much in this genre usually does. That said, it is an easy read easily done in less than a day. From what I understa ...more
Nikki
Lander got naked and ran through the woods.
Ben didn't make it. Didn't think he could.
Ruth was beaten, strung up to die.
Johnny tried to save them. It was suicide.
Cordie was initiated into the tribe.
Lost a finger, they would not be denied.
Sherri straddled the fence, she was bi.
Neala felt their friendship was a lie.
In the Woods, would they live or die?

by Nikki

Well, it started out fun then ventured into outlandish.
~Lander lost his mind a little too quick.
He was checkin' chicks out before he even f
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Kristina
Some books should never be restored and just left to rot in the grave they had been thrown in. This is one of those books. I just suck high hopes for it and the fact that i read another one by this author gave megreat hopes but they was soon shot down then lit on fire with flaming poo. At first your like this isn't too bad and by the end you wish you never read it and that the book would leave your house. It was a cross between a really REALLY bad horror movie and a porn. It was like a sex craze ...more
Trudi
This is a tough book to "enjoy"; it's incredibly violent and none of the characters are very likable. But it is scary; no matter what you may think of Laymon's abilities as a writer, his stories always manage to scare the living bejesus out of me. Trapped in the woods with a bunch of cannibalistic lunatics hunting me down has got to rank up there with one of the WORST ways to buy the farm. I can definitely see this one getting made into a movie. Pretty intense, but Laymon has written better.
Chiara
A piece of advise for every wannabe author:
If you're obsessed with anthropophagous erotic phantasies, you don't really have to go and publish all of them. In the case you absolutely feel compelled to do so, please do not label your book as "thriller". There are lots of people who are going to be very, very disappointed.
Kylie
I tried to read this book. I really tried! The writing is so terrible that it was just impossible to sit through.

The characterization is ludicrous and was probably the biggest issue for me. There is nothing believable at all about the characters, particularly the female characters. The story itself might have been interesting (though nothing interesting had happened by the time I stopped reading). Nothing could have saved this book though. The writing was painful.

I had hoped to find another hor
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Zauberlehrling!
Gestern habe ich das Buch beendet und muss leider sagen, dass ich nicht so richtig weiß, was ich da noch mehr sagen kann, als dass es sprichwörtlich ein Splatter-Horror-film in Buchform war. Der Hauptdarsteller Lander hat mich etwas beunruhigt.
Peter
Ordentlich und kurzweilig geschrieben aber sehr „strange“. Die Charaktere sind nicht unbedingt nachzuvollziehen und bleiben recht farblos. Beispielhaft wäre hier der ehemalige Pazifist zu nennen, der innerhalb kürzester Zeit zum immergeilen Rambo mutiert.

Mit viel wohlwollen könnte man die Entwicklung des Menschen anhand seiner Situation und entsprechend das Einstellungsvermögen der inneren Haltung im Sinne des Darwinismusses interpretieren. Nicht unbedingt der Stärkere sondern der Anpassungsfähi
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Phil Zimmerman
I read the Warner version on this book years ago and frankly don't remember much about it. I do remember that it was very similar to Ketchum's Off Season. Reading it again years later was sort of a new experience.

The forward lets the reader know that the Landers Dillse chapters make up for the majority of the uncut pages. These section are definitely the most gruesome and matter to the main story very little.

This is a classic Laymon tale with blood and sex galore. It is not quite as ridiculous
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Larry Hogue
This was the first Richard Laymon book i've read and im certanly not done reading him. I think the book is really good, really brutal.
joepr
what a strange read. the title of this book should have been "The woods are full of sex". i will never understand why in novels or in the movies people are escaping from killer maniacs... in the forest... and for some reason they have time to fall in love or have sex. come on, if i have some ugly albinos killers chasing me, believe me, you can be monica bellucci and if you dont run fast i will leave you behind. this novel started well but started with all the mindless sex that i couldnt understa ...more
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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,
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More about Richard Laymon...
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