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The Cellar

(Beast House Chronicles #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  6,694 ratings  ·  451 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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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,694 ratings  ·  451 reviews

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Well! There must be something wrong with me because I really enjoyed reading this twisted story. I thought this was my first Richard Laymon book but when I reached a certain part, I realized I read this book when I was still a teenager and never forgot how disturbing it was but I had no idea it was an R.L. book. (Richard Laymon was not in my vocabulary in that lifetime). I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
I have to laugh when I read some of the reviews because this is a true ho
Edward Lorn
Oct 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 25, 2010 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
Jun 17, 2010 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 03, 2011 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
Sep 28, 2011 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
May 26, 2015 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
Rob Errera
Aug 02, 2013 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
This is the second book that I've read by this author. I think I read somewhere that Stephen King likes this author's books. I'm not sure why.
I have no idea why I didn't DNF this, I definitely should have done. There's some imagery in here that I'll never get out of my head now.
The plot seems to consist of a house that has been the scene of a few grisly murders, a woman on the run from her abusive husband, who's just got out of jail after serving time for raping their daughter, two men who want
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.
Apr 26, 2013 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
Nov 29, 2012 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.
Printable Tire
May 02, 2012 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
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it
THE CELLAR is just a solid horror story. It's part monster story, part haunted house and coated in the word gore that only a twisted mind like Richard Laymon could ever conjure. If you've read anything by Richard Laymon, this book doesn't stray far from his usual path of writing. There is lots of brutality, lots of taboos, lots of sex and abuse. The subject matter is nothing new.

I had been meaning to get in to another Laymon read but procrastination and indecisiveness kept putting it off. I was
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
Jun 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-like, dnf
I made it past the 50% mark which is enough for me to feel comfortable writing a review for this one.

I've read a couple of Richard Laymon's later titles. In fact, the first Laymon I read was a novel that was released just after his passing. I have a lot of Laymons on my shelf, and I've been looking forward to finally making my way through them.

I believe The Cellar is Laymon's first published novel, and it's pretty terrible. The writing, the dialogue, and the characters are all unnatural and hard
Rebecca McDowell
Jan 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hated-it
Load of Crap - Part One
Michael Sorbello
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
Synopsis: 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. A woman named Donna goes on the run with her daughter Sandy when she learns that her ex-husband, who molested Sandy for years, has been released from prison. After a car accident leaves them stranded in the small California coastal town of M ...more
Jul 22, 2012 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 invol
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Overall - 4.5
Story - 4.5 stars
Narration - n/a stars
Scare Factor - 2 stars
X Factor - 5 stars (for some despicable characters)

As usual for this author, this story is UNBELIEVABLE! First, he creates a character that's as low and as dirty as it gets. Then he introduces a creature like no other you've ever heard of, add in some likeable characters, and this all comes together into a suspenseful tale with some elements of horror.
christina cooper
Blown away!

This author definitely knows his suspense, drama, gore, horrors and brings them all together with human and beast. What an ending! Going to have to move onto the next...highly recommend this to all fans of modern horror!
Quentin Wallace
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anthony Vacca
Both integrity and prudence behoove a reviewer of The Cellar, Richard Laymon’s debut novel, to take it to task for its lazy plotting, its inconsistent characters with their dubious motivations and boring sex scenes, and its exploitation of pedophilia as a means of manipulating the reader to keep turning the page as the author treats these frequent and unpleasant passages of predation as a sort of slapstick. Nonetheless, this particular reviewer must also parrot fellow reviewer Steve’s succinct a ...more
Tyler J Gray
Uh...3? I seriously have no idea wtf I just read.

Poorly written and full of nonsense, but easy to fly through (minus the wtf factor), and just...I have no idea ok?

I have no idea...
Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos
This was my first Richard Laymon book. I can see why, for a lot of people, he is an acquired taste. For the past two years I have read horror more than any other genre, and even I thought this book was a little bit too messed up in places.

The action surrounds a “beast” that inhabits a house called the Beast House by its owners who sell tours of the property. Laymon should get a lot of credit for coming up with a original and creepy baddie. It is seriously messed up. That said, there is at least
May 14, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  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'
Jill Franklin
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a decent read, reminiscent of most 70s early 80s horror. There were extremely unrealistic relationships formed almost instantly, along with other minor annoyances, but overall the storyline made up for the negatives. Cracking open the next book in the series now :)
Evans Light
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
The best and worst of Laymon rolled into one? Will have to ponder this one for a bit, let it settle...
Apr 03, 2014 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
Jason Christopher
Sep 26, 2015 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
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Richard Laymon Fans: The Cellar 34 76 Apr 03, 2016 03:08PM  
paced reading hor...: the cellar by richard laymon 15 29 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,

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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