First published back in February of 1986, Richard Laymon’s novel ‘The Beast House’ formed the sequel to ‘The Cellar’ (1980) and the second instalment in the four-book ‘Beast House Chronicles’ series.

DLS Synopsis:
Whilst cleaning one of the guest rooms at The Welcome Inn at Malcasa Point, teenager Janice Croyan stumbles upon the diary of Lilly Thorn. The journal dating back to 1903 tells of the young woman’s decent into bestial debauchery, enacted through her numerous encounters with a rampant beast residing at a Victorian house located in Janice’s very own hometown. The now infamous Beast House.

Realising the potential implications of this written account, Janice reaches out to bestselling author, Gorman Hardy with a proposition. This could be the author’s next big hit. A rare insight into the gruesome murders which supposedly occurred at the Beast House, adding weight to the nightmarish legends that have stayed with the property ever since.

Piquing the author’s interest, Hardy decides to investigate the teenager’s wild claims. A trip to Malcasa Point with his trusty photographer, Brian Blake, culminating in a meeting with Janice and his first sight at the diary. And within his first day spent at the quaint little town, Hardy finds that his trip is certainly not a wasted on. The diary reveals a story that he has no doubts will exceed the success of his previous bestselling book.

It appears there might be more to the Beast House than just a tacky tourist trap. A seventy-five-year string of disappearance and grisly murders at the hands of a vicious beast which may very well still be at large. The stuff of nightmares. Pure gold for an author of Hardy’s calibre.

Meanwhile, Tyler Moran and her friend Nora Branson have ended up at Malcasa Point whilst attempting to track down Tyler’s first love. Whilst en route they’d run into some trouble with a couple of yokels who’d attacked the girls. Luckily two ex-Marines happened to be driving by at the time, and heroically came to the pair’s rescue.

Having seen off the thugs, the four had decided to head to Malcasa Point to spend the weekend together in the town. Soak up some sun on the beach and have a few cold beers. Although, for Tyler the potential for finally seeing Dan Jenson again, her one love whom she’d parted with some five years ago, has put her nerves more than a little on edge.

However, there’s far more terrifying things to worry about awaiting them in Malcasa Point. What those visiting the seaside town are soon to discover, is that the gruesome legends of a creature residing in the shadowy old Victorian house is far from the work of fiction. What awaits them in the Beast House, is a horror more terrifying than their wildest nightmares…

DLS Review:
With his pervious novel, ‘The Cellar’ (1980), Laymon set in motion an utterly over-the-top pulp horror rollercoaster that conjured up so much more crazy-ass horror potential that it couldn’t be contained within a single book. So here we are, the sequel to the insanely and outrageously wild horror-fest. And with this second slab of Beast House horror, we’re handed just as much ferocious horror as was delivered with that first cult classic offering.

First off, we have an absolute textbook Laymon storyline that’s effortlessly woven into the overarching horror plot. The yokel attack on Tyler and Nora is a prime example. Essentially, it’s just there to introduce the two ex-Marines. However, of course, Laymon does so with nothing short of a sadistic and lust-fuelled scenario to bring them into. A classic over-the-top and wonderful elaborate approach to write them in. Any old excuse to throw in some pulpy, sleazy, violent action! You can’t help but love every bit of Laymon’s style.

When we’re at Malcasa Point, that’s where we start to get some real Rob Zombie-esque vibes. We’re introduced to an eccentric local known as Captain Frank whose lifelong mission is to kill the beast he believes his own father is responsible for bringing to Malcasa Point. You’ve also got Maggie Kutch, who puts on grisly guided tours of the Beast House for a few dollars for the admission fee. It’s all colourful and pulpish 80’s horror designed to deliver the maximum entertainment it can. And fuck does it achieve this.

Adding a slither more substance into the pot, Laymon peddles a bit more of a backstory into this sequel, giving the Beast House a history dating back to its original build when the notorious outlaw, Lyle Thorn, originally had the infamous property built. Then we have the roots of the Beast itself. How Captain Frank’s father brought an infantile creature back from his exploratory travels around the isolated islands near to Australia. An infant beast he’d dubbed Bobo, that would later grow into something truly monstrous.

Taking us through all of this are two converging storylines. The first follows the downright devious author, Gorman Hardy, who’s only interested in one thing – getting the fodder for his next bestseller. And trust me, this fucker will go to any lengths to get what he needs. And I literally mean any lengths. It’s frigging insane how quickly the character’s psychopathic side pops to the surface and those potentially in his way are swiftly taken out of the equation.

Then you have the other storyline – that of Tyler and Nora – which of course has a whole love arch and all that literary wholesomeness, snuggly nestled amongst the chaotic maelstrom of the Beast House and its tooth and clawed residents.

Man, it’s all so much fun for a horror fiend to lap up. And then, when the action starts to ramp up, the resulting blood-drenched horror is something you’ll absolutely devour.

Possibly the best way to sum up this whole extravagant horror romp, is to simply say it’s 80’s horror just doing its thing in all its bloodsoaked glory! That’s what this is. Over-the-top, gory and gruesome horror with so much packed into its pages that it’s nigh on impossible to put it down.

The novel runs for a total of 369 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Beast House Chronicles’ instalments:


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