A series of four books (a trilogy and a side-story novella) by the late Richard Laymon, they are his most well-known series, as well as one of his most controversial works. Set in the fictional California town of Malcasa Point, each volume mostly focuses on a different cast of characters coming into contact with the legendary Beast House, a house of horrors populated by vicious, man-eating monsters who kill any man who enters the house. The men are the lucky ones... The series is notorious for its graphic scenes of gore and sexual violence, a trio of the most despicable villains in horror, and helping to pioneer the "extreme horror" movement.The four books in the series are:
The Cellar (1980)
The Beast House (1986)
The Midnight Tour (1998)
Friday Night in Beast House (2001)
This series provides examples of:
Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: When Tyler is stripped naked and pinned down by a beast, she tries covering her crotch with her hand. To her horror, the beast's penis has sharp teeth in it!
Anyone Can Die: As a horror book, it kind of comes with the territory. However, hero Judgement Rucker's sudden, brutal, and unceremonious murder at the conclusion of The Cellar likely took even die-hard horror buffs by surprise.
Ascended Extra: Janice Crogan first appeared as an unnamed minor character in The Cellar and got promoted to one of the protagonists in The Beast House.
Attempted Rape: Near the end of The Beast House Tyler gets assaulted by the last remaining beast and barely manages to keep it from shoving its dick into her. Fortunately Captain Frank turns out to be Not Quite Deadand kills the beast. Considering how often rapists succeed in this series, she can count herself fortunate.
Sandy when she grows up and joins the police force.
Bastard Girlfriend: Monica in The Midnight Tour. A clingy, domineering woman that her boyfriend Owen can't get rid of fast enough. The only reason he hadn't dumped her yet is because she's also extremely sexy.
Big Bad: Maggie Kutch. She let the beasts kill her original family because the sex was good and then decided to capitalise on the fates of anyone who set foot in the Beast House by turning it into a tourist attraction. Her human lover, their son and daughter all follow her lead and Sandy eventually joins them.
Bittersweet Ending: Unlike the other two books and horror books in general, the ending of The Beast House is relatively upbeat. Not only all beasts and three villains get killed in the climax with every good guy surviving, but epilogue set a year or two later shows them still doing well: Tyler and Abe have a kid, Nora and Jake are still together and considering the same, Janice has become a millionaire and slowly recovers from her experience and Captain Frank has turned from the 'local crazie' to a national celebrity. Donna and her son by Jud are freed and Donna even gets a payback at Maggie. What keeps it from becoming an outright Happy Ending is the fact thatSandy and Agnes are still at large and Sandy is pregnantwith another beast...
Defiled Forever: The women who get raped by the beasts enjoy it so much that sex with normal men is never the same again.
Dont Gointhe Woods: Averted. The woods are much safer than the Beast House, though lingering in the woods just outside is tempting fate.
The Dog Bites Back: In the climax of The Beast House Janice lets Gorman Hardy, the man who killed her parents and tried to murder her mere minutes ago, to get brutally eviscerated by a beast before starting to shoot at the thing. Donna also manages to take her revenge at Maggie, for murdering Judgement, having her and her daughter raped by beasts for over a year and her daughter's Face-Heel Turn, by finishing her with a knife.
The Cellar has a doozy. Not only is hero/love interest Judgement Rucker murdered by Maggie Kutch, but Donna and 12-year-old Sandy wind up as prisoners of the beasts, raped repeatedly and apparently impregnated. And Sandy is starting to like it...
The Midnight Tour ends with Dana being abducted and raped by the beast Eric, and the book's final line implies that she is also beginning to enjoy it. Owen possibly gets one too, as he unexpectedly encounters his psychopathic ex-girlfriend, who stabbed him last time they saw each other... Even worse is that, with Laymon's death, it's unlikely a sequel will ever come along and resolve this.
Enemy Rising Behind: Eric spying on Dana and her friends in the hot tub. He then acts on this threat and abducts Dana.
Enfant Terrible: Eric. As soon as he can stand, he starts attacking and killing people.
And as soon as he hits puberty, he rapes his own mother!
Rape as Drama: What happens to women who fall into the hands of the beasts.
Semper Fi: Jack and Abe, two of The Beast House's protagonists, are retired Marines, who fought in the Vietnam War. They both prove to be real badasses and survive. The Marine Corps' badass reputation is also noted in the previous book The Cellar, when Roy decides against attacking a passing driver, noticing a Marine tattoo on the guy's hand.
Serial Rapist: Roy, the beasts and pretty much any male character who isn't meant to be a romantic lead.
Sex Slave: Donna and Sandy by the end of The Cellar
Stockholm Syndrome: Not only is this a common theme in the series, but it's essentially the premise! Maggie Kutch's husband and sons were murdered by the first beast, and she was brutally raped. Her response? To keep coming back for more, eventually have several children with the creature, build a house where they can live in peace, and eventually become the matriarch of a clan of mass-murdering rape-beasts preying on innocent civilians! Lily Thorn and Sandy Hayes also display this, to varying degrees.
You Sexy Beast: despite being ugly, slimy, vicious and sexually aggressive, women can't get enough of the beasts.
You Bastard: Despite the cruelty the characters go through, The Cellar was greenlit for two (and a half) sequels. Every instance where a woman gets raped or a good man gets murdered in The Beast House, The Midnight Tour and Friday Night at the Beast House was all because the fans kept coming back for more.