Some six years ago, I read this book “Out are the Lights”, got it from my Brother’s Girlfriend, a crumpled 80’s paperback with yellow pages. Some B Grade horror, Boy..!! I loved that… creepy story line, no supernatural ghosts, just humans capable of doing grotesque crimes, scary sequences, lovable character, especially the female lead Connie…
Since then Laymon have been one of my favourite trash authors. Just like those Zombie and Slasher movies, the gory, splattering horror has its own charm. No class, no place in the literature, but once or twice every year I pay my homage to them, and for this Laymon is my source (At least until now).
Well coming to ‘The Cellar’, I got it from flipkart for some 550 bucks (with approx. 250 pages, it’s more than a Rs. 2/per page affair). When I was in college (read ‘unemployed’) pages per rupee used to be a significant factor before buying any book… leave the exceptions like Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Gresham, Paulo Coelho etc. Coming to the point, right from the beginning it disappoints.
It opens with a beast house, a house notorious for some 11 murders by some beast, then this single mother running away from her Ex-husband, a convicted paedophile. She runs away and enters the town of the beast house, meets the new love of his life, the guy called Jud (short for Judgement), the visit to beast house, the new found love is hell bent on killing the beast, the Ex-Husband tortures, murders and rapes on his way to chase his wife (wondering why she decided to flee only on the day he’s freed… I mean she had 6 whole years for that, why the hell only on getting the news), anyways, the lover boy goes on beast house expedition, finds an old diary about a women and her pet beast, or the beast and her pet women… whatever… crap.. well the Ex-Husband comes in, fights the new found love, as usual the lover-boy wins, decides to put the Bad Guy in the beast house… ends up dead himself… and the lady and her daughter? Well the last page tells their fate… I won’t spoil it for anyone still interested..!!
After the plot the biggest setback are the characters, The Ex-Husband Roy, he kills without reason, and emerges more as a frustrated loser then a terrifying killer on the loose (Compared to the similar Husband on hunt in Stephen King’s “Rose Madder’ he’s too naive and fails in creating an impact), and The women Donna, She has no class (unlike Connie in ‘Out are the Lights’), I mean the first day in new town and she dates this guy, common, and her daughter, somewhat aged 12, She’s Slow, or we can say retard… no no “Special” will be better term… (Don’t want SRK’s son suing me now), Jud is umm… Stupid, I never got satisfied with his reasons to kill the beast. In all no one impresses, not on any front.
Before ordering the book, I read a few reviews on Amazon, and a lot of people have mentioned the climax as gory, fantastic, most unpredictable, blah blah… yeah it is ‘unpredictable’ but sorry I’m not impressed… I’ve expected better.
Conclusion: gross, crap, pathetic, No more Richard Laymon for the time being… at least not for a year… 🙂
My Rating: 1/5