"THE WOODS ARE DARK" by Richard Laymon was recommended by one of our co-moderators at Disturbing Books, and boy, did she have a lot to say about it…

From her post, which you can read in full here: http://disturbingbooks.livejournal.com/27470.html

The Woods are Dark by Richard Laymon

There are 2 versions of this novel - it was released in 1981 only after it was heavily butchered by the editors (almost 50 pages were removed). In 2008 the original, unedited version was released and this is the version that I just read, last night in one shot, lol.

I don’t want to give too much away so all I have to say is that the novel is fucked up on page 1 and after that I really don’t think there were any pages that weren’t fucked up, lol.

The Woods Are Dark is a 1981 horror novel by American author Richard Laymon. It was one of his earliest published works, and one he credits with having all but destroyed his publishing career in the United States.

An uncut version of the novel was released by Cemetery Dance Publications in July 2008. It includes fifty pages of material that was cut from the original Warner Books release, and was later found by Kelly Laymon among some of her father’s old papers, along with the full original manuscript (which was extensively edited by Warner for its initial publication). This creative interference, together with the original publication’s disastrous cover artwork, is what Laymon often credited with having ruined his at first promising U.S. publishing career.

The plot concerns two groups of people, a family and a pair of college students, who are kidnapped after stopping in a small California town and taken into the forest to be sacrificed to a group of mysterious creatures, called “Krulls,” who roam the surrounding wilderness. The identity of the Krulls, and their relationship to the town of Barlow, are revealed gradually over the course of the novel.

Publishers Weekly seems to agree that this book is not to everyone’s tastes, so to speak:

Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, this reissue of Laymon’s second horror novel (first published in 1981) restores the editorially butchered text to all of its gory glory. In gleefully gruesome fashion, it recounts the ordeal of three different groups of people-hikers Neala and Sherri, vacationing teacher Lander Dills and his family, and local yokel Johnny Robbins-as they attempt to defend themselves against the cannibal Krulls, a forest-dwelling family of inbred savages who for centuries have demanded that the citizens of the nearby burg of Barlow provide them with waylaid travelers for their feeding and breeding. In their desperation to survive at all costs, the seemingly civilized victims find themselves stooping to behavior as beastly as that practiced by their predatory pursuers. This novel is prime Laymon (The Cellar), featuring characters reduced to appetites both carnal and carnivorous and a plot flensed free of all but the bloody bones of storytelling. While not every horror reader’s meat, this savage shockfest is a good example of the pulpy approach that has earned the late author a loyal readership for three decades.

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