The House by Edward Lee. Review by Jeff Burk
There are few authors in the world of horror as "hardcore" as Edward
Lee. Known for his extreme use of bloody violence, perverted sex, and every other manner of obscenity; Lee has developed his own cult-like following of avid readers. Amongst the favorites of these fans are gore-filled sex romps such as The Bighead, Header, and Splatterspunk. Lee's books have mostly been released in the expensive world of small press, with the occasional mass-market paperback from Leisure Books. Necro Publications has been kind enough to give fans affordable paperback editions of some of Lee's more gruesome works. The House is the latest in Necro's paperback line and all fans of extreme horror should rejoice.
The book contains two novellas. The first novella, titled "The
Pig," is one of Lee's classic works. Originally published in 1997, it is about aspiring filmmaker Leonard D'arava, who—after a series of
very unfortunate events—is making illegal pornographic films for the mafia. When a pig is brought to the safe house for the purpose of making another movie, things go from very bad to hellish for the doomed characters. "The Pig" is notorious as being one of Lee's more sexually demented works. Rape, sexual torture, and bestiality are all on constant display to sickening effect. A cast-iron stomach is required for this story.
The second novella, the brand new "The House," is not nearly as disgusting as the first story, but it does contain some dry-heave-inducing scenes. The story follows journalist Melvin and his investigation into a rumored haunted house, a house that he understands the mafia used to film some very nasty movies in. While the "The Pig" constantly assaults the reader with gross-out gore, "The House" develops at a slow pace creating an overwhelming sense of dread as Melvin uncovers the mysteries of the house.
A self-described "modern-pulp author," Lee's work is normally filled with monsters, serial killers, and all manner of perversion. His work may sound like it is aimed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, but it contains an undeniable literally quality. The House is a wonderful example of the power Lee holds over prose. His descriptions and word-play delight the reader, while at the same time inducing the gag-reflex. The plotting is extremely tight, as the reader will be compelled to find out the fates of Leonard and Melvin. This is no paint-by-the-numbers work of hackery like most of what is considered "extreme horror," but is a complex plot with many surprises to delight and thrill the reader.
Edward Lee manages to walk a very precarious line; he writes works of extreme horror but never lets the blood, guts, and bodily fluids detract from the plot. Each sickening scene propels the plot forward, a talent that many lesser horror writers would kill for. Necro Publications deserves commendation for printing these two stories in an affordable paperback (the previous publication of this book was a limited-edition hardcover). If you are a fan of extreme horror, you need to buy this book. If you have never delved into the darkest parts of the literary horror world, prepare yourself. You might be offended and you might be grossed-out, but you can be sure you will never forget The House.
Jeff Burk has been an avid fan of wierd fiction for longer than could
be mentally healthy. He also writes reviews at the Bizarro webzine the Dream People.