Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
Edward Lee is among the most notorious horror writers today. His grotesque and sexually explicit imagery continues to define and redefine the splatterpunk genre. Love him or hate him, Lee has been quite prolific penning more than 40 full length novels, including The Bighead, Header, and Flesh Gothic.
The House, published by Necro Publications, is a collection of two of Edward Lee’s most disturbing novellas: The Pig and The House. The Pig was originally released in 1997. It follows a young man named Leonard who once had dreams of writing and directing a masterpiece. Now, he works for the mob directing pornography. Not surprisingly, these porn films are not your run of the mill smut, but instead focus on bestiality, watersports, and torture. Leonard is forced to make these movies in an isolated cabin surrounded by junkie whores. His only means of subsistence is dog food and he is regularly beaten. Things cannot get much worse for Leonard that is until the mob has him film a scene with a pig.
The House, first printed in 2005, picks up the story of The Pig many years later. Rumor has it that the isolated house in the woods was once a spot where the mob disposed of bodies. The truth is much worse. However, journalist Melvin knows none of this when he is sent by his paper to do an article on the supposed “snuff” house. Melvin arrives, with his new stepmother in tow, ready to spend a week up at the cabin. Together, the two of them will embark upon a journey of discovery, horror, and sexual debauchery as the spirits of the house force them to relive the atrocities which occurred there.
The Pig has all of the hallmarks of Edward Lee in the late 1990s when he wrote The Bighead. The only purpose of The Pig is to outdo itself. Lee writes scene after scene of the most vile and vomit inducing sexual acts ever written. Whereas, The House was penned in the era of Gast (aka The Black Train). It is more refined. By the mid-2000s, Lee knows when to hold back and when to come on strong. The House almost seems tame until you get to “Shake-A-Puddin’.”
Then you read “Shake-A-Puddin’.” Even our hero cannot believe what he is witnessing. “Shake-A-Puddin’” is arguably the most disgusting thing Lee has ever written. The reader never sees it coming. However, after reading, it is quite clear that Lee set up the scene in the opening of the novella. Who would have ever thought of using a Hershey Syrup Bottle in that way?
Both tales infuse a level of social justice into the narrative, but this is Edward Lee. Expect to be offended and to laugh when it is most inappropriate. If you love Edward Lee, The House is a must read. Some may even call it a masterpiece, if you can use the word masterpiece to describe such a book.