Funland – Richard Laymon

scary amusement park richard laymon

Title: Funland
Author: Richard Laymon

Richard Laymon’s novel, “Funland,” is a macabre ride into depravity. Set in the amusement park town of Beardsley, the story delves into the dark underbelly of a seemingly innocent tourist attraction, beneath which unspeakable horror occurs.

Funland is Richard Laymon at his seediest best. Imagine a boardwalk amusement park overrun by a wicked crew of homeless individuals who emerge at night to terrorize anyone foolish enough to still be in the park after dark. Now imagine a misguided, vigilante group of youngsters whose aim it is to rid the homeless – trolls as they are called – from the park.


Review of Richard Laymon’s “Funland”

Title: “Funland”
Author: Richard Laymon
Genre: Horror
Rating: ★★★★☆

Richard Laymon’s “Funland” is a gripping entry in the horror genre, weaving together a thrilling narrative that captures the imagination and provokes fear in the reader. Set in a derelict amusement park, Laymon masterfully uses this ominous backdrop to create an atmosphere of terror and suspense.

Plot Overview:
The story takes place in the coastal town of Boleta Bay, where a group of local teenagers decide to explore the eerie and decaying amusement park known as “Funland.” However, the park’s dark history and the terrifying Trolls—a group of menacing, nocturnal vagrants that stalk the park—soon become a horrifying reality. The plot unravels as secrets are uncovered, and the characters are drawn into a nightmare they can’t escape.


  1. Setting: Laymon’s description of the amusement park is detailed and visceral, turning a place usually associated with joy and laughter into a nightmare landscape.
  2. Pacing: The book’s fast pace keeps the reader engaged, with twists and turns that maintain a high level of tension throughout.
  3. Character Development: The characters are well-drawn and relatable, with enough depth to invest readers in their plight.
richard laymon amusement park


  1. Graphic Content: Some readers may find the level of violence and explicit content in “Funland” to be too intense.
  2. Predictability: Certain plot elements may feel familiar to seasoned horror fans, making some twists less surprising.

More thoughts on “Funland”:
“Funland” is a thrill ride of a novel that plunges its characters (and readers) into the dark and twisted world of a haunted amusement park. Richard Laymon’s storytelling is tight and effective, delivering a read that is both entertaining and unnerving.

Fans of Laymon’s unique brand of horror will likely find much to enjoy in “Funland,” while those new to his work should be prepared for a darker, more brutal take on the genre. If you’re in the mood for an intense, horror-filled journey, “Funland” may be the ticket. Just be warned: this is not a place for the faint of heart.

Laymon’s fast-paced writing style immerses readers in the events that unfold. From the very beginning, the author creates an atmosphere of suspense and unease, maintaining it throughout the narrative. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger, compelling readers to keep turning the pages in anticipation of what lies ahead.

Laymon brings his characters to life, imbuing them with distinct personalities, desires, and fears. While some may find the actions and motivations of certain characters questionable, their flaws and complexities add depth to the story.

“Funland” is not for the faint of heart. Laymon pushes the boundaries of horror, delivering gruesome and shocking scenes. The level of violence and gore may not be suitable for all readers, but for those who enjoy a darker, more intense experience, this novel delivers in spades.

Another notable aspect of Laymon’s storytelling is his ability to create a vivid and atmospheric setting. Beardsley and its amusement park come alive on the pages, evoking a sense of nostalgia mixed with menace. The author’s attention to detail in describing the rides, attractions, and overall ambiance adds an extra layer of authenticity to the story, further immersing the reader in his horrific world.

I admit to often being uneasy with the way Laymon depicted the homeless in some of his books (Night in the Lonesome October being another example). However, I don’t believe it is fair to assume he was making a blanket statement, as much as he was creating a rogue group capable of chilling your skin with their despicable actions.

Oh, and if you were wondering, there is a lot more to the amusement park than meets the eye. Horrors far worse than the trolls lurk within.

The visuals in Funland are horrific, pure Laymon genius. This is the sort of creep show that stays with you long after you finish reading it.

“Funland” contains explicit content and graphic violence, which may not be suitable for all readers.

Richard Laymon: Horror Author

Richard Laymon (1947 – 2001) was an American author renowned for his contribution to the horror genre. With over sixty short stories, novellas, and novels to his name, Laymon’s work has become synonymous with intense and often graphic storytelling.

Early Life and Education

Born on January 14, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois, Laymon exhibited a passion for reading and writing at a young age. He later attended Willamette University in Oregon and received his B.A. in English Literature. He furthered his studies by earning an M.A. in English Literature from Loyola University in Los Angeles.

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Literary Career

Laymon’s writing career began in the late 1970s, and his debut novel, “The Cellar,” was published in 1980. His works were known for their explicit content, dark themes, and relentless pacing. Laymon’s ability to create atmospheric and terrifying tales made him a beloved figure among horror enthusiasts.

His writing style was characterized by its graphic nature and his penchant for exploring the darker sides of human behavior. Notable works include “In the Dark,” “The Traveling Vampire Show,” and “Island.”

Laymon’s success in the United States was tempered by various challenges, including issues with publishers and content censorship. However, he found a robust readership in the United Kingdom and became one of the country’s best-selling horror authors during the 1980s and 1990s.

Awards and Recognition

Laymon’s work has received several accolades, including winning the Bram Stoker Award for his book “The Traveling Vampire Show.” Though some readers and critics found his work polarizing due to its explicit content, his unique voice and storytelling ability have garnered a dedicated fanbase and respect among his peers.

Personal Life

Laymon was known for being a dedicated family man, and his daughter, Kelly Laymon, has become an author herself. He was an active participant in the literary community and a member of the Horror Writers Association.

Untimely Death

Tragically, Richard Laymon’s life was cut short when he passed away on February 14, 2001, from a massive heart attack. He was 54 years old. His untimely death was a significant loss to the world of horror literature.


Richard Laymon’s influence on the horror genre continues to be felt, and his works remain popular with fans of intense and thrilling horror. His commitment to pushing boundaries and exploring the dark recesses of the human psyche ensures that his legacy as a master of horror will endure. Many contemporary horror authors cite Laymon as an inspiration, and his books continue to be read and celebrated by a new generation of horror enthusiasts.

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