caite.info Hell House by Richard Matheson. Richarad Matheson's Hell House is one of those horror novels that readers proclaim as brilliant. Editorial Reviews. Review. "Hell House is the scariest haunted house novel ever written. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills.". Hell House book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Can any soul survive?Regarded as the Mount Everest of haunted houses.
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Hell House was originally published by The Viking Press, Inc., in This is a work of fiction. . Author: Matheson Richard Size Report. DOWNLOAD PDF. RICHARD MATHESON I Am Legend PART I: January Chapter One ON THOSE CLOUDY DAYS, Robert Neville was never sure w. Hell House. Home · Hell House Author: Richard Matheson. downloads Hell House. Read more · Richard Matheson - Hell House · Read more.
Still, she had to go. Only hers remained, a tiny, pulsing aura of light in the vastness of the hall; the fire had gone out an hour earlier. The 70's called Still, that house was such an unknown factor. The darkly paneled bedroom was immense. The Night Stalker. He was versed in natural and metaphysical philosophy.
Eight people involved in those attempts were killed, committed suicide, or went insane. Only one survived, and I have no idea how sound he is--Benjamin Fischer, one of the two who'll be with me. It's simply that the details of the investigation may be"--he shrugged--"a little nasty. With me in New York, and you in Maine? Pack and unload your equipment, for instance. Help you set up your experiments.
Type the rest of your manuscript; you said you wanted to have it ready by the first of the year. And I want to be with you when you prove your theory. It was obvious she didn't want to stay behind. He could appreciate that. Except for his three weeks in London in , they'd never been separated since their marriage. Would it really hurt that much to take her?
Certainly, she'd experienced enough psychic phenomena by now to be accustomed to it. Still, that house was such an unknown factor. It hadn't been called Hell House without reason. Even believing that he knew exactly what that power was, dare he expose Edith to it?
Florence Tanner crossed the yard which separated her small house from the church and walked along the alley to the street. She stood on the sidewalk and gazed at her church. It was only a converted store, but it had been everything to her these past six years.
She looked at the sign in the painted window: She smiled. It was indeed. Those six years had been the most spiritually harmonious of her life. She walked to the door, unlocked it, and went inside. The warmth felt good. Shivering, she turned on the wall lamp in the vestibule. Her eye was caught by the bulletin board: Sunday Services Healing and Prophecy--Tuesdays, 7: Lectures and Spirit Greetings--Wednesdays, 7: Messages and Revelations--Thursdays, 7: Holy Communionst Sunday of Month She turned and gazed at her photograph tacked to the wall, the printed words above it: For several moments she was pleased to be reminded of her beauty.
Forty-three, she still retained it unimpaired, her long red hair untouched by grayness, her tall, Junoesque figure almost as trim as it had been in her twenties. She smiled in self-depreciation then. Vanity of vanities, she thought. She went into the church, walked along the carpeted aisle, and stepped onto the platform, taking a familiar pose behind the lectern. She looked at the rows of chairs, the hymnals set on every third one. She visualized her congregation sitting before her.
She had told them at the morning and evening services. Told them of the need for her to be away from them for the next week. Told them of the answer to their prayers--the means to build a true church on their own property. Asked them to pray for her while she was gone. Florence clasped her hands on the lectern and closed her eyes. Her lips moved slightly as she prayed for the strength to cleanse the Belasco house.
It had such a dreadful history of death and suicide and madness. It was a house most horribly defiled. She prayed to end its curse. The prayer completed, Florence lifted her head and gazed at her church. She loved it deeply. Still, to be able to build a real church for her congregation was truly a gift from heaven. And at Christmastime. She smiled, eyes glistening with tears.
God was good.
Edith finished brushing her teeth and gazed at her reflection in the mirror--at her short-cut auburn hair, her strong, almost masculine features. Her expression was a worried one. Disturbed by the sight of it, she switched off the bathroom light and returned to the bedroom. Lionel was asleep. She sat on her bed and looked at him, listening to the sound of his heavy breathing. Poor dear, she thought. There had been so much to do. By ten o'clock he'd been exhausted, and she'd made him go to bed.
Edith lay on her side and continued looking at him. She'd never seen him so concerned before. He'd made her promise that she'd never leave his side once they'd entered the Belasco house. Could it be that bad? She'd been to haunted houses with Lionel and never been frightened. He was always so calm, so confident; it was impossible to be afraid when he was near.
Yet, he was disturbed enough about the Belasco house to make an issue of her staying by his side at all times. Edith shivered. Would her presence harm him? Would looking after her use up so much of his limited energy that his work would suffer? She didn't want that. She knew how much his work meant to him. Still, she had to go. She'd face anything rather than be alone. She'd never told Lionel how close she'd come to a mental breakdown during those three weeks he'd been gone in It would only have distressed him, and he'd needed all his concentration for the work he was doing.
So she'd lied and sounded cheerful on the telephone the three times he'd called--and, alone, she'd wept and shaken, taken tranquilizers, hadn't slept or eaten, lost thirteen pounds, fought off compulsions to end it all.
Met him at the airport finally, pale and smiling, told him that she'd had the flu. Edith closed her eyes and drew her legs up. She couldn't face that again. The worst haunted house in the world threatened her less than being alone. He couldn't sleep. Fischer opened his eyes and looked around the cabin of Deutsch's private plane. Strange to be sitting in an armchair in an airplane, he thought.
Strange to be sitting in an airplane at all. He'd never flown in his life. Fischer reached for the coffeepot and poured himself another cupful. He rubbed a hand across his eyes and picked up one of the magazines lying on the coffee table in front of him. It was one of Deutsch's. What else? After a while his eyes went out of focus, and the words on the page began to blur together. Going back, he thought.
The only one of nine people still walking around, and he was going back for more. They'd found him lying on the front porch of the house that morning in September , naked, curled up like a fetus, shivering and staring into space. When they'd put him on a stretcher, he'd begun to scream and vomit blood, his muscles knotting, rocldike. He'd lain in a coma three months in the Caribou Falls Hospital.
When he'd opened his eyes, he'd looked like a haggard man of thirty, a month short of his sixteenth birthday.
Now he was forty-five, a lean, gray-haired man with dark eyes, his expression one of hard, suspicious readiness. Fischer straightened in the chair. Never mind; it's time, he thought. He wasn't fifteen anymore, wasn't naive or gullible, wasn't the credulous prey he'd been in Things would be different this time. He'd never dreamed in his wildest fancies that he'd be given a second chance at the house. After his mother had died, he'd traveled to the West Coast. Probably, he later realized, to get as far away as possible from Maine.
He'd committed clumsy fraud in Los Angeles and San Francisco, deliberately alienating Spiritualists and scientists alike in order to be free of them.
He'd existed barely for thirty years, washing dishes, doing farmwork, selling door to door, janitoring, anything to earn money without using his mind. Yet, somehow, he'd protected his ability and nurtured it. It was still there, maybe not as spectacular as it had been when he was fifteen, but very much intact--and backed now by the thoughtful caution of a man rather than the suicidal arrogance of a teenager.
He was ready to shake loose the dormant psychic muscles, exercise and strengthen them, use them once more. Against that pesthole up in Maine. Against Hell House. The two black Cadillacs moved along the road, which twisted through dense forest. In the lead car was Deutsch's representative. Barrett, Edith, Florence Tanner, and Fischer rode in the second, chauffeur-driven limousine, Fischer sitting on the pull-down seat, facing the other three.
Florence put her hand on Edith's. She drew her hand away. Still--" Florence hesitated, then went on. Barrett, I trust. It was the first time he'd spoken in an hour. Barrett turned to him. His gaze flicked across their faces.
Seeing no objection, he lit one.
Florence was about to say something more to Barrett, then changed her mind. Television mostly, an occasional film. My acting name was Florence Michaels. Florence looked at Barrett, then at Fischer. How can that house not fall before us?
It's obviously a case of multiple haunting. Florence smiled. Florence and Fischer looked at Barrett. They all looked toward the windows as the car angled downward. He looked at Edith.
Fischer stubbed his cigarette in the ashtray, blowing out smoke. Looking forward again, he winced. Its speed was decreased by the driver, and they saw him leaning forward, peering through the windshield.
After several moments he switched on the fog lights and wipers. They all stared through the windows at the curling fog. It was as though they rode inside a submarine, slowly navigating downward through a sea of curdled milk. At various moments, trees or bushes or boulder formations would appear beside the car, then disappear. The only sound was the hum of the engine. At last the car was braked.
They all looked forward to see the other Cadillac in front of them. There was a faint sound as its door was closed. Then the figure of Deutsch's representative loomed from the mist.
Barrett depressed a button, and the window by his side slid down. He grimaced at the fetid odor of the mist.
The man leaned over. The telephone has been connected, the electricity is on, and your rooms are ready. Supper will be delivered at six. Any questions? Barrett looked at him, then back at the man. He turned away. Barrett smiled as he raised the window. He clambered over the seat and got in front. Starting the motor, he turned left onto the rutted blacktop road.
Edith drew in sudden breath. For the past five minutes Fischer had been inching the Cadillac along the narrow, fog-bound road. Now he braked and stopped the engine. He wrenched up the door handle and ducked outside, buttoning his Navy pea coat. Edith turned as Lionel opened the door beside him. She waited as he struggled out, then edged across the seat after him.
She shivered as she got out. He was gazing across the hood of the car. They had gone only a few yards when they reached a narrow concrete bridge. As they walked across it, Edith looked over the edge. If there was water below, the mist obscured it from sight. She glanced back. Already the limousine was swallowed by fog. Edith turned and saw a body of water ahead, a gravel path curving to its left.
The surface of the water looked like clouded gelatin sprinkled with a thin debris of leaves and grass. A miasma of decay hovered above it, and the stones which lined its shore were green with slime. He shook his head. Finally he said, "I'll tell you later.
The cold was numbing, a clammy chill that seemed to dew itself around their bones. Edith drew up the collar of her coat and stayed close to Lionel, holding on to his arm and looking at the ground. Just behind them walked Florence Tanner. When Lionel stopped at last, Edith looked up quickly.
It stood before them in the fog, a massive, looming specter of a house. Edith looked at her. As she looked at him, he shuddered. Reaching out, she put her hand in his. He gripped it so hard it made her wince. Barrett and Edith gazed up at the shrouded edifice.
In the mist, it resembled some ghostly escarpment blocking their path. Edith leaned forward suddenly. Perhaps--" "We're wasting time," Fischer cut him off. He let go of Florence's hand and lurched forward.
They walked the final yards along the gravel path, then started up the wide porch steps. Edith saw that all the steps were cracked, fungus and frosted yellow grass sprouting from the fissures. They stopped before the massive double doors. Barrett gripped the handle on the door and depressed its thumb plate. The door held fast. He glanced at Fischer. It wouldn't turn. He wiggled the key back and forth, attempting to loosen the bolt. Abruptly the key turned over, and the heavy door began to swing in.
Edith twitched as Florence caught her breath. Florence shook her head. Edith glanced at him in surprise. Barrett," Florence explained. It's nothing to be alarmed about. Now he found it, and they heard him flick it up and down without result. He looked into the house. Deutsch will have to provide us with a new generator, that's all. Barrett smiled at her expression. Barrett looked inside the house. I assume there must be some inside--" He broke off, looking at the flashlight Fischer had taken out of his coat pocket.
Fischer switched on the flashlight, pointed the beam inside, then, bracing himself, stepped acoss the threshold. Barrett went in next. He stepped through the doorway, seemed to listen briefly.
Turning then, he extended his hand to Edith. She entered the house, clutching at his hand. She nodded, smiling faintly. She looked around. Fischer played the flashlight beam around the dark immensity of the entry hall.
The narrow cone of light jumped fitfully from place to place, freezing momentarily on hulking groups of furniture; huge, leaden-colored paintings; giant tapestries filmed with dust; a staircase, broad and curving, leading upward into blackness; a second-story corridor overlooking the entry hall; and far above, engulfed by shadows, a vast expanse of paneled ceiling.
Florence looked around. At the end of the corridor stood a pair of metal-faced swinging doors. Fischer pushed one of them open and stepped into the kitchen, holding the door ajar for the others. When all of them had gone inside, he let the door swing back and turned. The kitchen was twenty-five by fifty feet, its perimeter rimmed by steel counters and dark-paneled cupboards, a long, double-basin sink, a gigantic stove with three ovens, and a massive walk-in refrigerator.
In the center of the room, like a giant's steel-topped casket, stood a huge steam table. Fischer pointed the flashlight at the large electric wall clock above the stove. Its hands were stopped at 7: Barrett wondered as he limped along the wall to his right, pulling open drawers.
Edith and Florence stood together, watching him. Barrett pulled open one of the cupboard doors and grunted as Fischer shone the light over.
Shrimp bisque. Sweetbreads in gravy. Stewed capon. Bread sauce in gravy. Creamed cauliflower. They started back across the entry hall, each carrying a candle in a holder. As they moved, the flickering illumination made their shadows billow on the walls and ceiling. They moved beneath an archway six feet deep and stopped, Edith and Florence gasping almost simultaneously.
Barrett whistled softly as he raised his candle for a maximum of light. The great hall measured ninety-five by forty-seven feet, its walls two stories high, paneled in walnut to a height of eight feet, rough-hewn blocks of stone above. Across from where they stood was a mammoth fireplace, its mantel constructed of antique carved stone. The furnishings were all antique except for scattered chairs and sofas upholstered in the fashion of the twenties.
Marble statues stood on pedestals in various locations. In the northwest corner was an ebony concert grand piano, and in the center of the hall stood a circular table, more than twenty feet across, with sixteen high-backed chairs around it and a large chandelier suspended over it.
Good place to set up my equipment, Barrett thought; the hall had obviously been cleaned. He lowered his candle. They left the great hall, moved across the entry hall, beneath the overhanging staircase, and turned right into another corridor. Several yards along its length, they reached a pair of swinging walnut doors set to their left.
Barrett pushed one in and peered inside. They went inside, reacting to the musty smell. The theater was designed to seat a hundred people, its walls covered with an antique red brocade, its sloping, three-aisled floor with thick red carpeting. On the stage, gilded Renaissance columns flanked the screen, and spaced along the walls were silver candelabra wired for electricity.
The seats were custom-made, upholstered with wine-red velvet. He held open one of the doors. The house tried to kill me; it almost succeeded. Then he changed his mind and peered down the corridor.
As she neared the door, she started making sounds of apprehension in her throat. Edith glanced at her uneasily. She didn't answer. Almost to the door, she held back. With a faint, involuntuy cry, she shrank back. Edith started. She sucked in breath and shook her head with tiny movements. Barrett put his hand on Edith's arm.
She looked at him and saw his lips frame the words, "It's all right. Florence nodded, turning away. As she went inside the chapel, Edith braced herself, expecting a shock of some kind. Feeling nothing, she turned to Lionel in confusion, started to speak, then waited until they were apart from Fischer. A church in hell; that sort of thing. There were wooden pews for fifty people. In front was an altar; above it, glinting in the candlelight, a life-size, flesh-colored figure of Jesus on the cross.
She made a sound of revulsion, staring at the obscene crucifix. The air seemed suddenly thick, coagulating in her throat. Now she noticed that the walls were covered with pornographic murals. Her eye was caught by one on her right, depicting a mass orgy involving half-clothed nuns and priests. The faces on the figures were demented--leering, slavering, darkly flushed, distorted by maniacal lust.
As he escorted her along the aisle, Edith saw that Fischer had already left. They found him in the corridor. Edith stared at him. He called again. Can you hear me? There was candlelight inside the great hall.
Fischer's expression had not relaxed. She was standing on the far side of the hall. Their footsteps clicked in broken rhythm on the floor as they crossed to her. Florence gestured toward the piece of furniture she was standing beside, a phonograph installed inside a walnut Spanish cabinet.
Reaching down to its turntable, she lifted off a record and showed it to them. Florence looked at Fischer, who was standing several yards away, staring at the phonograph. Barrett wound the crank tight, ran a fingertip across the end of the steel needle, and set it on the record edge. There was a crackling noise through the speaker, then a voice.
Think of me as your unseen host and believe that, during your stay here, I shall be with you in spirit.
Go where you will, and do what you will--these are the cardinal precepts of my home. Feel free to function as you choose. There are no responsibilities, no rules.
May you find the answer that you seek. It is here, I promise you. Barrett raised the needle arm and switched off the phonograph. The great hall was immensely still. The accounts say nothing of it. Then he said, "Guests would arrive, to find him gone. That record would be played for them. While the guests were here, Belasco spied on them from hiding.
Said that he could will the attention of a group of people to some particular object, and move among them unobserved. They were moving up the staircase when an icy breeze passed over them, causing their candle flames to flicker. Edith's flame went out. He declined his candle to relight hers. Barrett took her by the arm, and they started up the stairs again.
As she and Lionel ascended the stairs, Florence and Fischer exchanged a look. They reached the second floor and, turning to the right, started along the balcony corridor. On their right, the heavy balustrade continued.
To their left, set periodically along a paneled wall, were bedroom doors. Barrett approached the first of these and opened it. He looked inside, then turned to Florence. She stepped into the doorway. After several moments, she turned back to them. She smiled at Edith. He gestured toward the room. He followed Edith inside and shut the door.
Edith watched as he limped around the bedroom. To her left were a pair of carved walnut Renaissance beds, between them a small table with a lamp and a French-style telephone on it. A fireplace was centered on the opposite wall, in front of it a heavy walnut rocking chair. The teakwood floor was almost covered by a twenty-by-thirty-foot blue Persian rug, in the middle of which stood an octagonal-topped table with a matching chair upholstered in red leather.
Barrett glanced into the bathroom, then returned to her. That's why I glossed over it. No matter what Miss Tanner thinks. I should have mentioned that before we left.
She's a Spiritualist, as you know. Survival of and communication with the so-called disincarnate is the foundation of her belief; an erroneous foundation, as I intend to prove. In the meantime, though"--he smiled--"be prepared to hear her views expressed.
I can't very well ask that she remain mute. Above the chest, suspended from the ceiling, was a large Italian silver lamp.
Directly across from her, by the paneled window shutters, was a Spanish table with a matching chair. On top of the table was a Chinese lamp and a French-style telephone. Also, I believe that the short story is the most effective vehicle for terror because it compels the writer to concentrate on a single effect and use his horror judiciously.
The novel, because of its length, tends to do the opposite. Matheson is too good a craftsman to completely ruin his terror with horror, but I think in Hell House he comes close. The book begins well enough, with an atmospheric investigation of the old house and an absorbing narrative of its history, including the career of its owner, the evil Emeric Belasco, but then about a third of the way through poltergeist phenomena starts to occur.
Soon the sexual attacks begin, first as tentative bitings and gropings much of it prurient, inflicted on a medium who is described as a big-breasted, beautiful former movie star. And then there is of course the cat attack, the cache of pornographic polaroids, various superficial wounds, etc.
Still more than a hundred pages to go, and the reader is shocked and horrified already. So what does Matheson do? He doubles down. In writing, literal descriptions of horror operate much like the detailed relations of sexual or violent acts both of which--come to think of it--they often contain. A little surprises and shocks us, more than a page or two bores us, and three pages or more makes us laugh even against our will, for an extensive delineation of horror inevitably becomes an unconscious parody of the effects the writer wishes to achieve.
The last third of Hell House often merited my involuntary laughter. And by the end of the book I was so thoroughly bored that I almost failed to register the fizzle of its ineffective ending. Still, there are some excellent thrills here. If you--unlike me--value horror above terror, you may find a lot here to like. View all 42 comments. Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.
Hell House is the sexually awkward tale of a haunted house that can't even bother to be haunted until the book is nearly over. Barrett has been hired by a wealthy, dying man to investigate one of the most haunted houses known to man: Hell House.
Along with his wife and two professional mediums, Dr. Barrett packs up his scientific gear and embarks to the long-abandoned house to settle the question once a Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. Barrett packs up his scientific gear and embarks to the long-abandoned house to settle the question once and for all: Do ghosts actually exist? Perhaps the most physically chilling aspect of the house is that all of its windows have been bricked up, so the interior is cast in eternal gloom.
It's reputation, however, is the most terrifying aspect of all: There were two attempts to investigate it, one in , the other in Both were disasters. Eight people involved in those attempts were killed, committed suicide, or went insane. Only one survived, and I have no idea how sound he is. It's a quick and easy read, driven forward by the author's keen use of dialogue. Even when very little is happening, the natural flow of conversation keeps the story moving at a steady pace.
The book does, however, have what is perhaps the most poorly constructed sentence yet encountered: Tongues of flame leaped upward crackingly.
Hell House may have been more suitable under the category of mystery rather than horror , because so much of the book has to do with the question of whether or not Dr. Barrett can solve the mystery of the house. Unfortunately, Dr. Barrett's scientific approach to hauntings and his pragmatic thinking is often invoked to downplay the paranormal events at Hell House, which actively dilutes any chilling moments.
Over two hundred pages in, Horny House Hell House finally shifts from reading like a mystery to proclaiming itself a horror novel. Strangely, the author relies heavily on rape to drive his plot. And he regularly invokes a fear of sexual orientation -- suggesting that, to one character in particular, there's nothing more horrific than the mere notion of being gay. After waiting so long to be spooked or feel a burning need to turn on all the lights, the notion that a character might falter in sexual orientation was hardly a terrifying payoff.
On that note, the book often reads like a male sexual fantasy. There are several crude, salacious, hyper-sexualized incidences in this book, and they always involve women. It gives the reader a very uncomfortable sense that the author was penning his own sexual fantasies while writing this book. Whether or not that's true doesn't change the fact that the depictions of female characters are enough to invoke an excess of eye-rolling and bodily cringes.
Speaking of which, the book includes this bizarre gem: After such a long wait for noteworthy paranormal events to transpire, the story suddenly moves at a clipped pace with a mediocre reveal provided at its conclusion. View all 37 comments. One day, a young woman, who had crisply turned 18 and was fresh out of school, explored the horror genre while walking around an abandoned building. She was on a trip with her family to visit a lovely area with beautiful trees, fresh grass and rain.
And yet, despite the large area, we were the only family there. It was so And so when I wasn't reading I explored the derelict houses, the rusty play area and the lovely forest. And one day I settled down on bench outside and ope One day, a young woman, who had crisply turned 18 and was fresh out of school, explored the horror genre while walking around an abandoned building.
And one day I settled down on bench outside and opened Hell House on my Kindle. I had never been so afraid in my life. I was enraptured - I couldn't put the book down despite my terror. No book had elicited nightmares from me since. I was afraid to sleep alone and so I decided to share a room with my sister. It all felt so real. The book played over and over in my mind and wouldn't let its hold on me go for months. Sometimes it still sneaks up on me and gently touches my mind to remind me that this book - this book.
Is the scariest shit I've ever read. Courtesy of Jen's mini reviews View all 25 comments. Apr 26, Dan Schwent rated it really liked it Shelves: I've been a Richard Matheson fan for a few years now and he rarely disappoints. Hell House is no different.
A dying millionaire offers a physicist and two psychics a hundred thousand dollars apiece to spend a week in a haunted house to prove or disprove the existence of an afterlife. Sounds simple enough, right? Tensions run high between the investigators. Barrett thinks Florence's beliefs are crap and his scientific explanation is the only one. Fischer doesn't seem to be doing much which also ir I've been a Richard Matheson fan for a few years now and he rarely disappoints.
Fischer doesn't seem to be doing much which also irks Barrett. Barret's wife Edith has odd feelings for Florence. What's caused by the spirits inhabiting the house and what isn't? The first third of the book is mostly exposition. Things don't really start picking up until halfway though but when they do, Hell House is really hard to put down. Matheson knows all about suspense and tension. Just watch that episode of the Twilight Zone he wrote with the gremlin on the wing of the plane.
The attacks on the investigators by the spirit of inhabiting the Belasco house were fairly brutal. The ending was a tad on the anti-climactic side once all was said and done.
Be that as it may, I should have read this book much earlier. Highly recommended for fans of the haunted house sub-genre of horror. View 2 comments. It's the Mount Everest of haunted houses. The excesses depicted in the history of the Belasco House and here you can list any blasphemy and perversion you can think of make for morbidly fascinating reading in itself and sets the stage for this s horror novel. I was actually surprised at how grim this book gets.
Always dressed in black. A giant, terrifying figure, looking at the hell incarnate he'd created. They'd found him lying on the front porch of the house that morning in September , naked, curled up like a fetus, shivering and staring into space. As he crossed the entry hall, he had the feeling that the house was swallowing him alive. Hell House does a terrific job of building tension. The first half is fairly slow and sets the mood lights the candles and all that.
Even so: It will mess with you. View all 11 comments. I've tried to read Hell House numerous times. The writing seemed a little too I couldn't understand, for the life of me, why everyone suggested I read it.
But this book hit me at just the right time, while I was in the mood for a creepy read. And that's pretty much why I liked it as much as I did. Horror is so subjective. It depends on a reader's mood, as well. If you don't want to be scared, you're likely going to shrug this one off and DNF before you get to the truly unsettling parts.
Because this isn't your average possession story or haunted house book. This motherfucker has teeth. I cannot imagine how much controversy this book created when it was first released. You have scenes of lesbian lust, group orgies, one ghost running around wielding his overgrown penis, and a sexual assault scene unlike anything else I've ever read. It fucked me up so badly that I had to stop reading for a minute.
And I am notoriously hard to disturb. But that's what horror is. It's meant to leave you shaken. To that end, Hell House delivers. Where this book succeeds is the unending sense of dread, the near-constant escalation of violent acts, and the invisible character development.
I honestly have no idea how Matheson made each of these characters feel like separate individuals. Other than Barrett's polio, none of them really stand out, but I saw each of them clearly from very early on, and never once was confused as to whose head I was in. That's damn impressive, especially given such simple writing. In summation: If you're looking for a scary read and can forgive the repetition of words like "started", which was used at least twice per page, or so it seemed, you should dig this one.
It takes a while to get going, but once it does, it doesn't let up. Final Judgment: Filled with dread. View all 8 comments. It's more now, sorry about that. A rich guy offers to pay a group of people to stay a few nights in a haunted house to prove there is life after death.
All previous attempts to do such a stupid thing at this particular house have ended very badly for the suckers brave or stupid or hard-up enough to have a sleep-over. This story is much more sexually horrifying. Some of the things that happen within these pages are upsetting. Trust me on this. The house was basically turned into a pit of debauchery and hellish events when its original owner cuts loose with a group of hangers-on who dip into orgies, drugs, murder, cannibalism as you will, I guess and every other nasty thing your brain can imagine!
The house is tainted and incredibly haunted by a horny ghost who eventually infects the woman folk and does shocking pervy things.
I listened to this story on audio and the narrator, Ray Porter, does an excellent job. He does a good job with the men and the evil inhabiting the house as well.
View all 4 comments. One of those books that requires certain mind set to be fully absorbed. Almost perfectly captures sexual madness, glossing over the many various versions of it with not just physical but emotional perspective.
Setting and characterization is stereotypical but one that most often works the best.
View 1 comment. First off, what I loved: This book does not pussy-foot around — it is in your face practically from page one all the way through to the end. It created images in my mind I won't ever be able to erase. Matheson really is a master of his craft. Barrett becomes trapped in the steam room. And how Florence Tanner meets her end in the chapel hide spoiler ] Positively ghoulish!
I loved that I was never quite certain what was going to happen next, on edge with the uncertainty of how far things were going to go. View all 5 comments. Book ten of the commute. This book is yet another "product of its times", and once again the times in question are the seventies see also "Still Life With Woodpecker".
This book, if some of the blurbs on the back cover are to be believed, is a classic of American horror, and I'm a big fan of horror especially Stephen King, who is in fact the praising voice of one of the back-cover blurbs so I decided to check it out.
Like a lot of good horror, the book combines fantastic fears, like ghosts a Book ten of the commute. Like a lot of good horror, the book combines fantastic fears, like ghosts and haunting phenomena, with social and psychological fears, like sexuality, substance abuse, and religion - all with a very 70's vibe. The ending of the book is kind of a downer, as well, which is fairly typical of western lit in the 70's. The story has a nice creepiness throughout and makes some interesting observations about the nature of the universe and the successes and limits of parapsychology, but in the end I just thought the book was kind of OK, nothing great.
Maybe if I had been reading it for the first time thirty years ago, or if I hadn't already been exposed to so many horror movies and scary novels in my life, it might have impressed me more. Dec 18, Lyn rated it liked it. Whoa, creepy, scary book. This must be required reading for Wes Craven and Clive Barker and other horror movie directors. Alas, I did not care for the ending. Well written, imaginative, and innovative, Matheson again displays his power as a storyteller in this genre.
View all 3 comments. Go where you will, and do what you will — these are the cardinal precepts of my home. Feel free to function as you choose. There are no responsibilities, no rules. May you find the answer that you seek. It is here, I promise you. There is, to be clear, very little by way of cheer. Yes, there are demonic presences, possession, insidious terror, and death. To be precise, the entire course of this novel takes place between December 18 and December 24, The plot and setting of Hell House is very familiar.
Derivative, even. Both books take place in legendary haunted houses, and feature a small cast of characters who attempt to explore its paranormal reputation. By the end of Hell House , there are no ambiguities left. Fischer is the only survivor of a failed investigation attempt 30 years earlier.
The novel combines supernatural horror with mystery as the researchers attempt to investigate the haunting of the house while their sanity subtly is undermined by its sinister supernatural influence.
During the investigation, various influences begin to affect each character's personal weaknesses: Florence through her belief in spiritualism and her over-eagerness to rid the house of its evil; Dr. Hell House's potency comes from its apparent ability to corrupt those who enter its walls, before bringing about their destruction, both mental and physical. Matheson wrote the screenplay. It was published in by IDW Publishing and collected as a trade paperback in