Once again, I’ll be posting a long-awaited book review for a modern classic horror novel, Hell House. I can’t wait to share it with you, mostly because it’s one of the first entirely-horror novels I’ve ever read, so read below to see all about it!
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“ Would you keep yourself locked in a barren cell when all the beauties of the universe await you on the outside?”
Author: Richard Matheson
Themes: Paranormal/haunting, confinement, death/murder
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Days I took to Read: 9
ABOUT THE BOOK
There is a large estate, somewhere in the middle of Maine, which is regarded for being the most haunted houses in the world. It catches the eye of one billionaire by the name of William Reinhardt Deutsch, who is close to death and is desperately searching for the answer to existence in the afterworld and life after death.
He recruits a team of specialists, made up of a physicist and his wife, as well as two mediums, to investigate and report back to him anything they might find at Hell House. However, what they do find is far past their area of expertise and physical and mental strength, and with every attack by the house, they begin to wonder more and more whether or not they’ll make it out alive to claim their reward.
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I went into this book, because as I mentioned, it was one of the first real “horror” novels I’d ever read. It definitely left me spooked more than once, enough where one night, I had to sleep with the light on. (I’m normally not such a scardy-cat!)
However, by the time it was over, I felt like there was a lot of stuff left both unanswered or if it was answered, it kind of felt unbelievable. Now, I am aware that a certain level of suspension of disbelief should be carried whenever it comes to books, especially when they’re paranormal books. But, it left me less scared and more frustrated once it was all said and done.
I did find myself enjoying the characters, however. I felt that they were well-fleshed out and I felt for them whenever a “attack” from the house happened and when they figured new things out, I cheered them on! I think for me, that’s the sign of a good character: when the events in the book get tough, I root for the well-written characters over the lame ones.
As far as scariness in the book goes, there were only a few scenes that really spooked me to the bone, but I am a little immune to horror at this point (I’ve probably seen more horror movies than regular ones). Even if it was just a few low-level hauntings, Matheson’s descriptions of the creepy old place have become classic for a reason. His writing (along with that of Shirley Jackson) became the basis of one of my favorite horror movies of all time, House On Haunted Hill (the 1999 remake).
So, I’m definitely hoping to find a few other books that are a bit scarier, but if you’re looking for a creepy, haunted house read, this one will hit the nail on the head.