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on 23 May 2001
Even after death, Belasco, "The Roaring Giant", greets his guests to a stay they won't easily forget... If they survive, that is. If you like haunted houses' stories, I really think you should read this one. It's my favourite Richard Matheson novel. The rythm is excellent and the atmosphere really chilly, plus the characters are well defined and very human. If you've seen the movie "Legend of Hell House" be warned: The book is much more violent and sexual. I agree some people may be dissapointed with the end -although I think it's quite good-; but I sure think the journey is worth it. You won't have to wait ages for something to happen, for every page is full of excitement.
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on 25 October 2009
This is easily the best horror novel I have ever read - and I have read a few. It was terrifying, but also, as with all of Matheson's books, very moving, humane and concerned with oldest questions of good vs evil.

What makes the book so effective is its realism and the psychological stories attached to its characters. Matheson seems to have done a lot of research into psyschic phenonemon, as the way he deals with the intuitions and powers of his characters as they confront the dark, malevolent Freudian morass of the House is brilliantly done. He makes you care about his protagonists and become deeply involved with their battle against the ultimate darkness, both within and without.

I cannot recommend this novel too highly. Its a masterpiece. I will never forget the experience of reading it one night in bed and having at one point to stop, lower the book and look squarely around the room just to be sure that nothing sinister was going on. The grip the book has on your mind is that powerful....
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on 9 September 2014
With good source material, a talented adapter, and a strong artist this is a great haunted house story.

Richard Matheson, author of I am Legend, A Stir of Echoes, The Shrinking Man and lots of other books that were turned into films, wrote a horror story in 1971. It was filmed in 1973 and adapted by IDW in 2004. This is the first part.

It has a really creepy vibe to it typical of the horror fiction of the 1970’s - the era of The Shining and The Omen. The story is intelligently delivered with a good framing device which instigates the characters’ entry into the proceedings.

The art is black and white ink that, through good lighting techniques, really captures the shadowy fears of exploring an old house. The characters have strong and expressive faces and there is a robust sense of movement on the page. Good use is made of the lettering which is very expressive, but not without the odd typo.

The story is collected into four parts, each of which is 48 pages long, which seems an odd choice. We do get a lot crammed into this first volume with intelligent pacing and page-turning excitement. Unfortunately the history of the house is delivered in a couple of pages of talking heads which is a let-down.

A strong start and a well-deserved Thumbs Up!
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VINE VOICEon 5 December 2007
Far more brutal and intense than the film version, this novel moves along at a great pace, thanks mainly to Matheson's crisp, no-nonsense prose and the fact that the entire action of the story takes place over the course of just a few days as the ghost of cruel and sadistic libertine, Emeric Belasco, concentrates all its efforts on the destruction of a team of squabbling scientists and psychics employed by a dying millionaire to prove that life exists after death. There is so much in this novel that didn't make it into the film and there are some genuinely shocking scenes (as Matheson once pointed out following criticism of the book's violence and sexual preoccupations, what's the point in writing a story about the most evil house in the world if all you're going to do is have leprechauns running around?) and its influence is readily apparent in a lot of the haunted house novels that came after it (King's 'The Shining', for instance, which contains scenes that read as if they were lifted straight from Matheson's novel, and Chet Williamson's entertaining, if inferior, 'Soulstorm'). The greatest haunted house story ever written is undoubtedly Shirley Jackson's subtler, trickier 'Haunting of Hill House' - but for sheer unadulterated funhouse thrills and chills, 'Hell House' can't be bettered.
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on 13 April 2016
I was pretty disappointed by this novel. The concept seemed great, the history of the house and the first act of the book set the story up nicely but then it all went downhill pretty quickly.
I think when it comes to horror, less is definitely more. Little noises, small movements, minor disturbances are far more believable and scary than full blown apparitions and destructive poltergeist activity which was the majority of this story.
The novel definitely had its moments, but unfortunately for me they weren't enough to warrant a better rating.
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on 16 August 2015
There's no doubt that this is a classic horror however there's no avoiding the fact that it feels rather dated. And not always in the good way that "classics" are supposed to. Still, it's a brilliant story and masterfully written. Fun and essential reading for any ghost-horror genre fan.
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VINE VOICEon 6 November 2003
I read this solely because I had liked the film "The Legend of Hell House" so much. I didn't feel though that it was as effective at creating a disturbing atmosphere as the film was. The house itself for instance is different in the book. Whereas in the film it's a cobwebby, gloomy Gothic mansion, in the book it's a luxurious art deco-style palace, complete with swimming-pool and ballroom, like something out of the Great Gatsby. It sounds far more of desirable residence! I also feel the characters were better interpreted in the film. In the book it's hard to really care what happens to them.
Where the book IS better than the film is in the descriptions of Belasco's lifestyle. The film only refers to his dubious antics in a hysterical over-blown way, but in the book you get a detailed description of how he manipulated his guests, and just how horrifying his final house-party was. There is almost something Sadean about the descriptions of the guests descent into a living hell. We could almost do with a remake of the film with those parts added in as a disturbing flashback. What a horror film that would make!
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For over twenty years, Belasco House has stood empty. Regarded as the Mount Everest of haunted houses, it is a venerable mansion whose shadowed walls have witnessed scenes of almost unimaginable horror and depravity. Two previous expeditions to investigate its secrets met with disaster, the participants destroyed by murder, suicide or insanity.
Now a new investigation has been mounted, bringing four strangers to the forbidding mansion, determined to probe Belasco House for the ultimate secrets of life and death. Each has his or her own reason for daring the unknown torments and temptations of the mansion, but can any soul survive what lurks within the most haunted house on Earth?
Richard Matheson’s classic horror novel ‘Hell House’ was first published by Viking Press Inc back in 1971. Matheson had already received much praise for his previous work with novels such as ‘I Am Legend’ and ‘The Shrinking Man’. The novel proved to be such an inspirational piece of horror fiction that it was later made into the film ‘The Legend of Hell House’ starring both Pamela Franklin and Roddy McDowall.
From the very beginning of the novel, the reader is thrown into the eerie premise of the novel, with its classic haunted house plot. The four main characters that are hired to investigate and research the truth behind the house’s paranormal haunting are introduced from the start, with somewhat cliqued characterization and obvious clashes in personality. Yet this does not detract from the enjoyment and the books storyline. The tension slowly builds, as the reader is submerged deeper into the creepy house and the ghostly occurrences that occur within its walls. The story is packed with twists and turns, delivering a fast paced tale that builds towards the final mysterious outcome.
‘Hell House’ is bursting with graphic scenes of sexual deprivation as the house’s influence and history reveals itself. You’ll find yourself trapped within the pages of the novel as each horrific event is followed by another equally horrific event. Each characters sanity will be questioned on many occasion, as the terrible power that is held within the house corrupts and destroys the four inhabitants.
The novel is well written, with a diary like structure to the book that makes it very easy to read in small parts if desired. The tale is by no means a particularly scary tale, but it will certainly keep you on the edge of your seat from the outset. If you enjoy a good ghost story with an element of mystery then this is certainly a book for you.
The novel runs for a total of 301 pages and is released through Tor Books.
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on 9 January 2001
This book has it all: A haunted house, a group of people who wish to dispel the evil that resides in it and a sinister presence behind the haunting. The reader turns the pages captivated by the story, as the facts around the evil presence unfold. However, if you have read MANY horror stories, as I have, you may find the ending a bit disappointing...
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on 6 December 2012
I didn't realise that this book was an illustrated version and so it didn't meet my needs. However this was my mistake for not having read the product description
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