Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
good, but not as good as the film.
on 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!