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Hell House

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  32,210 ratings  ·  1,976 reviews
Can any soul survive?
Regarded as the Mount Everest of haunted houses, Belasco House has 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 - four strangers, each with his or her own reason for
Hardcover, 301 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Severn House Publishers (first published 1971)
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Laura Yes, but none of the characters witness it and it only has about two sentences about it. Not a graphic animal death. Doesn't lend much to the story.
Elyse Having just finished The Haunting of Hill House and reading Hell House last week, they are not the same at all. Yes, they both have haunted houses and…moreHaving just finished The Haunting of Hill House and reading Hell House last week, they are not the same at all. Yes, they both have haunted houses and people who go to investigate the hauntings. That is where similarities end. Hill House is more a psychological horror, like The Yellow Wallpaper, whereas Hell House is more physical horror, all around horror. A lot more happens in Hell House. Gory, violent, tragic horror. That being said, I liked Hell House better than The Haunting of Hill House.(less)
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Community Reviews

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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  32,210 ratings  ·  1,976 reviews

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Bill  Kerwin

For years I have been a fan of Richard Matheson, without ever becoming a dedicated reader of his fiction. I learned early that he was one of the two best writers (not counting Rod Serling) for Twilight Zone—the other being Charles Beaumont—and this led me to look out for his short stories and novels and read them when they came my way. I particularly admired his chilling stories “Nightmare at 20,000 ft.” (Twilight Zone Shatner menaced by gremlin on plane), “Prey” (featuring a doll called “He Who
Hannah Greendale
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.

Dr. 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
Jennifer (Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー)
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....empty - so silent. 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
Dan Schwent
Apr 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: matheson
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
Dirk Grobbelaar
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, d6, horror

"Isn't it just another so-called haunted house?"
"I'm afraid it isn't. 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 1970s horror novel.

I was actually surprised at how grim this book gets. It’s much more explicit than contemporaries like Rosemary's Baby, which was published
Edward Lorn
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've tried to read Hell House numerous times. The writing seemed a little too... simplistic, I guess would be the word, for my tastes. It's also, at times, annoyingly repetitive, and had my buddy Thomas Strömquist (sorry I still haven't figured out how to link to other people on this site) hadn't accepted my buddy read proposal, I probably wouldn't have ever finished it. I couldn't understand, for the life of me, why everyone suggested I read it. "It's a horror classic!" and "It's soooooooo scar ...more
Bark (Has Atrocious Taste)
Bought during Audible's $2.99 sale (10/13/17)! . 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. It’s no different this time around.

I read this book closely on the heels of finishing up Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill Hous
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paidkindle, horror
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.
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read such a horror classic by one of the masters who has influenced so many others, including Stephen King. First off, what I loved:

1) What’s not to love? Matheson manages to accomplish a haunted house story that is not only supremely eerie and filled with a creepy atmosphere that’s sublime, but a full-on assault of the senses as well. This book does not pussy-foot around – it is in your face practically from page one all the way through to the end.

Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Dec 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Whoa, creepy, scary book.

This must be required reading for Wes Craven and Clive Barker and other horror movie directors. Published 6 years before The Shining, I also wonder how much this influenced Stephen King. Alas, I did not care for the ending.

Well written, imaginative, and innovative, Matheson again displays his power as a storyteller in this genre.

Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I am certain you will find your stay here most illuminating…It is regrettable I cannot be here with you…All your needs have been provided for…Nothing has been overlooked. 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. ‘Each to his own device’ shall be the only standard here. May you find the answer that you seek. It is here, I promise you.”
- Emeric Belasco in Richard Matheson’s H
I absolutely love the early 70's movie version of this book, The Legend of Hell House with Roddy McDowell. But I never read the book it was based on. Following the spirit of my challenge to myself this year to read more books that I've always wanted to read but never have....I decided to delve into the evil that is Hell House. I have to admit that I saw the actors from the movie in my head as I read this story. I'm not sure I like the mixing of so much cheesy horror with what might have been a g ...more
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in what a 70's gothic novel might be
Obviously inspired by Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, Richard Matheson's Hell House pays homage to Jackson by borrowing the basic crux of the plot - several characters gathering to investigate a seemingly haunted mansion - and making the story his own instead of merely copying the earlier novel.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of the original Hill House was its ambiguity concerning the origin and source of the hauntings; it Hell House there is plenty of ambiguity, but it's obvious tha
Peter Monn
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was just straight up strange. Made me very uncomfortable. Check out my full review on my booktube channel at
Franco  Santos
Daniel, if you only knew how lovely are the realms which lie beyond this house. Would you keep yourself locked in a barren cell when all the beauties of the universe await you on the outside?

Buen libro. Un clásico de la literatura del terror. Se disfruta cada capítulo y tiene sus momentos escalofriantes. Ideal para pasar un rato agradable ya que es de fácil lectura, ameno y ligero. Los problemas radican en los personajes. Son muy planos, clichés: el típico escéptico amante de la ciencia, la muj
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror

I was looking forward to reading this book as I have enjoyed reading Richard Matheson books in the past.

But this did not live up to me expectations.

This was a strange mix of supernatural horror, pseudo science all tied together with some very awkward erotica.

When I think of other horror stories from the 60s and 70s like Ira Levin’s ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and Peter Bloch’s ‘Psycho’ that left me breathless, this did not.

Four people are employed to enter Hell House and discover the source of the horror
Great classic haunted house story, perfect as a Halloween read! Ultimately a clever idea and a solid resolution.
A classic ghost story written by an author that was before his time. This gruesome thriller was made even better with the added bonus of being narrated by the great Roy Porter. A fantastic, spooky story to listen to around Halloween.
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Za Metisonov opus sam zainteresovan od romana "Ja sam legenda". Ono što je zajedničko za svaki njegov roman koji sam pročitao jeste to da me nikada nije razočarao. Ima tu ponekad nešto što može da se predvidi, ali generalno gledano, kraj ostaje nekako uvek u magli jer Metison može veoma lako da preokrene sve i iznenadi čitaoce.
Tako je i sa ovom knjigom. "Paklena kuća" je nalik na sve one priče, filmove, serije,... o ukletim kućama, ali ona je definitivno originalna na svoj način. I četiri glavna
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it's nice to just read a really good horror book. I think besides a couple of flow problems and the story taking a while to get going, there is a reason why this one is a classic.

Taking place in 1970, a man named William Deutsch wants to investigate the possibility of life after death. He hires four people to go and investigate the infamous Belasco house in Maine.

The four people who go to investigate are: Dr. Lionel Barrett, a physicist and his wife Edith. The two other people are Flo
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
It's late October, and in the spirit of the season, I am dedicating most of my reading to horror. Wheee!
Hell House has been on my to-read list for a very long time, and thanks
to the magic of Kindle reading, a copy was readily available to me at the push of a button.
Adding to the excitement was a chance to read Richard Matheson again, whose only works I've read have been I am Legend, and What Dreams May Come.

Well, I'm sad to say that Hell House has turned out to be a disappointment.

This is, of co
I think this is going to be a hard book to review. It has a reputation as one of the scariest haunted house books ever written, and I went in with high expectations. There are some genuinely scary moments in there, but in the end, it just didn't do it for me.

It's very much a produce of its times, in this case 1971. It's particularly obvious in the treatment of sex and sexuality (which is, frankly, crude) but also in the handling of the paranormal. Physical mediums like Fischer are all but extinc
Once again, Richard Matheson shows why he's the man. I read this book after reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and of the two, there is no doubt which I prefer. The Haunting of Hill House wasn't so much scary or creepy was it was atmospheric and interpretable. You can see anything you like in it. But Hell House takes that inspiration and runs with it, not only giving us those things, but more - creepiness, doubt, faith, hope, dread, manipulation, science and religion, and mor ...more
May 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
I'm a sucker for a haunted-house book, always optimistic that I'll be in for something as good as The Shining or The Haunting of Hill House. I'm a damn fool, because most books don't come close. This one has me ready to give up on the genre; it was that bad.

Matheson seems to have lifted most of his stuff straight from Shirley Jackson's novel: a parapsychologist and two sensitives agree to stay in a notorious haunted house in an effort to prove or disprove survival after death. Alas, he lacks Jac
La dimora dei cazzi sovrannaturali

Il tempo è stato impietoso con "Hell House", opera del 1971 che accusa qualcosa come il doppio degli anni e che, letta adesso, tradisce ingenuità e visibile disinteresse da parte dello stesso scrittore.
L'orrore sussurrato e ansiogeno si trasforma in qualcosa di desueto e posticcio; i tentennamenti psicologici vengono interpretati con improvvise voglie d'uccello e improbabili palpate tattiche, sotto l'attenta sorveglianza di un Cristo crocifisso avente il cazzo
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Chilling thriller, a house which has a history of indulgence in evil and acts of the most vile and depraved committed by residents and visitors years past by and all departed this earth or have they? Are their souls still haunting the house?
That's the task of a group who have been hired to investigate the house for the supernatural, but a game is being played against them as they take resident the question is by who and will they leave alive?
Matheson is a great writer when it comes to painting
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: group-read
Re-read for August 2017 Group read!

Still 5 stars--a classic work that continues to live up to my memories/expectations.
Thomas Strömquist
Buddy read with awesome buddy Edward Lorn. This one must've made waves in '71! I was quite surprised by the explicit narrative. I was fascinated by the vile and depraved history of the Belasco house, horrified to learn about the evil and malignant force waiting for the members of the investigative party we get to follow inside its walls, and disturbed by the brutal assaults that follows.

Characterization is really good; with quite small means we get to know each member of the cast and they feel a
Rick Urban
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
I decided to read this book after a few horror writers listed it as the scariest book they'd ever read...well, fear, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and this late in a life devoted to reading many horror writers and seeing many horror novels, this book seems like fairly thin gruel. At the heart of my dissatisfaction, though, is the obtuseness of the manifesting spirits that is the hallmark of so many ghost stories: while a spirit may be strong enough to lift heavy tables to the ceili ...more
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Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrant parents, Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married in 1952 and has four children, three of w ...more
“If you only knew the beauty which awaits you, Daniel. If you only knew how lovely are the realms which lie beyond this house. Would you keep yourself locked in a barren cell when all the beauties of the universe await you on the outside?” 6 likes
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