The Haunting of Hill House is a ghost story in the vein of The Turn of the Screw, except Jackson's book doesn't have the same quiet creepy tension runThe Haunting of Hill House is a ghost story in the vein of The Turn of the Screw, except Jackson's book doesn't have the same quiet creepy tension running through it as James'. Which is a shame. It trades in both psychological drama and the supernatural, but excels at neither. The former does come off better than the latter, though. The main character, Eleanor, is nicely rendered, and, like a true damaged character, she's hard to figure out.
So, the plot. Four characters go to a reportedly haunted house to scientifically study its phenomena, to see what happens. It's a pretty tame haunted house story by today's standards. There are a few creepy scenes but not enough happens. The story does pick up when the last two characters arrive, but it doesn't pick up enough and it's kind of a case of too little, too late. If only these characters were brought in earlier, they would've forced Jackson to write something to happen. A lot of ifs, in fact, ran through my mind while reading this book. 'If only Jackson took it this way or did this...' It does start off good and I was hooked, but the last half of the book just doesn't live up to a great first act. Jackson holds back too much. There isn't enough of the back story of Hill House, and there aren’t enough scares or supernatural phenomenon.
One thing that disappointed me greatly, was the ending. It's too ambiguous. Is it a total Scooby Doo ending? Was Eleanor responsible for the phenomenon - the writing, ruining Theo's clothes - or some of it or none of it? Was Hill House really haunted? Was it all in Eleanor’s head? Did she kill her mother?
I don't know, overall, it's kind of a ho-hum go-nowhere ghost story that fails to live up to loads of potential. "The Lottery" being the only other Jackson I've read, I was counting on this to thrill the hell out of me. A few times at night it did kind of spook me a bit, but in the end it suffers because nothing much really happens. But considering the characters of Eleanor and Theo, I wouldn't mind reading an essay on their relationship written by a lesbian. I'm dead serious.
If anybody can recommend a genuinely scary haunted house story, I’d appreciate it.
[The 1963 movie. I for one did not see Eleanor to be this crazy. In the movie, she is a complete nut! The changes made are interesting, but for the most part it pretty much follows the book. Kind of a sleepy movie, worth watching late at night. The spookiest moment - the doctor's wife looking out of the trap door!]
[The 1999 movie. Seen it years ago and did not like it in the least. If I remember correctly, this version added characters, was a little campy, and delved more into the history of Hill House, and also had more supernatural phenomenon. Will watch it again soon.] ...more
**spoiler alert** What a disappointment. Given how Endgame went down I always thought it would be fun to see what's next for the crew of Voyager. It's**spoiler alert** What a disappointment. Given how Endgame went down I always thought it would be fun to see what's next for the crew of Voyager. It's not good. I've dabbled here and there and imho the stories just go downhill from here. Eventually Janeway becomes the Borg Queen and then dies and then is resurrected, and OiVay-ager even goes back to the Delta Quandrant. Story potential: squandered!...more
This book's hilarious. I laughed out loud a bunch. It reminds me of that British TV show 'Keeping Up Appearances' in some ways. The Durrells were oneThis book's hilarious. I laughed out loud a bunch. It reminds me of that British TV show 'Keeping Up Appearances' in some ways. The Durrells were one whacky bunch, especially the brother Larry (who was also a writer - I found one of his books at Goodwill last week but I couldn't stand the long line so I left it on the counter and walked out, then spent an hour yesterday scanning their shelves but I couldn't find it.)
One story didn't really come alive for me like the others ("The Michelin Man," it has a pretty nice, albeit predictable, ending, though.) Other than that, four of the stories are hilarious and the one that comes out of left field is pretty creepy in a good way.
[Note: I read this book a couple years ago and in the last few weeks I had the sudden urge to re-read the last story, 'The Entrance.' I disagree as one reviewer said, that it ruined the book. Yeah, it's not funny. So what. As funny as Durrell can be, and he can be a riot, at that same level, in 'The Entrance,' he is creepy. Anyway, just re-read it. Still love it. Now I'm even more curious. Did Durrell ever comment on this story, in an interview or anything? I've looked but haven't found anything. Most of the stories here read like memoir/essays (although 'The Michelin Man' is magical), that I almost wonder if Durrell didn't actually find this manuscript in the way the story suggests. Did he write the story within the story? I'm guessing he did. Mostly because of the writing style and because the manuscript author shares some of Durrell's interests (in food/wine, animals and books.) Maybe we'll never know. If anybody does have a clue or an opinion, let me know, I'd love to hear it.] ...more
Recommended. Not the best mystery, especially for those who've seen theNot-Alfred Hitchcock Presents "Vertigo, Alcoholism, Manhandling, Stalking, etc"
Recommended. Not the best mystery, especially for those who've seen the film naturally, but well worth the read. Strangely, the love at first sight stuff makes more sense onscreen. Here the courtship, if we can call it that, seems more of a montage than in Vertigo. And the main character, while just as creepy as Jimmy Stewart's, is much more of a scumbag--which works, he's a great character, but it does highlight how poorly drawn the female lead is. (Jimmy Stewart was really a bad choice and it's the most annoying thing to me about that film.)...more