Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Hell House
Richard Matheson
Narrated by Ray Porter, unabridged
Blackstone Audio, 9 hours

Richard Matheson
Richard Matheson was born in New Jersey in 1926 and has lived and worked in California since 1951. In addition to novels in the mystery, science fiction, horror, fantasy, and western field, he's also done many film and television scripts including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" from The Twilight Zone. He also wrote episodes of Have Gun, Will Travel, Night Gallery, and Star Trek. Several of his novels and stories have been made into movies including The Shrinking Man, I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come (the film starred Robin Williams). His awards include the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Bram Stoker Award for Life Achievement, the Hugo Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Golden Spur Award, and the Writer's Guild Award.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Collected Stories, Vol.3
SF Site Review: Earthbound
SF Site Review: The Shrinking Man
SF Site Review: Duel
SF Site Review: I Am Legend

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

Advertisement
Hell House Here it is folks, the ultimate haunted house book by Richard Matheson. He's the man that brought vampires (or zombies, depending upon how you look at it) to life in the book I Am Legend. It's also the book that inspired the 1973 film, The Legend of Hell House, which starred Roddy McDowell.

Anyway, before we go much further let me warn you this one is not for those with a low tolerance for bad language. The evil of this house is created through one man's excesses and the people that lived and died in the house did some very evil things. During the playing out of some of those evil actions and spirit possessions, some very colorful vernacular is used -- so be prepared.

The narrator, Ray Porter, does a phenomenal job of vocally distinguishing characters and he delivers the horror with the right level of chill to keep your hair standing on end. Without using digital effects, Ray's voice portrays the haunting spirits as though the disembodied voice is right there with you. He does things with his voice that may creep you out.

The story follows four people: Dr. Lionel Barrett, a physicist out to prove that hauntings are merely electro-magnetic parts of nature; Edith, his wife; Florence Tanner, a medium who will help clear the house of its spirits; and Benjamin Franklin Fischer, a medium and the only survivor from previous excursions to Hell House.

A very rich man on the edge of life wants to find if there is life after death. The perfect place to prove this is the notorious Belasco House, known as Hell House. Two different groups of people have visited Hell House before, to explore the haunting and only one person has survived. The house's original owner, Emeric Belasco, was know to throw parties in which all party-goers reveled in evil. All manner of sin is said to have occurred and many people died in the house during these parties. Belasco's body was never found and his evil is said to destroy all who enter the house.

The hired experts have to spend a week in the house to prove whether spirits exist. Immediately, they are treated to the evil that is Hell House. From rocking chairs that rock on their own to violent attacks, the party learns they are not welcome. Dr. Barrett has a machine that will clear out the haunting by using electro-magnetic energy, but before he can get his machine running, he must first survive the attacks and possessions.

I want so badly to tell you about some of the terrifying adventures in the house, but the element of surprise is what makes this book such a great ghost story. Just remember, even with the lights on or with someone keeping you company, it's not safe to listen to this story.

Copyright © 2009 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.


SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to editor@sfsite.com.
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide