Friday, June 4, 2010

Hell House by Richard Matheson

 Hell House by Richard Matheson

“Welcome to my house, I’m delighted you could come. I am certain you will find your stay here most illuminating. It is regrettable I cannot be with you, but I had to leave before your arrival. Do not let my physical absence disturb you, however. Think of me as your unseen host and believe that, during your stay here, I shall be with you in spirit.” ~ Emeric Belasco

Belasco House…Hell House…within these dark passages and cavernous rooms resides the residue of pure, unadulterated evil.

This book begins with the new owner of Belasco House assembling a crew to determine what, if anything, haunts this tomb-like mansion. The crew consists of Dr. Lionel Barrett (a scientist), his wife Edith, Benjamin Franklin Fischer (a physical medium whom had experienced the house previously), and Florence Tanner (a mental medium with a profound religious faith). We accompany the group on the third attempt to discover the source of ghostly disturbances within the house. The first two attempts resulted in the murder, suicide, or mental deterioration of the investigators involved…all those except Fischer that is.

Our introduction to the House is through brief glimpses as the thick, eerie fog surrounding the mansion and Bastard Bog clears. The tour through the house leaves us chilled to the bone. As we walk room to room, corridor to corridor, the foreboding feelings steadily increase. These walls have witnessed all manner of unspeakable events.

The House is dark and angry and soon begins its attack on its unwelcome guests. The House exploits the weaknesses that reside deep within one’s soul and employs those weaknesses to devour and utterly destroy the host of such vulnerabilities. Can anyone truly survive the horrors of Hell House?

Matheson is a true literary genius. He swiftly seizes the reader and propels you into a sinister world of appalling sexual exploitations, atrocious physical cruelties, and sickening mental molestations.

Hell House is one of the greatest haunted house stories I have encountered. This book is an older book, with its first publication in 1971. However, its age does not diminish its content or reduce its affect on those who face the challenge of Hell House itself.

Though the book draws you in and confronts you head on, do not look to the movie, The Legend of Hell House, to give you the same frightful sensations. The film was released in 19-seventy…something…and was not produced for the zombie-movie generation.

Hell House is not a book for you of weak character. Read it only if your soul is stout and sturdy enough to withstand the atrocities which dwell between these eerie covers.

“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. And now..,auf Wiedersehen.” ~ Emeric Belasco.
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