Richard Matheson is a master of subtlety! Hell House invites you into its' madness and doesn't release you to the very end. As the characters approach the house, the feeling of doom is almost palpable. Matheson's proficiency at weaving simile and metaphor to tingle your spine is genius. The author wrote a masterpiece of horror without having to revert to gore instead relying on imagery a craft Matheson's knows all to well.
I figured I would give this book a shot. It was written a while ago but that doesn't stop it from being a pretty good listen. It was interesting and the story takes some nice twists. Deffinitly worth a credit. Not really scarey but pretty weird.
My reviews are my personal opinions. I am not an expert or a critic or a massive reader/audiobook listener, and neither do I claim to be. I choose my audiobooks by reading the reviews, therefore I try and make my reviews as honest as possible.
Now this book is weird! The reason why I bought it is because it is narrated by Ray Porter - an excellent narrator.
If the author meant for it to be a horror or a thriller, he failed. I listened to the story before bed, alone, in the dark, and it failed to scare me. Many parts of the story I found amusing. I don't want to spoil anything for potential readers, so I will make an example: you're in the middle of a cemetery near a haunted house and you stumble upon a quartet of singing stone busts performing the Lollipop song (if you've seen Haunted Mansion with Eddie Murphy, then you know what I'm talking about). I liked the reason behind the haunting of the house (i.e. the house's past). I didn't like the way the book ended, I felt like the author was in a hurry to finish and just sort of... did.
The narration was amazing though, which doesn't come as a surprise to me, because Ray Porter is a genius and deserves a medal.
Overall, I would recommend this book but not for people who want to listen to a horror story and experience fear and a rush of adrenaline.
This was seriously the worst and most disgusting book I have ever listened too.I actually ended up returning it, but wanted to give others a heads up.
I like scary stories, and I am not squeamish at all. This book just went WAY too far though. Was it scary, at times? Yes. There were definitely "jump out at you" moments consistently, which would have been good if the content hadn't been so perverted. That is the only way I can truly describe this book, perverted.
I get that sometimes, sex is mixed in with violence, that is part of the genre. But as I said, this book took it way too far. I feel like none of the reviews or descriptions I read prepared me for it. The Hell House is a house of complete debauchery, and the haunting reflect that. I ended up skipping over long, drawn out rape scenes (rape is never sexy).
On top of all that, the characters are pretty shallow and stupid. They continue repeating the same thoughts over and over, and there is not really any character development or even plot development. When I wasn't wanting to fast forward, I was yawning. Lastly, the narration (which was done by Ray Porter, who I really liked in Water for Elephants) was very jarring. He switches off between whispers and shouting so much that I would find myself jumping, not because of the plot of the story, but because suddenly someone is shouting in my ear.
I would not recommend this book, ever, to anyone. It sucked.
The characters were stereotypical and superficial. The plot was easily guessed before it happened, and the voices of the narrator didn't fit the desctiption of the characters or their emotions when appropriate. I only finished it because I paid money for it. Definately would not recommend it.
I thought the story was well-crafted and would fit in really well with the horror books and movies of today.
I'd say the scene where Lionel first used Florence to see what would happen when she became aware of her power as a mental medium. It started the story off with this odd situation and was rounded out at the end.
My main reaction may not have been extreme, but it was pleasant. The reaction I had was just plain awe at Matheson's ability as a writer. And, the fact that these books were written so long ago, just affirms the awe that I have for this book and the author altogether.
This is my general review of 'Hell House' by Richard Matheson:
One sentence would be the best to describe the author of Hell House: Ahead of his time. This book, as well as I am Legend, both capture something so remarkable that I think I'm reading books from the last ten years. When I first realized these books were published from 1950's-1970's, I'm just shocked.
Normally, with horror books and movies, I like cheesy, stupid stuff. This was a horror book that was smart, witty, scary, brilliant, and incredibly fun to read. There are moments of perverse situations, so I would say it'd be rated R in a theater; but for anyone who wants a scary, smart ride, this is the perfect book.
This book lived up to its title. It was a genuine classic horror story. They don't write them like this anymore. If you are a fan of ghost and haunted house stories, I highly recommend this book. Contains many adult themes. I was not really expecting some of the sexually graphic scenes.
I listened to this book while commuting to and from work. There were days when I wanted to stay in my car and finish the chapter before turning it off. Highly recommended.