I audited this novel based on the high ratings it had. I couldn't be more disappointed.
This novel flopped back and forth between corny predictability and nonsensical. The leaps of logic made by the characters was so far out as to be stupid and this book was nothing more than a BARELY mediocre 'horror' story.
It was all I could do to let the story finish. I wish I could have those hours of my life back.
Drag Queen Bonanza. He was fine when narrating action, but outright laughable when performing the women's parts. It was supposed to be a tension filled horror story but when he spoke one of the female character's lines, I burst out laughing on more than one occasion. They were all wrong and too unsubtle to keep me in the story. I'll finish listening to it but I'm going to buy a physical copy so I can actually read the story and absorb all the atmosphere that his unintentionally hilarious performance destroyed.
This book was ridiculous and has not stood the test of time well. But, as an example of 1970s social attitudes, it's a pretty amusing read. The only thing really scary about it is 1970s attitudes towards women and homosexuality.
Important lessons learned from this book:
-If you're a lady and you wander alone in a haunted house, you will either be tempted to have sex with ghosts or become a lesbian. You're definitely going to have sex with *something*, if you go off wandering alone. Mens: keep an eye on your womens.
-Tiny ladybrains cannot understand technical science things.
-Scientists are generally assholes and especially don't like being challenged by ladies.
-Being attacked by a slime monster while trapped in a steam room seems like a pretty scary way to go.
The narration by Ray Porter was, as expected, absolutely excellent.
I am a big fan of horror novels and movies. I have read quite a few shining reviews on Hell House and had thus been very enthusiastic to finally have the chance to read it.
I was a little disappointed to be honest. This may be because I have become desensitized to "Scary" subject matter, or simply because I had held such high expectations for Hell House, as it has been featured in so many "scariest novels" lists I have come across.
I quite enjoyed the section of the book which dealt with the sordid history of Hell House, and also found the setup to be quite effective. After this point, I found that it devolved into merely a slightly more adult rendition of a Ghostbusters script.
I tend to enjoy a more subtle style of horror, and find that quite often the simple suggestion towards a horrific or chilling event has the potential to be much more effective and unnerving than a mere blow by blow description of such a scene. Hell House seems to tend towards the latter.
Some people may find Hell House to be very creepy and highly enjoyable. There are plenty of eerie, paranormal and sometimes flat out blood-curdling events to keep a reader who enjoys this style of writing absorbed and entertained. I simply enjoy a contrasting style of horror to what I found Hell House had to offer.
Sure. It was definitely an interesting and entertaining listen, but it did not leave me looking over my shoulder or unable to sleep at night.
Ray Porter did a wonderful job of portraying each different character without sounding cheesy or annoying. It was an exceptional performance.
Haunted house stories have been written many times, and while there may be a lot of good ones, I loved this one. I simply cannot find a flaw in the story worth mentioning. Matheson could have done anything he wanted with this tale. He could easily have gone all out with the paranormal, but instead he chooses to exercise restraint. The supernatural phenomena that occur do so slowly, increasing in intensity as the book goes on. Just when you think all is well, Matheson hits you again with twice the force. The perfect example of this occurs with the main character Barrett, towards the end of the novel. Chilling and memorable.
One of the more intriguing themes of the book is the "Science Vs. Spiritualism" debate. It is clear that Matheson does his homework on the things he writes about. This makes the story feel more fleshed out. And what is most surprising is the fact that the book presents evidence for the establishment of both schools of thought. This isn't so apparent until you reach the end of the book.
Ray Porter's narration is outstanding. He crafts a different voice and persona for each character perfectly, from the cool and logical Barrett, to the naive and vulnerable Edith. Even his guttural, hissing renditions of the maniacal forces that inhabit Hell House are jarring.
If you wish to read a haunted house story with balls from a master of horror, look no further. This one should be the epitome of them all.
Average storyline and great narrator. It definitely kept my attention which is not easy. The sexual innuendo gets a tad ridiculous by the end though. I mean at times I felt like I was listening to audio-porn. If you can look past that- the story is pretty good though. The characters were interesting but expected. The women both have "daddy issues" which is kind of a cop-out these days bc it's such an old theme but they fit into an average storyline well I suppose. That being said, I like a good haunted house story and this fit the bill for sure.
Matheson takes us beyond the limits of terror. I was on the edge of my seat for virtually the entire book, but the last two hours were so intense, I could barely breathe! If an audiobook could be compared to a movie - then I would compare this to The Exorcist. If you love horror, fasten your seatbelt - this is the ride of a lifetime.
Baltimore book lover
This book was so enjoyable. It's not some run-of-the-mill crime dressed up by a spooky local legend (Tony Hillerman), but a real ghost. It's not for the faint of heart, however. There is a large amount of violence and an even larger amount of sex; creepy, deranged sex. It never seems exesive, though. Not too much ghost, not too much people, not too much talking, not too much scaring. It's a perfectly balanced ghost story that kept me up at night.
This was a classic horror pick. Every horror trope in the story was familiar to me, not because the book wasn't original in its time but because it has obviously had an enormous impact on horror movies and books that have come out since.