Regular price: $19.56

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

For over 20 years, Belasco House has stood empty. Regarded as the Mt. Everest of haunted houses, its shadowed walls have witnessed scenes of unimaginable horror and depravity. All previous attempts to probe its mysteries have ended in murder, suicide, or insanity.

But now, a new investigation has been launched, bringing four strangers to Belasco House in search of the ultimate secrets of life and death. A wealthy publisher, brooding over his impending death, has paid a physicist and two mediums to establish the facts of life after death once and for all. For one night, they will investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townsfolk refer to it as the Hell House.

Hell House, which inspired the 1973 film The Legend of Hell House, is Matheson's most frightening and shocking book, and an acknowledged classic of the genre.

©1999 Richard Matheson; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    932
  • 4 Stars
    921
  • 3 Stars
    551
  • 2 Stars
    160
  • 1 Stars
    90

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,229
  • 4 Stars
    657
  • 3 Stars
    260
  • 2 Stars
    62
  • 1 Stars
    45

Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    775
  • 4 Stars
    708
  • 3 Stars
    509
  • 2 Stars
    160
  • 1 Stars
    103
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Lesley
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 06-17-08

Got scary?

Richard Matheson was an underrated novelist. He wrote fast-paced works, visual and visceral, full of philosophical questions and characters facing the unknown.

My favorite is "I Am Legend," but "Hell House" turned out to be a very exciting and scary read. Four people enter a haunted house to prove to a millionaire that there's life after death, or that there isn't. Like all good haunted houses, Hell House is a character in itself. It has everything--creaking rocking chairs, deserted rooms, a Satanist chapel, awful smells.

There are other surprises, mostly of the psychosexual variety, as each of the characters faces fear, insecurity, and blinding personal shame. Matheson describes all of this very well, sometimes in terms that were more explicit than I had expected. This book is definitely rated R, or possibly NC-17--no cute lil ghosts in white sheets here.

But there are lots of good scares, and that's what I go to a haunted house book for. Unlike Matheson's other works, this one had slow spots and was a bit repetetive in places. The narrator did probably the best job out of any book I've listened to from Audible--seriously, with two male and two female voices, and various ghosts, I always knew who was speaking.

Recommended for mature ghost-story lovers.

81 of 86 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Phebe
  • Joppa, MD, United States
  • 08-13-12

Hell House is like Hill House, but fiercer

Checking the dates of publication to be sure I was right that Hell House is a sort of pastiche or homage or even plagarism of "The Haunting of Hill House," I saw this opening sentence in Wikipedia that says it all:

"Hell House is a novel by American novelist Richard Matheson, published in 1971. The novel has significant similarities to the earlier work The Haunting of Hill House (1959) by Shirley Jackson, though rendered with much more violence and sexual imagery."

He beefed it up, basically. You could even say coarsened it and simplified it --- but in fact both novels are quite good. I suppose you could call it a remake! Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" is of course much scarier, because it deals with madness and human fragility as well as whatever haunts Hill House, and Audible has an excellent reading of it. Matheson uses the same set-up, the same basic scene and the same four basic characters -- six, really, counting the two cook/caretakers.

Shirley Jackson achieves true horror. Chilling, ghastly, oh-no horror, with never an indelicate word or scene. Its opening and closing paragraphs are famous. Matheson's Hell House is more conventional and less truly terrifying, despite a lot of Sturm und Drang. It is the Matheson book that was made into a great movie, "The Legend of Hell House," one of the scariest movies ever made, I thought as a girl.

The reading of this novel by Ray Porter is excellent. There are a lot of scary emotional scenes and the reader does well with them, and with character differentiation. I think both books are well worth listening to, for themselves and for the really instructive differences.

77 of 82 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barry
  • Katy, TX, United States
  • 06-07-08

Excellent horror novel, classic ghost story

If you like horror novels like I do, you're probably disappointed with the appalling lack of truly scary stories on the market these days. It seems all the horror novelists of the past have gone "soft" (Stephen King, Peter Straub, etc.)
"Hell House", while written a long time ago, is still a very frightening novel, and one of the best ghost stories I've read.
The graphic descriptions of the house and the events inside are truly scary. There are several other books that have been written along the same theme (several people trapped inside a haunted house), but this book seems to be more intelligent than the others.
A very smart listen, and the narrator performed well, making good distinctions between male and female voices, even the voices of the ghosts were well done.
This book was a nice surprise and a good listen, certainly more than I was expecting.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

It's repulsive -- to great effect!

Where does Hell House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is definitely one of my top 10. The story is gruesome and at times sacrilegious, and it's nice to get into a story that isn't afraid to pull punches. Because every lurid detail is explained, the horror is that much more effective.

What other book might you compare Hell House to and why?

The only one that comes to mind immediately is "The Haunting of Hill House." However, "Hill House" doesn't so much scare as it does intrigue. "Hell House," on the other hand, paints some pretty horrific pictures.

What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

He performed without having to do any silly voices, a bad habit among many narrators that immediately takes me out of the story.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I can't for the life of me think of a tag line. But, I would definitely like to see an adaptation of this film beyond the one starring Roddy Mcdowall. I'd love to see a film that keeps all the gruesome scenes and disturbing images.

Any additional comments?

Richard Matheson is a master storyteller. He created a house that I personally want to explore.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Author: Ahead of his Time

What did you love best about Hell House?

I thought the story was well-crafted and would fit in really well with the horror books and movies of today.

Which scene was your favorite?

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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

This is my general review of 'Hell House' by Richard Matheson:<br/>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. <br/><br/>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.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

great performance by Ray Porter.

the book is great. scary, suspenseful, unpredictable. I had read it before but the performance done by the narrator took this book to a whole new level of amazing.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kendall
  • Rockaway, NJ, USA
  • 05-27-08

Highly Enjoyable!

Richard Matheson is one of my favorite authors. Listening was even better. The narrator was great, the story though a bit old was still creepy. Highly recommended if you love a good ghost story.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Juvenal

I guess I am getting too old for this type of book. I liked Matheson's (I am Legend and The Shrinking Man.) This book I could not wait to finish. I did not care about the characters and the story was silly. I liked Shirley Jackson's (The Haunting Of Hill House) better. The characters and the house were more interesting. Matheson could have used better developed characters and Jackson could have used more sex.

57 of 78 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • nitza
  • WEST HAVEN, CT, United States
  • 01-02-12

Great

Where does Hell House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 10

What did you like best about this story?

It was scary yet had some funny moments where I laughed out loud

Any additional comments?

Narrator was excellent

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Hell Housd

This book was so silly. I must be too old for this genre but it was so predictable! Even the characters were stock , a doubting scientist and his repressed wife, a youngish burned before psychic and a beautiful vul erable religious woman.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Andy Russell
  • 05-20-15

Very much of its time.

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think if you remember this book when it was release (I think sometimes in the 70s) then you may be nostalgic for it.

What didn’t you like about Ray Porter’s performance?

It was all a bit flat for my liking.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I found it a bit boring to be honest and didn't manage to finish.

Any additional comments?

From the reviews I'd read I thought this would suit me, a good scarey horror story with an extra dollop of 70s sauce. However I was never scared and could easily listen in bed with the lights off. Tried about 3 hours and the story never really got going for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sue
  • 10-04-09

Gripping stuff

I really enjoyed this book and so wanted to hear more that I took the long way home on more than one occasion so I could get a few extra minutes in. It is well written and the dynamics between the characters are presented clearly. The story unfolds at a pleasing rate and each aspect is brought into play well.

The narration is good although there were some unexpected pauses but it was placed well, clear, the characters well defined and the other 'people' in the book were easily told apart.

I was impressed overall and will certainly be checking out more by this author. As mentioned in another review, the content of Hell House can be somewhat graphic but it is integral to the story, not gratuitous for shock value.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sara
  • 06-30-09

Excellent listen

I really enjoyed this book. It had a great story and good interplay between the four characters that enter the house. Not overly scary by today?s standards although it does keep you interested from start to finish. Passionately narrated.

I would warn anyone intending to listen to this book that it contains material of a sexually explicit nature and also graphic language. This book is not for people who are offended by this sort of thing, as it permeates most of the book. Personally, I think that for a book titled 'Hell House' and with the reputation that it has, it would be naive to be shocked to hear the occasional expletive or references to sexual violence - As a horror book, this is not gratuitous, but part of the story.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sara
  • 03-04-15

Not for me

I was after a scary book but didn't feel this book achieved that - some scenes were nauseating but not frightening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • jennifer
  • 02-19-11

hell house richard matheson

A true horror story enjoyed this very much very creepy,makes you feel very uneasy at times,i listened to this why working on a night shift,made me feel very spooked,its great when a book makes you feel like that

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Fran
  • 11-26-10

Horror that creeps into you

I really loved this audiobook. Despite the fact it starts quite abruptly and doesn't seem to bother with a credible build up of the story (5 minutes and they are already in the haunted house)I was sucked into the horror vortex of this story so much that I am still dreaming about it on occasion.
A traditional haunted house with a modern phychologial theme- perverted sexuality. And even though there are only a few expicit desriptions in the book, the whole atmosphere is like a dense, grey fog that creeps into every crook and cranny of your mind. (to the point where I started associating my own office, where I listenend to the book, with hell house and was quite creeped out by it.)
The ending is built up to be this great revelation, which I wasn't blown away by. But despite all that, I loved it and will put it on my list of my top 5 haunted house stories.The narration is absolutely wonderful and adds gallons of drama and intensity to every situation. I can still hear the cold, mean and mocking voice of the owner of hell house.... You should try it!
PS: Only for people who are not sensitive about religion!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • sarahmoose2000
  • 08-24-14

Clue Meets The Exorcist

A group of parapsychologists and mediums are brought together to debunk a haunted house. Initially quite scary as they go round each room getting attacked, but I got bored towards the end and didn't really give it a good listen.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • s
  • 08-17-13

Bit Dull, nothing happened till Chapter 15

My first horror book, was expecting a bit of trill but nothing really. Just at the end few interesting things happened. To be honest wasn't worth the time and money. The Title sounded great.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Fleur
  • 07-18-14

An intense listen

Any additional comments?

This was a great audiobook, but I found it pretty intense in some places and some scenes were pretty grim! It's a highly sexual and sexually charged book, and if you love the classic combo of sex and horror you'll love this.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mr B.Kirk
  • 01-19-14

Thoroughly enjoyable

Any additional comments?

Did I enjoy this audio book - yes, I wanted a good ghost story for Christmas and I got one. Well read. Occassionally you are at the right point in life to listen to something, if I had listened to this a year ago for example I may not of enjoyed it - but I got this at the right time and it was spot on.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Aimee
  • 07-28-16

Annoying narration

Hmmm. Left me cold. And not in a goosebumps way. Pretty old school horror. Overuse of words and phrases which drives me nuts. Did not like the narration but I think the material was part of the problem. Not worth the 14.95 price tag.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lisa
  • 06-02-16

Great scary book. Good voices , loved it

Great voices for character definition. some really scary scenes/ chapters. Very 18 + but loved it. Had to have the lights on when listening.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • C.J.R Flanagan
  • 02-03-14

Meh..

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.