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Hell House Paperback – October 13, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st Tor trade paperback ed edition (October 13, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312868855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312868857
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (357 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Hell House is the scariest haunted house novel ever written. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills." --Stephen King

About the Author

Richard Matheson was The New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend, Hell House, Somewhere in Time, The Incredible Shrinking Man, A Stir of Echoes, The Beardless Warriors, The Path, Seven Steps to Midnight, Now You See It…, and What Dreams May Come, among others. He was named a Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention, and received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has also won the Edgar, the Spur, and the Writer's Guild awards. In 2010, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. In addition to his novels Matheson wrote several screenplays for movies and TV, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” based on his short story, along with several other Twilight Zone episodes. He was born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, and fought in the infantry in World War II. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Matheson died in June, 2013, at the age of eighty-seven.

More About the Author

Richard Matheson was born in 1926. He began publishing SF with his short story 'Born of Man and Woman' in 1950. I Am Legend was published in 1954 and subsequently filmed as The Omega Man (in 1971), starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend (in 2007), starring Will Smith. Matheson wrote the script for the film The Incredible Shrinking Man, an adaptation of his second SF novel The Shrinking Man. The film won a Hugo award in 1958. He wrote many screenplays as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone. He continued to write short stories and novels, some of which formed the basis for film scripts, including Duel, directed by Steven Spielberg in 1971. A film of his novel What Dreams May Come was released in 1998, starring Robin Williams. Stephen King has cited Richard Matheson as a creative influence on his work.

Customer Reviews

Matheson's writing style reads fluidly, and his use of parapsychological data makes for a very believable read!
Thomas C. Nagy
None of the main characters in this book were really interesting at all, and while they are fleshed out somewhat, not to much.
John
In my opinion, there really is no literary quality which justifies buying the book if you have already seen the movie.
FABRICIO M. R. Silva

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

194 of 203 people found the following review helpful By David Robinson on November 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am now officially a fan of Richard Matheson.
I started out by reading "I am Legend", which is one of the best horror stories ever written, so I was expecting a little less from this. And, it isn't as good as "I am Legend", but then again, not much is. I am on a crusade now to get all of my horror-loving friends and family to read Matheson - it seems his work has been virtually buried by the enormous amount of really bad horror that seemed to spring up in Stephen King's wake (which isn't King's fault...publishers just started seeing dollar signs...). Matheson is a rarity in the field of horror - he's classic.
"Hell House" is a fast read. Each chapter consists of one day, and the chapters are broken down into little sections (7:08pm, 1:39 am, etc.) that keep the pace quick, and make it very easy for you to say, "Oh, I guess I can squeeze in just a little more before turning out the light." (Or at least going to sleep!) The writing is snappy, and to the point. Matheson creates vivid, cinematic images without having the writing call too much attention to itself. Surely this is a skill he perfected while writing for "The Twilight Zone".
"Hell House" has enough twists and turns to satisfy, and enough really scary, disgusting stuff to possibly haunt your dreams. I found myself having to think happy thoughts as I closed my eyes at night. I haven't had to do that in a while...not since reading "It" by Stephen King as a kid.
Fellow horror fans, you really ought to do yourselves a favor and read this book (and all of his others, too!). And remember, if anything seems familiar -- like it's been done before -- then it was probably lifted from this!
Highly recommended!
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82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Chris K. Wilson on September 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Hell House" author Richard Matheson has always been one of the great supernatural authors of recent history. His novels may not hit the bestseller lists with the frequency of Stephen King or Dean Koontz, but his contributions to the genre are legendary. His resume includes episodes of "The Twilight Zone," "I Am Legend," "Somewhere In Time," "The Shrinking Man" and "Stir of Echoes." For me, "Hell House" stands out as his great contribution to the genre, a storied and historical form of literature traveled by the likes of Shirley Jackson, Bram Stoker, H. G. Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Just when you think all has been covered in the haunted house genre, here comes Matheson with this electric and extraordinarily creepy variation circa 1971.
Wonderfully realized and darkly imaginative, "Hell House" is a simple tale of four unluckly folks hired to crack the legend of Hell House, an isolated mansion in Maine with a history as dark as the Manson Family at Spahn Ranch. Once owned by a Mr. Belasco, the house was an early 20th century hangout of deviant folks who explored carnal avenues to the ultimate point of starvation and death. Two previous expeditions of scientists ended in suicide and disaster, and our modern-day protagonists, needless-to-say, have their work cut out for them.
By novel's end, each character must come to terms with their own human weaknesses and repressions, exposed by the overwhelming evil of Hell House. Matheson's novel is brilliant because it brings a sexual awareness to the genre only flirted with in the past. The house, in many ways, is a prison with windows bricked over, nestled uncomfortably in an isolated, fog-covered valley. Matheson's characters are painfully alone, battling forces psycologically and eventually physically.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've been indulging in horror novels for the past year and I've read everything from Anne Rice to Stephen King. This novel was the most frightening novel I've laid my eyes on. While reading it, someone knocked on my door and I screamed so loud that I practically gave my visitor a heart attack.
So would you like this book? Picture this. There is a house where only one person has survived living beneath its roof in over 30 years. Four people return (a physicist, his wife, and 2 mediums); with a reward of 100,000 to see if they can get rid of the "hauntings" at Hell House. The physicists, Lionel, insists that there are no such things as ghost; that paranormal occurrences are a natural part of the world created by electromagnetic forces rather than the dead. The spiritualist, Florence, argues that the phenomenon's are a result of trapped and torments spirits which she has the power to relinquish from their prison. The mystery emerges as the debate of the force behind the phantoms grows. Will any of these four survive to solve the mystery of Hell House and if they do did they really learn the truth or just what the house wanted them to learn?
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'll agree with Stephen King, at the risk of seeming unorginal, that this is the scariest of all haunted house novels--much more so than "The Haunting of Hill House," "Burnt Offerings," or "The Shining," in my opinion, although it is not as good of a book overall as "Hill House." Matheson doesn't primarily rely on gross-outs for his effects (although some things in the book are rather revolting); mostly he just makes you afraid of what might happen next, by making the characters seem real and down-to-earth, with real fears and problems, and by establishing an extremely fearsome ambience through clear prose and ever more sinister suggestions. The use of semi-science fiction technology to investigate the possibility of an afterlife (explored by Matheson very differently in "what Dreams May Come" and "Bid Time Return") is kind of an interesting and involving element as well, and helps pull you in. Including some provocative sexual stuff kind of gets your attention also, but makes you feel guilty at the same time when things go really wrong--Matheson uses this device effectively, partly for titillation but also to heighten the overall effect. You really feel like you've been through the wringer after you get through this book, but it's somehow an enjoyable, refreshing experience. (Horror fiction aficionados I think will know what I mean, others will think that makes no sense). Be scared, very scared--read it.
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