Details from Audible:
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.
I read “I am Legend
” a few years ago (fantastic book) and loved it. So now as I’ve discovered I would rather listen to books than read them, I finally got a chance to listen to this one.
This book is considered a classic horror novel and I can see why. There are some amazing scenes, brutal murders, very creepy atmosphere and excellent characters. I was also impressed by how modern (or you could say controversial) the book is. There is lesbian sex, a three-way, very graphic descriptions of violence, torture, dead bodies, supernatural events and a disturbing rape scene.
Suffice it say this book is really not for children, adult horror for sure. As before Matheson is excellent at building suspense and does a great job of mixing the supernatural with science. I can see why this was made into a movie and I plan on watching it soon. This brings me to the negative, I found this book was very slow at the beginning. For about the first 10 chapters little to nothing happens. I know this is building suspense/atmosphere and establishing the characters but there is just too much of it and I found myself frequently bored during this.
Despite my misgivings this is still an excellent audio book. The narration is fantastic, the speaker really gives his all with different voices, yelling and really help gets you in the mood. I’m very picking on endings and while this one wraps up quickly, it is a satisfying ending. I am curious to see what happens in the short story “Return to Hell House” (which, despite a confusing title, takes place before this book). It’s not often the voice performance is so great and it certainly helped me enjoy the book. So a solid 8 out of 10 from me. I recommend it to any horror fan (ages 19+), with a suggestion you speed up the rate at first. I continue to use a 1.25 speed throughout and find it takes nothing away but the first 10 chapters might be ok with 1.5 speed. Looking forward to listening and reading more from this great horror writer.