Review: Hell House

Hell House
Hell House by Richard Matheson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have several mixed feelings about this book.

On the side of enjoyment, I really did enjoy reading it. I liked the story somewhat – or at least the execution of the story. I enjoyed the action in each page drawing me through each chapter. I liked the fact that it was horror.. though it was also mystery which I enjoy.

On the side of confusion, The fact that each member of the guest party had all something different to contribute was amusing but none of them were outside the realm of belief. Each of them believed wholeheartedly that this house had some sort of phenomena to be explored. As with religion, among other things, when someone believes something, they are more apt to see examples of that belief without seeing other possibilities of certain circumstances being allowed to have been made outside their opinions. (Example: Where some might see a ghost when a rocking chair moves, others might notice the wind helping it along). These things made it less interesting a story to me in the beginning because it seemed they were all just allowing their imaginations to run like wildfire.

Unbeknownst to me, this was a portion of the building blocks this story was using to its advantage. The fact that Florence was way too willing to believe in her own opinions causing her to wail and go nuts which allowed Barret to reaffirm his belief that she was causing much of it on her own, etc. The book does an awesome job of showing you not only that people will go this way when belief is overpowering logic, but how the house has manipulated their beliefs to its benefit.

On the side of irritation, I didn’t enjoy the graphic sexual overtones. I understand that they were used a shock-value to extenuate the difference of personality between house guest & possession… but that makes my enjoyment of that sort of material no greater than actual smut.

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