After my first contact with the world of haunted houses with The Haunting of Hill House, I have a strong desire to continue reading and, at some point, write stories of the kind. For this reason, when I discovered the new edition of Hell House by Richard Matherson I could not resist and I bought it.
For more than twenty years, Belasco’s House has remained empty. Considered the Everest of haunted houses, it is a venerable mansion whose gloomy walls have witnessed scenes of unimaginable horror and depravity. Previous expeditions that have tried to investigate its secrets have ended in disaster, with their participants destroyed by murder, suicide or dementia. Now a new investigation is prepared that will take four strangers to the forbidden mansion, determined to discover in Hell House the definitive secrets of life and death. Everyone has their own reasons to risk suffering torments and temptations unknown, but can anyone survive what lurks in the most dangerous house in the world?
Similarities with Hill House
As soon as I started reading the novel, I was very disappointed. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the way it was written or that it seemed to me that the story wasn’t worth it at all; the problem was that I had already read the very same story in the work of Shirley Jackson The Curse of Hill House.
Shirley’s work was published in 59 and this one, Matherson’s, in 71. Considering the similarity of the title (Hill House – Hell House) I had little hope that I would find anything new.
Luckily I kept reading, because I was completely wrong.
Before saying anything I want to make it clear that for me it was a 10/10.
The story takes place in five days, the five long and distressing days that the protagonists have to remain locked in the house. It is very intense, dynamic and hard, it forces us into a roller coaster of emotions that are sometimes difficult to cope with.
One of the things I liked the most, and that doesn’t happen at Hill House, is that in the end you understand what was happening. The ghosts or entities are there, the characters see them and interact with them, not as in Shirley’s work, and the role of the antagonist is clearly adjudicated.
In a way it has been like reading a more complete interpretation, better tied and with an intelligible end of Hill House.
If you have not read it I compel you to do it, it is not surprising that it is considered one of the scariest stories of haunted houses ever written.