Written by: Scotty
December 20th, 1970 two black Cadillacs pull up to the Belasco house, also known as "Hell House" with an investigation crew of four that are ready to find and unlock the secrets of the house's cursed past. Leading the charge, Dr. Lionel Barrett, a physicist that is dabbling in the studies of parapsychology is ready to disprove all of the stories and hearsay that the "Mount Everest" of haunted houses has to offer. The second researcher, Barrett’s wife, Edith, is along for the ride to assist and support her husband during his venture is not ready for what the house has in store for her. Third, medium Florence Tanner, a spiritualist and ex Hollywood starlet knows that she can find and unravel any deep dark secrets the old house can throw at her with her knowledge of love and how it affects the deceased. The fourth and final member, Benjamin Fischer, is a physical medium and the only survivor from a failed investigation back in 1940.
Current house owner William Deutsch has heard all of the stories about the Belasco house and wants to know once and for all if it is haunted or not before he dies. Hiring the best in their fields, Deutsch has assembled the best chance of finding out the true secrets the house is still holding onto. Two past investigations were conducted with the same type of crews in 1931 and 1940, with both ending in tragedy, eight people had entered the house, and only Fischer had walked away alive. The man behind this evil venue, Emeric Belasco, is said to have been the driving haunt that remains in the house. A large man by any standards, standing 6’5” Belasco earned the nickname from his patrons as "The Roaring Giant". Belasco was infamous for throwing large parties where his guests would never want or get to leave the house again.
Welcome to Richard Matheson’s Hell House. You follow the four investigators as they try to battle and survive with unseen forces in the house. They do not all see eye to eye on their opinions of what or who maybe tormenting them, but they all can agree that something strange is and will be working them to their last nerve. The house knows their individual weaknesses and is more than willing to pray upon them, if it is skepticism, pride, longing, or even the thought of love, the house will pull no punches. From the first entrance of the group into the house, strange things from footsteps to voices that cannot be explained and the events only escalate from there.
Pick this book up and give it a read. Great ghost stories are hard to find and a story so captivating is next to impossible. Matheson has a great story telling style that does not allow you to get too much information upfront, but is more than willing to give you enough clues so you don’t feel so bad at the end of the book. This is one of the greatest horror novels I have read to date, you feel for every character, even your villain, not easy to do by any writer.