It should come as no surprise that the works of Richard Matheson have left an impact on my life. “The Legend of Hell House” film and the novel it is based “Hell House” have been personal favorites since I was young. I can not even calculate how many times I’ve watched the film or how much comfort this disturbing tale has given me. I re-read the novel in April of last year and plan on doing it again on some dark creepy night.
The world lost a true storyteller …
I just read both books back to back The Haunting of Hill House did little for me as a novel - I’ve enjoyed the original film but the book is plodding and is more of a story about a sad mentally unstable girl - the horror aspects are limited. Matheson’s Hell House is a story about a haunted house and the people combating it - it’s a supernatural carnival ride that delivers what is expected while Shirley’s tale barely delves into anything - to say that Matheson ripped off Shirley is insane.
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
"In June of 1929, Belasco held a version of the Roman circus in his theater," he said. "The highlight was the eating of a virgin by a starving leopard. In July of the same year, a group of drug-addicted doctors started to experiment on animals and humans, testing pain thresholds, exchanging organs, creating monstrosities.
“By then everyone but Belasco was at an animal level, rarely bathing, wearing torn, soiled clothes, eating and drinking anything they could get their hands on, killing each other for food or water, liquor, drugs, sex, blood, even for the taste of human flesh, which many of them had acquired by then.
Hell House by Richard Matheson
"About 1926, he started his final thrust. He increased his efforts at encouraging guests to conceive of every cruelty, perversion, and horror they could. He conducted contests to see who could come up with the ghastliest ideas. He started what he termed ‘Days of Defilement,’ twenty-four-hour periods of frenzied, nonstop depravities. He attempted a literal enactment of de Sade’s120 Days of Sodom. He began to import monstrosities from all over the world to mingle with his guests—hunchbacks, dwarfs, hermaphrodites, grotesques of every sort.”