HELL HOUSE by Richard Matheson

HELL HOUSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The road to Hell House is paved with bricks -- the son of its owner had presumably been sealed up in a wall alive; and good intentions -- to scare the daylights out of you during an evening's entertainment. Although Matheson has lots of equipment as a novelist and screen writer, and all the paranormal information he needs from apports to xenoglossy, somehow he misses. You're looking on rather than taken in when a wealthy man offers $100,000 to a physicist, Dr. Barrett, and a medium, Fischer, and a sensitive, Florence Tanner, to investigate the house. The last intrusion left eight victims (dead) and one survivor, Fischer. Once again everything and everyone is unsettled: chairs rock and the cutlery cuts up; Miss Tanner exposes teeth marks on her breasts and is brutally clawed by a cat; she and Dr. Barrett's wife become sexually disturbed; their benefactor-to-be dies naturally while two others are killed and even Dr. Barrett's fine desensitizing machine fails. All of this is reasonably engineered and explained but what you've been missing is a real aura or a true frisson in these annals of trance-substantiation.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1971
ISBN: 0312868855
Publisher: Viking