Published by Macmillan Genres: Fiction, Horror
Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is going die. But when Deutsch, a wealthy magazine and newpaper publisher, starts thinking seriously about his impending death, he offers to pay a physicist and two mediums, one physical and one mental, $100,000 each to establish the facts of life after death.Dr. Lionel Barrett, the physicist, accompanied by the mediums, travel to the Belasco House in Maine, which has been abandoned and sealed since 1949 after a decade of drug addiction, alcoholism, and debauchery. For one night, Barrett and his colleagues investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townfolks refer to it as the Hell House.
Not bad, not great. It’s The Haunting of Hill House mashed up with The Exorcist, though I’d have to check the publication date of The Exorcist to see which influenced the other.
While not exactly a rip-off of Shirley Jackson’s classic, it’s pretty close.
Whether you prefer this to The Haunting of Hill House, depends on what you’re looking for in a haunted house novel. If you want sex, violence, blood and action Hell House is for you. If you prefer subtlety and to leave your novels with a sense of questioning, well, you might prefer to check out The Haunting of Hill House.
Ultimately I was satisfied with the end, but if you’re looking for deep philosophical thoughts on life after death, I suggest Matheson’s kinder, gentler work on the subject, What Dreams May Come.