Horror Review: Hell House by Richard Matheson

This classic didn't wow me but would you look at those lovely locks on the narrator?!

Hell House by Richard MathesonNarrated by Ray Porter
Horror FictionAudiobook 9+ Hours
Released June 2009
Amazon ♦ Goodreads
Belasco House is the Mt. Everest of haunted houses. All previous attempts to probe its mysteries have ended in murder, suicide, or insanity. But now, a new investigation has been launched, bringing four strangers in search of the ultimate secrets of life and death.


A rich guy offers to pay a group of people to stay a few nights in a haunted house to prove there is life after death. All previous attempts to do such a stupid thing at this particular house have ended very badly for the suckers brave or stupid or hard-up enough to have a sleep-over. It’s no different this time around.

I read this book closely on the heels of finishing up Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House which was probably a big mistake on my part as the premise of these two books is nearly identical and Jackson’s story didn’t thrill me the way it did most people. Same goes for Hell House though I did like it a wee bit more than Jackson’s story but probably only because it was more lurid and crazy-pants and I like that kind of thing but it does suffer from the same over the top characterization.

This story is much more sexually horrifying. Some of the things that happen within these pages are upsetting. Trust me on this. The house was basically turned into a pit of debauchery and hellish events when its original owner cuts loose with a group of hangers-on who dip into orgies, drugs, murder, cannibalism (as you will, I guess) and every other nasty thing your brain can imagine! The house is tainted and incredibly haunted by a horny ghost who eventually infects the woman folk and does shocking pervy things.

I listened to this story on audio and the narrator, Ray Porter, does an excellent job. He is deadly serious which suits the story and he manages to deliver the lady voices in a way that doesn’t make them sound completely ridiculous even when they’re forced to behave in overly hysterical ways. He does a good job with the men and the evil inhabiting the house as well.

I’m going to give this the same rating as the Jackson book which I will review here one of these days:  3 Stars.

For those who have read both of these books which one did you favor? And do you have a favorite haunted house story that'll scare the crap out of me?!

Ray PorterA bit about the narrator because, seriously, would you look at those locks?!

Ray Porter has appeared in numerous films and television shows, including Frasier, ER, Will & Grace, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Almost Famous. A fifteen-year veteran of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.


  1. I'm like you, I thought these books were okay, but they didn't blow me away. I'm still looking for that perfect haunted house story. Have you ever read Alexandra Sokoloff? Her ghost stories, The Unseen and The Harrowing were pretty good, I thought. (If I'm remembering them right....but don't hate me if I'm wrong.) :D

    1. I haven't read that author yet. Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. I tried a few of these kinds of books by this author and Shirley Jackson but just couldn't get into them. I think it's just the writing style doesn't suit me.

    1. I loved Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle but probably because the main character was a strange young lady.

  3. Awesome hair. Mine is a lot like that (on good days) so I have a hard time looking at him without thinking of a clogged drain. I read this book years ago and didn't care for it too much.

    1. I am so jealous. I cannot tell you how much dry shampoo and hairspray and maneuvering I must do to get a bend in my hair.

  4. ok.. ok... hummm... I read many dark things and I don;t think I could stomach this one! Kuddos for finishing it!

    1. Sometimes I really don't understand why some books get so much love and others don't when they deserve it more.


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