Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Haunted House

Phil is getting ready to see the newest haunted house movie, THE CONJURING. Although I enjoy books or stories about haunted houses, I cannot bear seeing them. So my favorite one is going to be THE HAUNTING OF HILL House, which is oh, so sublime due to its subtlety.

What is your favorite haunted house story or movie?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE hands down. I saw THE HAUNTING before I read the book, but when I read it I was struck by the perfect casting of Julie Harris as Eleanor.

Richard Matheson's HELL HOUSE was good too, if clearly derivative of the Jackson book.


Jeff M.

John said...

Favorite haunted house book:
COLD HARBOUR by Francis Brett Young. Treats the same themes explored in Jackson's book and Young wrote it in 1925. No parapsychologist investigatvie team though. A seminal work but hardly ever read even though it was reissued by a small press back in 2008.

Favorite movie haunted house:
THE OTHERS -- it's genuinely frightening and it has a brilliant twist.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Love THE OTHERS.
Will look for COLD HARBOUR.

Bill Crider said...

THE HAUNTING and THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, no question.

Charles Gramlich said...

For movies, Ghost story was a favorite.

Chris said...

I just read HELL HOUSE. I liked it well enough, but Matheson had his characters "hiss" every time they felt pain, moved an injured limb, felt something cold, etc. I told my wife that a great drinking game would be to get a book on tape and have everyone take a shot every time a character hisses; I don't think anyone would make it a third of the way through without passing out!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Did Ghost Story actually take place in a house. I can't remember.
Phil saw the movie. As I feared there were lots of startling moments. I can take gore but not being started.

F.T. Bradley said...

I liked THE OTHERS.

I'm not a fan of scary movies either...

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

The original version of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder. It was better than the more recent film starring Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George.

Thomas Pluck said...

First one I remember is POLTERGEIST which is anything but subtle, but I also like The Changeling and The Haunting.

Anonymous said...

Movies where the house--haunted or not--becomes part of the horror: Fall of the House of Usher and Repulsion jumped into my mind.

Deb

sandra seamans said...

I liked "What Lies Beneath" because the horror was more subtle than in your face. Lots of very creepy moments.

Anonymous said...

Chris, "hissing" drives me nuts in books too, especially when the character hisses a word without an "s" in it.

"No," he hissed.

Try it sometimes.

I agree on THE OTHERS too.


Jeff M.

R.T. said...

My most recent favorite is Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger. She improves upon Henry James's The Turn of the Screw by using similar ambiguity but better characterization.

pattinase (abbott) said...

LOVE that book!

Anders E said...

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, both novel and movie, is pretty obvious.

POLTERGEIST was a more or less a ripoff of MINUKE, a short story by Nigel Kneale which is much better than the rather silly movie.

Anders E said...

Does THE SHINING count?

pattinase (abbott) said...

YES!

R.T. said...

Regarding The Little Stranger, you may be interested in sharing this:

http://www.bookloons.com/cgi-bin/Review.asp?bookid=11109

Todd Mason said...

HELL HOUSE is my choice (so far) as easily Richard Matheson's worst novel, with the perfervid sex bits and general (hissing) air of, indeed, a hurriedly-written ripoff of THE HAUNTING OF HH. THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE the film is OK, an improvement on the novel.

THE OTHERS was rather telegraphed, but well-made. Wish I could say the same for THE SHINING, Kubrick's HELL HOUSE, afa I'm concerned...Duvall is good. No one else is, very much.

Favorite story that comes to mind, short: "Naples" by Avram Davidson tied with "Shottle Bop" by Theodore Sturgeon; "Proof" by Henry Cecil is a runner up with an asterisk (it isn't a house).

Novel: THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and OUR LADY OF DARKNESS by Fritz Leiber; TOPPER by Thorne Smith trails reasonably closely.

Film: THE HAUNTING (first adaptation, of course); trailed by TOPPER the film, THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR the film, BEETLEJUICE up to a point, THE EVIL DEAD II, TRULY MADLY DEEPLY...remarkable how many of the runners-up for me are largely or in important part humorous.

Todd Mason said...

And Matheson's A STIR OF ECHOES (and the film STIR OF ECHOES) are not too shabby.

Come to think of it, so is Lisa Tuttle's FAMILIAR SPIRIT.

And Peter Beagle's A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE.

John said...

GHOST STORY does not qualify as a a haunted house novel. But it has a lot of ghosts and supernatural business in it. There is a scene in a movie theater that still stays with me.

I thought I was the only one in the world who disliked Kubrick's THE SHINING. Incredibly overrated. One of the most boring horror movies I ever sat through that suddenly turns into a killer on the rampage movie. I was thoroughly disappointed in it. I can't bear to ever watch it again.

No one mentioned BURNT OFFERINGS. The book, that is. The movie stinks to high heaven.

Anders E said...

Regarding Kubrick's THE SHINING - I'd say you could very well describe it as "rather telegraphed, but well-made". Damn, I've been struggling with this movie since 1980... Duvall is indeed brilliant, but Nicholson...not so much. It's evident from the very start that he's a BAD GUY (that would also be the case in the remake of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE). I recall the novel being very good, though.

Another story: THE STORY OF YAND MANOR HOUSE by E. & H. Heron. From waaay back in 1898!

Jerry House said...

Some good choices here; let me throw out a couple more:

"Larroes Catch Meddlers," a short story by Manly Wade Wellman.

GHOSTS, an 87th Precinct novel by Ed McBain. (The "haunted house" segment covers only a few chilling pages. Has anyone else inserted a truly supernatural element into a realistic police procedural and make it work? I think not.)

BTW, the ads for THE CONJURING look great except for the bushwah about it being a true story. The "facts" came from the "ghost-hunting" team of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who have as much credibility as the dust bunnies under my sofa. Ed Gorman ghosted several of their books in his hungrier days; Ray Garton also wrote one and is evidently pretty embarrassed about it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

So many great titles here. Phil thought the movie was so-so. Too much about exorcism for his tastes.

Anonymous said...

Jerry, as soon as I realized they were the same duo behind the whole Amityville nonsense I lost all interest.

Every time a "news show" does another story about the Amityville "Horror" house I want to throw something at the screen.

Agree on THE SHINING. It had a few moments but Jack was so gone from day one it was idiotic.


Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

What about that eerie short story, "The Beckoning Fair One" by Oliver Onions? A man feels compelled to lease an old house and gradually loses all connection with the "real" world.

Deb

Todd Mason said...

Caveat--"Larroes Catch Meddlers" isn't actually a haunted house story...but about something far more lively and predatory. Wellman also included a similar vignette about "gardinels" in his John the Balladeer cycle, "Why They're Named That," as collected in WHO FEARS THE DEVIL? and the later collections of John stories. "Larroes Catch Meddlers" was also adapted for the tv version of LIGHTS OUT and survives...and is not too shabby. The story is better.

Todd Mason said...

And, of course, along with the Onions stories, we have to make mention of M. R. James..."'Oh, Whistle, And I Come To You, My Lad'" (Robbie Burns's phrase made completely James's own...)

Todd Mason said...

(or, even, "I'll Come")