Published in 1971, Richard Matheson’s “Hell House” focuses on the Belasco House, an infamous mansion in Maine that was said to be home to unspeakable, blasphemous happenings. As a result of its sordid past, the house is thought to be haunted. Four people — a skeptic physicist who dabbles in the paranormal, his wife, and two psychic mediums — are hired by a dying millionaire to investigate the house. The dying man wants proof that there’s something after death and figures the Belasco House, or Hell House as some people call it, is the perfect place to find answers. As you can probably guess, things go very wrong once the four guests have arrived in the house, and all manner of scary stuff happens. The book was previously adapted into the film “The Legend of Hell House,” released in 1973.
As Flanagan puts it, “I don’t know that there has ever been a haunted house story as downright cinematic as ‘Hell House.’ It is written by a man who thought visually, who had a flair for cinematic set pieces, audience expectations, and visceral thrills that eluded many of his literary predecessors.”