The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Classics, Supernatural

This film was based on the novel Hell House (for some reason WordPress doesn’t allow me to underline this…wtf), by Richard Matheson.

In this film, a dying millionaire hires three people to investigate the possibility of life after death. To do this, they must spend several days in the notorious Belasco house, said to be the most haunted in the world. The investigation is headed by Dr. Lionel Barrett, a physicist who dabbles in the study of parapsychology. His wife Edith has accompanied him during his visit.

Assisting the doctor is a mental medium, a young woman by the name of Florence Tanner, and also a physical medium named Franklin Fischer. Many years earlier Mr. Fischer had been in the house for another investigation, and was the only one of the group to make it out alive.

I own the novel Hell House and as a Richard Matheson fan I was hoping this film would stay true to the story. I was pleasantly surprised with it’s accuracy. The atmospheric qualities of the film created a tension that I love. The minimal use of music made the story feel realistic as opposed to theatrical. No special effects or excessive jump scares people.

What I love most about this flick is the story itself. I don’t want to give it away but it’s pretty dark shit which is good if you’re a freak like me. This is a pretty entertaining movie, some blood but nothing to write home about.

The Legend of Hell House for me was way better than The Haunting. Radical classic haunted house story. Worth a watch. For fans of black cats, amputees, and sleepwalkers.

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