Good Haunted House Novels?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by jaredog, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. jaredog

    jaredog New Member

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    I'm a big fan of the "Haunted House" genre. My favorites include King's "Bag of Bones" and Straub's "Lost Boy, Lost Girl." Does anyone have some good recommendations in this area?
     
  2. Shadowguard

    Shadowguard Registered User

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    Not a novel but a short story:

    The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft
     
  3. AuntiePam

    AuntiePam Cranky old broad

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    Well, it's not haunted in the traditional sense, but The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson has made it to a lot of best-lists.

    Is The Shining a haunted house story? It's hard to know where haunting stops and possession begins.

    I liked The Good House by Tananarive Due. It's doesn't feature a conventional haunting either though.

    The Woman in Black by Susan Hill has a ghost, but no haunted house. It's old-fashioned, but I thought it was excellent.

    Softspoken, Lucius Shepard's new one, is sort of a haunted house story.

    Does a haunted house require a ghost? What about houses that are built on sacred sites, like the house in the movie Poltergeist?
     
  4. Zsinj

    Zsinj Registered User

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    Correct me if I'm wrong because I've never read it, but I thought Stephen King's "Bag of Bones" was basically a drama with supernatural elements, rather than a straight up horror/haunted hause tale.
     
  5. jaredog

    jaredog New Member

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    It's a drama, but the main character lives in a haunted house.
     
  6. Queequeg

    Queequeg New Member

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    Hell House by Richard Matheson.

    You should also try the classic story short fiction of M.R. James, E.F. Benson, and Algernon Blackwood.
     
  7. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    I'd second these, and strongly second the Jackson.

    I also second Matheson's Hell House, which I understand is about to be again made into a movie.

    There's also Turn of the Screw by Henry James, which may or may not be a haunted house story, and, since we're mentioning longish stories, short novels, toss in Oliver Onions' "The Beckoning Fair One."

    If you're willing to look into movies, see also The Uninvited, based on a novel I have never gotten my paws on, and starring Ray Milland at his most Cary Grant-like.

    Another book that doesn't technically belong to this group but has something of the same feel to it, is Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca; Manderley may not be haunted by ghosts, but the memory of one of it's former inhabitants certainly haunt the present inhabitants.

    Randy M.
     
  8. jaredog

    jaredog New Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    The Haunting (the original version) is one of my favorite horror movies and I've always meant to read the book, but seem to forget about it.
     
  9. Sfinx

    Sfinx Life's a riddle

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    House of Leaves (Mark Danielewski). Highly original - and very scary.
     
  10. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    I found House of Leaves hard work - a case of style over substance for me, I'm afraid - but there are some out there who really like it.

    Would Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher count?

    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James?; (Novella rather than novel, perhaps)

    And just to add my recommendation: Hell House by Richard Matheson (on which the film The Haunting [Correction: Legend] of Hill House was based) is great: a lot more adult than I expected;

    (And how about this for a cover!):

    [​IMG]

    James Herbert's Haunted is OK;


    The Haunting of Hill House gets my vote though, I think.

    Though this is short stories, this might be worth a look:


    Peter Haining's Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories. Cover:

    [​IMG]

    There's a lot there to try!

    Mark / Hobbit
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  11. Randy M.

    Randy M. Registered User

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    I figure you know this but had what a friend of mine calls a 'thinko': Hell House the novel was the basis for the film The Legend of Hell House. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson was the basis of the Robert Wise directed film, The Haunting.

    I haven't heard a fully convincing argument for what formed the basis of the Jan de Bont movie also titled The Haunting, although the suggestion it was all based on a badly digested radish is fairly convincing.

    Randy M.
     
  12. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks Randy: yes, I know that: it's a typo, which I will correct! I have said elsewhere that the original Haunting film is one of my favourites, and one of my recommendations for a Halloween video-fest.

    The remake however needs to be IMO shunned as much as possible. In the style of 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything', I'll just go with 'the colour's nice, isn't it?'. :)

    Mark / Hobbit
     
  13. DailyAlice

    DailyAlice Registered User

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    Though not technically involving the supernatural (iirc) I still remember with shivers a Jack Cady novel called The Well. Psychotic booby-trapping. Torture apparatus and stuff. Shivers, I tell you.
     
  14. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    Phil Rickman's December was a good haunted house...er haunted recording studio story.

    In December 1980, a rock band whose members are all psychics, records an album amidst the ancient ruins of an abbey in Wales. The result is tragic; but 14 tormented years later, the band members are lured to a reunion by inescapable forces. Together, they try to stem the evil emanating from the abbey.
     
  15. Raule

    Raule Registered User

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    I think Poe's House of Usher counts. Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables is a good one, too, if you count those that are more gothic than pure horror.
     
  16. Zsinj

    Zsinj Registered User

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    Right now I'm reading The Influence by Ramsey Campbell. It's a good, fun read, nothing really spectacular or mind-blowing. While Campbell is certainly by no means a bad author, I wonder why he's been dubbed "The Grand Master of Horror". Granted, I haven't read that many Campbell works, in fact the only other one I've read is "Ancient Images", which I thought was very good, but the ending was just terrible and supremely dissapointing. Maybe I haven't read him enough to be right on this sort of opinion, but I don't see his work as being as great as, say, Lovecraft, King, Herbert, or Simmons. And speaking of King, how's your reading of Duma Key going, AuntiePam? I've heard some pretty good reviews of the book.
    I'm also currently reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2008
  17. DailyAlice

    DailyAlice Registered User

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    My experience with Ramsey Campbell is that he's an author who leans very heavily on repetitive "atmospheric" details and the self-destructive psychology of his protagonists. I finally decided he just didn't do it for me. I prefer horror novels in which something definite happens and in which something actual--preferably supernatural--causes it to happen.

    Atmosphere is great, literary is great, but I read horror fiction for reasons that transcend both.

    I can't remember reading any of his short stories. They may be fine.
     
  18. AuntiePam

    AuntiePam Cranky old broad

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    Just saw this -- sorry to be so late with a response.

    I liked the writing. King didn't do any of the things that have annoyed me in some of his other books. There was no whining, no long internal monologues about writer's block, and no made-up cutesy words. The story flowed nicely and there were some nicely creepy parts, like the clattering seashells under his house.

    It didn't hit me until later (after I read some Amazon reader comments) that there were problems with the plot -- some things just didn't make sense. But if those things hadn't happened, there wouldn't have been a story.

    I'd recommend it though. The writing was like the "old" King that I love.
     
  19. DailyAlice

    DailyAlice Registered User

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    I'm just finishing up Duma Key and I agree: it's a well-done book with the old King back in charge and his often-irritating writer's ticks under control. He writes too long and repeats himself too much, but I guess that won't ever change; it just wouldn't be King. He really cherishes his characters. They have soul and so does he.

    Plot gaffes? Maybe. I'll think about that when I've finished. Or maybe not. Sounds too much like work.