Tag: haunted

the haunting

Five Psycho-Supernatural Horror Stories for Fans of ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

Some of the best horror skirts the line between psychological thriller and supernatural terror. In the spirit of Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, here are a selection of terrifying books. Don’t lose your head.

 

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

 

House of Leaves materials.

Image Via Goodreads

 

My personal favorite book of all time. It’s about a House that’s slightly bigger on the inside than on the outside. Actually, wait, it’s about a documentary about the family living in the House. But no, that’s not right either, it’s about a critical review of the documentary about the House. Well, in truth, it’s about a man editing the critical review of the documentary about the House. And that man is going insane. Highly recommended.

 

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 

The governess

 

A absolute classic tale of Gothic horror about an English governess who is either seeing ghosts, losing her mind, or both.

 

Songs of a Dead Dreamer by Thomas Ligotti

 

Creepy man

Image Via the New Yorker

 

Ligotti is probably the modern day inheritor of the mantle of Lovecraft. When it comes to horror writing few others come close to his prowess. A short story master and a talented cynical writer, this is his first short story collection and it’s bound to unnerve you.

 

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

 

The Haunted house

Image Via Occult

 

Published only a few years after The Exorcist, this is the true crime meets horror book that will keep haunted house and demonology enthusiasts turning the page. This book spawned a series of movies.

 

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

 

Leo

Image Via MovieMania

 

A U.S. Marshal travels to a hospital for the criminally insane on a remote island in order to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Adapted by Martin Scorsese into a Leanardo DiCaprio film.

 

 

Feature Image Via GeekTyrant

Woman With a Haunted House for a Face

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and the Literary Tradition of Horror

Happy Halloween! If you are a horror fan and you haven’t watched the Netflix adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s masterpiece The Haunting of Hill House, I highly recommend you sit down for the ten hours it takes to watch it all. If you have read the book the series is based upon you will realize that it is the definition of a very loose adaptation. Many names are recycled, plot points reused, and broad strokes painted, but in the end the story is very different. And this is a good thing. 

 

The Haunting of Hill House already received a very faithful cinematic treatment in 1969’s The Haunting from director Robert Wise (with an accompanying terrible American remake in 1999). It was refreshing to see a familiar story get a new take from Netflix, this time focusing on the scariest thing of all: family.

 

In the original novel, the Crain family were the landowners and builders of Hill House, all of whom were driven insane and died in various horrible ways by the malevolent presence in their home. The Netflix show recasts them as a family of home flippers who have invested in the haunted Hill House as their latest project. The familial drama as it relates to the supernatural projects of the house takes center stage this time around, and it’s powerful stuff.

 

I’ve long held that most modern horror films and television shows are terrible, because they so often lack the very literary roots of the genre. Genuinely good horror delves so deep into the subconscious that it’s nothing but inky blackness obscuring our true fears. The fear of death, your own or a loved ones. The fear of mental illness, real or imagined. And of course, the fear of the unknown, the actual ghosts.

 

This is where the screen, big or small, so often fails. Subconscious is notoriously difficult to portray visually. Many Stephen King adaptations fail miserably because the internalization of his characters is so important. The Haunting of Hill House succeeds spectacularly at delving into the traumatized members of the Crain family. All five children and both parents receive an episode in the limelight where we really get to know them as people, and how the House has come to envelop their lives and poison their relationships with one another. 

 

Subtlety is sorely lacking in contemporary horror, and while the series does indulge in a few jump scare moments, the real horror lurks around the edges of the screen. Just take a look at all the hidden horror in between frames. This is the cinematic equivalent of reading and then rereading a passage in a book over and over again, going back because you’re sure you’ve missed something. I often did this while reading The Haunting of Hill House and similar fare. The dread is palpable.

 

I’ve said it, and I’ll say it again. The best horror has its feet firmly in a literary tradition. It’s less about the demon girl popping up behind you in the mirror and screaming her undead lungs off, and more about the circumstances of the demon girl’s death, and her state of mind when she surrendered her soul to Satan, or what have one. One makes you jump out of your seat for a few moments, the other stays with you for years.

Stephen King at the gates of his house.

Check Out Stephen King’s Spooky Haunted House

Horror maestro and bestselling author Stephen King lives in a house in Bangor, Maine that could be the setting for any number of his terrifying novels.

 

The house itself is a in a neighborhood just outside of downtown Bangor, on a street with several other very nice homes. However, few of the other houses on that block have black wrought iron fences with twisted decorations of spiders and monstrous creatures, like some sort of permanent Halloween decoration. 

 

 

Stephen King's Mansion

Image Via LA Times

 

Red with stark white trims, the house just looks like it could be hiding a dark secret or is secretly possessed by otherworldly spirits or slowly drives its residents insane. We can see why King lives there, the place is just dripping with the flavor of his storytelling techniques.

 

And if you read how the man himself talks about it, the mansion might very well have been haunted, at least at first. “Of course we fell in love with the house we live in, and it has never disappointed us. Have we disappointed it? Disappointment probably isn’t the right word. I think it disapproved of us at first,” wrote King in 1983. “The parlor seemed cold in a way that had little to do with temperature… My oldest son was convinced there were ghosts in the turret towers.”

 

 

Stephen King's Mansion

Image Via Z107.3

 

Eventually, the horrors that possessed the house proved themselves to be either benevolent or nonexistent, and the King family managed to make themselves at home. King goes on to talk about more banal reasons why they settled on the home, like the walking distance to school, but there’s no denying that the King of Horror is right at home.

 

 

 

Feature Image Via Bangor Daily News

the Witch house

Witches, Get Ready! Beverley Hills Witch’s House Brought Back to Life for Halloween

You might recognize it as the house past which Cher trials miserably on her way home from retail therapy in Clueless, but the Beverly Hills ‘Witch’s House’ was originally built in 1921 as the set for the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ movie. The house at 516 Walden Drive fell into disrepair and was a popular spot for risk takers to seek out ghosts. Now it’s being resurrected just in time for Halloween! 

 

Witch's House in Clueless

Cher trials miserably past the Witch’s House on her way home from retail therapy in Clueless. / Via iamnotastalker

 

Real estate agent Michael J. Libow bought the property, the only one of its kind in the 90210 zip code, and started renovating the ‘Witch’s House’ to restore it to it’s former glory. He said:

 

The concept in the home was to make it as organic as possible to the ground, everything looks as if it just sprung out of the ground, almost like a volcanic eruption.
 

 

Apparently, Libow spared no expense making sure the house is perfect from top to bottom. He plans to live there for the rest of his life. He is also making Halloween a day to remember on Walden Drive again and will allow visitors. 
 

‘I plan to carry on the tradition,’ Libow said, ‘but because I don’t do well in drag, I do not dress up as a witch on Halloween.’

 

Featured Image Via Experience Los Angeles