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I'm not sure what is more eerie; this book, or the fact that nobody has offered an opinion on it. I hope to any God that's good that this book isn't deleted, because everyone should read it. After all, after a recent horror of a different sort at the cinema, it deserves to be devoured in it's purist form. (Sounds like I'm aching for a virgin sacrifice!)
In case I confuse, I am referring to a recent film, 'The Haunting' with Liam Neeson, a truly shocking adaptation of this book, mainly because despite millions and modern technology there was more shock in an 8 volt battery than in this travesty of a film. The 1963 version found more success, mainly because it remained simple. What scares people? Things going bump in the night.
That is what propells this book. A haunted house with a grisly history that hasn't had a quiet night since the first brick was laid. And that is what attracts a team of investigators, led by Dr. Montague, to spend some time with its secrets.
The success of the scare however is not in gruesome images and action packed scenes, but in Jackson's manipulation of the subtle; unnatural sounds, misplaced walls and floors, and locals with doors sensibly shut. They know, better than the town folk, what Jackson tells us on page one; that Hill House was not sane, and that 'whatever walked there, walked alone.' Those who go into Hill House find that, more chillingly, Hill House goes into them. Ask shy and vulnerable Eleanor. You can take the girl out of Hill House, but you can't take Hill House out of the girl.
I hope you can still get your hands on copies. Mine's a busted old thing from a second hand book shop. Whatever it takes, search it out. And if you can, get hold of her short story, 'The Lottery'. If this opinion finds an audience I'll do a bit on that grisly tale too.