Matheson, Part 7: Hell House.
After a decade-long hiatus, Richard Matheson returned to long-form prose with his eighth novel, Hell House. It tells the story of a team of scientists and spiritualists who are sent to an allegedly haunted house to determine what the cause of the supernatural occurrences are.
Two years later, Matheson once again adapted his own book into a feature film, entitled The Legend of Hell House. The movie, directed by John Hough, stars Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes), Michael Gough (Batman), and Clive Revill (formerly of Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back). It is a considerably toned-down version, which actually sports a PG rating.
This week, Mike and Max are joined by John Mills of Words with Nerds. We discuss the novel's influence on later haunted house stories, the movie's strange lack of sex and violence, and what Matheson was up to in the sixties. We also wonder whether or not McDowall's climactic line reading is one of the finest moments in the history of cinema.