Hmmmm, it’s so hard to review a horror book. They are not meant to be great literature, but sometimes it is hard to find where the merits lie.
I’m halfway through two Richard Matheson novels. Somewhere in Time is a left of centre romance, though I have seen it listed as Sci Fi and Hell House is most definitely horror. I’m not really enjoying either, which is a great disappointment as I have read I Am Legend, Duel and 7 Steps to Midnight and thoroughly enjoyed them. The fact that I’m reading these directly after North and South is maybe not doing them justice as there is no comparison.
What I have had to do is to put myself in the frame of mind of the era when they were written ie 1975 and 1971 respectively. What was horror back then…. most of it was pretty tame, so some of the scenes and the sexuality of Hell House may have given it a certain amount of notoriety when it was first published. I’m listening to it during my drive to and from work, and maybe if I listened to it at night I may find it creepier than I do. I think I did see the movie years ago and enjoyed it, but these days we’re a bit more sophisticated in what we need to frighten us. I’m a tough old bird and not much scares me (except cockroaches) so I demand a lot. The Exorcist scared me, and anything involving unnatural movement really frightens me ie the fiddler in movie The Gift, the girl from The Ring 1 and The Ring 2.
Jagged teeth I really don’t like either – such as Pennywise’s (The clown from It), and the doppleganger from The Hammer House of Horror’s The Two Faces of Evil. Really unexpected ugly things like the dwarf at the end of my all time favourite movie Don’t Look Now. Horror is individual thing and I take a lot to be scared. Although some of my waking dreams scare the hell out of me. I’m still getting over waking up and looking over to my bedside table a little while ago and my beautiful grey tabby Jasmin was sitting there all bright eyed, with a lovely glossy coat, looking at me. I was surprised to see her (she’s been dead for over two years) and I called out her name and went to stroke her (I was obviously not quite awake). She leaned her head forwards and as she did so it started to change. I knew it would not look good and I cried out and switched on my bedside light…… my heart pounding. I had to sleep with the light on for a while after that!
So, although I haven’t yet finished it I’m finding Hell House very tame (nay even lame), however I do prefer it over Somewhere in Time.
Somewhere in Time is just plain bland. The descriptions, the dialogue……I’m so disappointed. I feel that maybe Matheson is better at the short story and with this in mind I have booked Nightmare at 20, 000 Feet from the library to help raise him in my estimation!! Basically the ideas are there, but the delivery isn’t (sorry Bradley) and it appears to me that in this instance the movies are better than the novels. I won’t give up though, there must be a horror out there that will scare me or at least unnerve me (like Pet Cemetary…. now that really was creepy).
Just an aside, my de facto mother in law died yesterday. She lived in New Zealand so the last time I actually spoke to her was when we spent
Christmas Day at the old folks home with her a couple of years ago whilst we were touring the South Island on holiday. But even though we weren’t close I still feel sadness at her passing, and just wish to say "Rest in Peace Phyliss".