Thursday, October 29, 2009

Haunted houses

This made me think of all the fictional houses -- haunted or not -- that are characters in their own right. What are your favorites?

-- Miriam

12 comments:

  1. The house on the hill in Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot is the scariest thing in that scary book. First, he foreshadows it with the protagonists's teenage memories of having crept in, only to run out screaming. Then, the protagonist sees it from every conceivable angle when he returns as an adult. The upstairs windows at night are like eyes. Deliveries made to the basement door are somehow consumed by it when nobody's looking. It draws people in and then suddenly seems grab to them. Good grief. Rocky Horror or not, I nearly had to scream "Don't Go In The House"!

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  2. I pick Stephen King, too, actually, but his "Rose Red". Amazing how the unseen horrors were the most frightening.

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  3. The house in House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

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  4. Not to be unoriginal, but I must also refer to a work of Stephen King. The Overlook Hotel in The Shining is eerily alluring and creepy. With blood gushing from the elevator and evil twins appearing in the corridors and around corners, ooo, it never fails to give a chill.

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  5. Hell House by Richard Matheson, which was so permeated by the evil of Emmerich Belasco that it almost had consciousness and will.

    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, which was so bleak that one could easily feel the hungry loneliness of the house itself.

    The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, which H.P. Lovecraft postulated that it shared a common soul with Roderick Usher.

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  6. The Four-Story Mistake, title house of Elizabeth Enright's novel. It has a secret room and a cupola--what could be better?

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  7. These are all great! I agree that Stephen King usually has strong house characters. How about BRIDESHEAD REVISITED?

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  8. I finally read House of Sand and Fog this summer, and what a terrific read. The house is not haunted, and really more a setting than a character, but the entire plot turns on its existence, so I think it deserves a spot on any list like this.

    A favorite book of mine that almost no one has read, "A House of Many Rooms" by Rodello Hunter begins: "The house told the story of the family." And it did. Feel like having your heart break between belly laughs? Amazon for this book.

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  9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale. All about the voice and crafting and so well done. Both writers draw a unique main character (both happen to be boys, one a teen and one a child) whose lack of understanding creates both sympathy and empathy--which was surely the point.

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  10. Oops. Meant to post the above on Jim's post.

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  11. For me, it's the farmhouse in H.P.Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror.

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