THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE - John Hough Adapted by horror master Richard Matheson from his own book Hell House, this is a modern day take on the haunted house or Bad Place (as Stephen King would refer to it) archetype. The protagonists, a physicist with experience in parapsychology and two psychic mediums are courted by an offer of $100, 000 each if they can exorcise the notorious Balasko mansion - Hell House - a repository of shocking perversion during the life of its owner and fearful even after because of bizarre events that have caused the death of almost all the members of two previous missions to cure its evils. What differentiates this from countless other films that deal with haunted houses is the constant juxtaposition of the hard-headed rational with the supernatural. The characters are well fleshed out and refreshingly non-stereotypical. The testy arguments between the medium and the physicist make for gripping viewing, and no small credit to the actors that play them superlatively. Hough's direction is very intense and it's a great surprise that he never did any thing else of much consequence. The other highlights of the film are the excellent sets and absolutely spectacular visuals (by Alan Hume whose work spans from the Carry On films to Return of The Jedi) - I am guessing that Kubrick got some of his ideas for The Shining from this film. The only disappointment, apart from a couple of silly Argento-esque scenes involving a black cat, comes from the hokey climax exorcism. But even with this caveat, this film remains a must-see in the lists of the true horror fan. PS: I think this thread ought to be made a sticky, what say?