Author: Shirley Jackson
Genre: Horror fiction
The haunted house is one of horror's oldest staples, done to death by both filmmakers and authors, often with poor results but, every now and then, executed with mastery. Without a doubt, though, every creative mind that imagines a new spooky crib plot is either inspired by Shirley Jackson's masterpiece The Haunting of Hill House or just shamelessly ripping it off.
The ultimate ghost story, Hill House is an exercise in first-class restraint and subtle terror, as well as the best evidence to support the claim that the late Ms. Jackson is an all-time master of genre fiction.
Fun Fact: Hollywood filmmakers have twice tried to bring Jackson's story to life; one version, Robert Wise's 1963 classic, is a masterwork, while Jan de Bont's special effects orgy in 1999 is simply abysmal.