Still, despite the long tradition, it isn't an easy foundation upon which to build. Houses aren't, by nature, particularly active villains. A good haunted house story has to recapture that nameless, overpowering dread that you get as a child going down into a dark basement. You know, objectively, there's nothing that will get you, but there's still something wrong about the place. As a kid, this makes perfect sense. There are bad places. They smell funny and come equipped with the china-cabinet-sense of "ought not being thereness".
Trying to transcribe and rationalize that atmosphere is a nearly impossible task, yet House of Fear, the new collection from Solaris, contains no less than nineteen original attempts - and almost all of them succeed. The authors, a collection of some of horror's edgiest names, approach the job from all angles. Their responses vary from the stoically traditional to the far corners of the "house" definition.
Without going through all nineteen, a few stand out as particularly strong or creative explorations of the haunted house idea.