Saturday, August 31, 2013

Because I am lazy still

Another repost, from two months ago

Richard Matheson is dead

I had to step away and think about this for a bit to post something appropriate when I heard the news. Richard Matheson is seriously one of the people who showed me what horror could achieve.
A lot of people consider Bloch's Psycho to be the convergence of a psychological thriller and horror, but he never had the masterful touch that Matheson showed in so many of his short stories. You never get a true glimpse of what it's like to be Bates, he is an Other, an outside force that the protagonists struggle against. "Legion of Plotters" brings you inside the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic, and as the story unfolds you find yourself horrified to empathise with someone so clearly unhinged. It is not the only one do pull this off, but I think it is the best of the bunch.
He single-handedly turned the Vampire genre upside down and created what I honestly believe is the single most original piece of Vampire horror to date with I Am Legend. He merges a post-apocalyptic survival story with a moving portrait of a man losing his mind due to isolation and never lets up, and the reveal in the last part of the book is just brilliant.
He basically created Stephen Spielberg's career with Duel.
His contributions to The Twilight Zone are legendary already, without needing to go into details.
Outside of Stephen King, I think this is the author that has had the most adaptations of his works to the screen (big or small). Stir of Echoes, What Dreams May Come, his numerous Twilight Zone scripts, the four versions of I Am Legend, Reel Steel (which was also a Twilight Zone episode!). It's mind boggling.
But he wasn't just a horror writer. He had some amazingly clever sci-fi stories, some of them mixing the genres but others remaining "pure" works of speculative fiction. "F-" is a good example, the story of a time traveler who goes to the future and discovers that the single most obscene word (and concept) that has engendered a taboo unrivaled by anything else in human history is simply... Food.
He was a great mind, a great wit, and the literary (and film) world is lessened by his passing.

No comments:

Post a Comment