Remembering Richard Matheson


~post by Joe

This is the hardest thing I have ever written. How do I put into words all the ways Richard Matheson has influenced me and the world we live in.

That sounds wrong.

Richard Matheson created the world we live in.

When we gather around the figurative water cooler and talk about the season finale of Mad Men, what we’re really doing is talking about The Shrinking Man. Don Draper forever getting smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller.

World War Z is the film that dominates the box office. Brad Pitt is so dreamy. Zombies. George Romero has gone on record saying that Night of the Living Dead is a straight up lift of Matheson’s I Am Legend.

I Am Legend has been filmed multiple times yet no one has filmed the legend. *Spoiler* the good guy just might be genocidal.

In 50 years, television writers will finally be acknowledged as much the cornerstone of American literature as your Saul Bellows and Jack Kerouacs. We remember our Paddy Chayefsky with his Oscars and Emmys but let’s not forget our Rod Serlings and our Charles Beaumonts and our Richard Mathesons.

Richard Matheson.

Saul Bellow and Philip Roth defined our high brow New York Times literary elite, but Richard Matheson wrote for us all.

Have you watched The Twilight Zone? I dare you to differentiate between the episodes written by Rod Serling and Richard Matheson. They shared a vision like McCartney and Lennon. Indivisible.

Let’s talk about Night Stalker. Let’s talk about Roger Corman and Edgar Allen Poe.

Let’s talk about I Am Legend.

I dance around this book because it is the definitive Matheson novel. There are spoilers and we live in a spoiler-free world. But let’s stop and read it. Let’s talk about neighborhood associations.

Let’s talk about Somewhere In Time. Your Mom loves that movie. Let’s talk about What Dreams May Come. The book is so much better than the movie.

Let’s talk Duel, Steven Spielberg’s first movie.

I can talk for hours about Richard Matheson. I’m writing this in real time. I just finished watching a documentary about a band called Death and all I can think about is that Richard Matheson is dead.

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