VIDEO: Richard Matheson is Legend

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Count Jackula presents highlights from the career of recently deceased sci-fi/horror writer Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend, Stir of Echoes, and screenwriter of over a dozen episodes of The Twilight Zone.

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  • Cristiona

    Wow, Count. This was really good and a fitting tribute. I love that you started with Stir of Echoes, which got so much shit for being a “rip-off” of the Sixth Sense.

    Also, it’s too bad Richard Kelly had to fuck up The Box by shoving his metaphysical bullshit into it. It was really enjoyable until (spoiler) he went off on aliens and wormholes and such.

    • Jack Shen

      Richard Kelley is one of those guys that had a great first outing (Donnie Darko) and has shit the bed ever since. He falls into a breed of director that seemed to have everything going for them, then fucked it all up by putting too much stock into what they initially brought to the table.

      M. Night Shyamalan and Zach Snyder also fall into this. Directors that almost did, but didn’t were: Christopher Nolan (though he is still in danger of it), Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, and Kathryn Bigalow. Each of whom retained what made them unique but branched of their comfort zone.

      For example, Django Unchained retains Taranitno’s style, but it’s slick glossy production, is a far cry from Pulp Fiction. Bigalow’s Zero Dark Thirty retains the silently emotionally detached characters of Near Dark, but it’s subject matter and scope are as far away as you can get.

      • Cristiona

        Heh, personally, I found Donnie Darko to be a pretentious mess, but at least it was (mostly) comprehensible. However, I think it’s telling that the Director’s Cut of it is pretty hated by a lot of fans of the movie, which tells me he may have lucked out with that film and that he’s one of those directors that need to be kept on a very short leash.

  • Thomas Stockel

    I agree with Cristiona, Count; that was a wonderful tribute. I had no idea the Matheson had such a diverse and influential career. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Jack Shen

      Without Matheson, the landscape of TV and film would be unrecognizable. It’s impossible to imagine a world without his influence.

      • danbreunig

        That’s the curse: geniuses rarely ever get their due while they’re around to see it, and what influence they leave behind is taken for granted. Strange how I learned about Ray Harryhausen’s passing more easily than Richard Matheson’s.

        I think you’re quite the pleasant paradox, Jackula: amidst all the gore, blood, psychosis and other macabre trappings of horror, you don’t fail to shine some kind of light through it all.

  • Muthsarah

    Oh Jackula, once again you’ve opened up my eyes to wonders I never knew existed. –I mean…you make me want to be a better person. –I mean…uhhh….I wish I had known all this stuff about Matheson before, at least read something by him (I’m not counting Star Trek and Twilight Zone). Cecil’s given me my weekend movies, I guess you’ve helped me pick out next week’s reading.

    P.S. You sure passed by “Real Steel” pretty quickly. Critique?

    • danbreunig

      Among all other titles mentioned, what cinched the review for me was Duel. Usually they just credit Spielberg and Weaver and no one else for that movie (even the co-star Carey Loftin gets second to last billing), so I easily forgot Matheson’s own connection to it.

    • Jack Shen

      Real Steel is a story about a robot boxer…done.

  • James Elfers


    As much as i want to praise this review i can’t. Matheson’s career was far longer than you indicated even while posting his birth and death date. I understand that color looks good but Matheson’s best work was in black and white. He wrote what were arguably the best episodes of the original Twilight Zone. It would have been nice to see a clip from at least one of those episode. While pointing out how influential “I AM Legend” is you point to George Romero, yet ignore the fact that Anne Rice STOLE every attribute of her vampires from Matheson’s book! I understand that time and the incredible length of his career means that much will, out of necessity, be left out but I thought that this tribute was far too superficial.

    Matheson was respected, admired, and emulated during his own lifetime than most authors ever are. It would have been nice to chart the depth of his cultural impact and technical virtuosity. He wrote things as diverse as “Somewhere in Time” and “What Dreams My Come’ To “The Night Stalker” and “Duel” He was far more talented than today’s one trick pony authors.

    my favorite tribute was the fact that Mulder’s government contact in the “X-Files” Was Senator Matheson!

  • Muthsarah

    Hey Jackie Boy. I saw The Conjuring earlier today. Been meaning to see a horror film for months, and I finally saw one. Totally worth it. What’s the ETA on the review? There’s gonna be a review, right? Great movie. Right? You got a lot planned, right? Right?