Eighty-eight years ago yesterday, on February 20th, 1926, Richard Matheson was born. In 1950, his story, Born of Man and Woman, was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It garnered a great deal of attention and his literary career was launched. He died on June 23rd, 2013. Between those dates, he changed everything in the field of horror. (He also wrote sci-fi, fantasy, westerns and mysteries, but I think his greatest contribution was to my own beloved genre.) To read a simple but complete biography of his life, visit Bio.
If you are a casual horror / sci-fi fan, you may not realize just how influential this writer was in his lifetime. Stephen King is frequently quoted as saying “[Richard Matheson is the] author who influenced me most as a writer.” Just days after Matheson’s death, King posted a tribute, at StephenKing.com, which you can read HERE.
Right now, I want to celebrate this man’s life by getting some of his brilliance into your head. I’ve collected the most easily accessible works in the lists below. Please note that I’ve NOT seen or read everything here. Those pieces that I especially recommend are highlighted in green text. (Please also know that seeing any adaptation of I Am Legend is going to be frustrating. None of them do it justice. In the video interview at the bottom of this post, Matheson says so himself.)
It’s possible at hulu.com to stream all episodes of the original Twilight Zone series on your computer for free. This is what Matheson contributed to that series:
THE TWILIGHT ZONE:
NIGHT GALLERY (1971):
S1 E5 The Enemy Within (You must be a subscriber to watch Star Trek on hulu.)
Like so many authors of his generation, Matheson wrote for periodicals, and in his time there were many wonderful, inexpensive pulp-style magazines to host his creativity. At unz.org, you will find “A Free Website for Periodicals, Books, and Videos” where you can view PDFs of certain stories, just as they appeared when they were published.
Of course, Matheson was an author of books too … many of them horror. I believe you will (always and forever) find him on the shelves of any decent bookstore, but a lot of us have switched to e-books. Here’s what I found at Amazon:
The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickok $6.64
The Gun Fight $5.98
Legends of the Gun Years $8.89
Other Kingdoms $7.59
The Path: A New Look At Reality $7.59
Shadow on the Sun $6.83
Duel: Terror Stories by Richard Matheson $8.89
The Beardless Warriors: A Novel of World War II $7.59
Hunted Past Reason $8.89
Steel: And Other Stories $6.95
A Stir of Echoes $8.89
What Dreams May Come: A Novel $8.89
Hell House $8.89
The Box: Uncanny Stories $6.83
Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories By Richard Matheson $8.89
Somewhere In Time $5.98
I Am Legend (RosettaBooks into Film) $6.09
… but as for that last one, if you are a horror fan, you should own the most beautiful copy of the bound book you can afford. It IS canon.
When it comes to the movie adaptations of Matheson’s work, I’ve gathered a few resources for you. I’ve provided the IMDb listing for all of them, and the Netflix listing where I could. Any movie that is available on streaming is generally available on disc too. If I did not provide a Netflix link, that means it’s not available NOW, but many are expected to become available eventually.
Burn, Witch, Burn (1962) IMDb
The Last Man on Earth (1964) IMDb
Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) IMDb
The Devil Rides Out (1968) IMDb
Cold Sweat (1970) IMDb
The Night Stalker aka The Kolchak Papers (1972) IMDb
The Night Strangler (1973) IMDb
Kolchak: The Night Stalker Series: Series on Netflix Streaming
Dying Room Only (1973) IMDb
Scream of the Wolf (1974) IMDb
The Incredible Shrinking Woman (comedy, 1981) IMDb
Video is also accessible in the Body Preservation section of The Paranormalist.
When I went to the zombie crawl on Saturday, I did more enjoying than documenting. There was a great deal of distracting fun to be had while wandering the streets with a bunch of good-natured zombies, and I didn’t take as many photographs of the event as I should have.
It was a cool night after a forbiddingly drizzly day, and I don’t think the turn-out was as big this year as last. There was no Thriller street dance, sadly.
As usual, the making up of people, which happened earlier in the day, was the best part for me … And that’s when most of my pictures were taken.
Scroll down to see the final versions, out and about in the night.
Zombie #1 requested bloody and gross. We mixed up a bowl of corn flour and water – then daubed on some blood and fresh scab to simulate brain matter. Turned out pretty good I think. The best part of this makeup, for me, came after he complained about a piece of it falling into his shirt and getting caught in his chest hair.
ME: You have chest hair? Let me see.
ZOMBIE #1: (opens several buttons)
ME: (squeals) Oooh! Lots of chest hair! Can we smoosh brain matter on your chest? We’ll spray it in with hairspray.
ZOMBIE #1: Yeah! That’s a great idea!
He thought the repeated hairspray applications were really cold. Later, he may have regretted his consent, because he had to pull his shirt away from the sticky mess that coated his chest several times. I think he lost some chest hair. But it looked great.
Zombie #2 said she’d be happy with a less disgusting look. Her road rash cheek, bleeding ear and broken nose turned out fine, but there was something missing. She decided to mess up her hair (a lot) which helped. When I suggested she gather a handful of leaves and dead grass and spray that into her rats-nested hair, the makeup really came together.
Zombies #3 & #4: (fewer photos were taken with these two makeups)
Zombie #3 wanted to be an Amish zombie with no blood. Had he been open to it, I would have done a simple throat slit, just to give a pop of color to the overall look. Working with his bone structure was an absolute joy – he’s made to have shadows and hollows emphasized. I asked zombie #2 to do the right side of his face while I started on zombie #4.
Zombie #4 was open to anything. I did her up last year with lots of peeling face gashes.
I wanted to do something different this year. We gave her a simple bleeding head wound at the part of her hair, a bitten cheek, and tears of blood. You’ll notice all the blood on her is directional – no splattering, but rather dripping.
I sort of became fascinated with her eyes, as you’ll see in the following pictures. Hers was a subtle makeup, and I’m not sure that she wouldn’t have been happier with something more visceral. But I loved it.
Out with the zombies:
We didn’t see as many fantastic make-ups this year as we did last year. Of course, I was also more engaged in the party atmosphere this year too – I may have been too busy playing with my friends to notice. I did chase down a couple of great faces, though: a guy with missing eyes who had done a nice job of blending the appliance, and a fabulous burn victim.
To see some more good costumes and makeups, check out last year’s post: Anoka MN’s 1st Annual Walking Dead Pub Crawl.
On Thursday, I’ll be sharing some links to good makeups I’ve seen around the web, and I plan to post a video of me doing a zombie makeup on myself, so check back if you’re looking for some tips and tricks.