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:
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:
… 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.
The polar vortices, repeatedly roaring down from the arctic, seem to be keeping us huddled under blankets on our sofas. Here at The Paranormalist, there’s been an uptick of hits on posts offering entertainment ideas for paranormal-type folks who can’t get outside to cryptid-hunt, UFO-watch, or graveyard-prowl.
Nearly every haunted house movie begins the same way – a middle-class family invests every penny they have in an old fixer-upper. There is a married couple, a child (or children,) a cat and/or a dog. There is often (though not always) something a little dysfunctional or unusual about the family. Communication is these families is usually spotty at best. The husband and wife don’t confide in each other. The parents ignore unusual behavior by the kids or the animals, and don’t give credence to anything odd the kids say. The family is full of hope. It’s a brand-new, high-stakes, fresh-start for everyone.
Then bad things start to happen.
Ogre and I just got back from seeing The Conjuring. It’s a great movie in many ways, destined to become a horror classic.
I could not help but ask myself the same question I always do when I see another haunted house movie:
When, exactly, would I pack up my shit and get the hell out?
When you’ve see The Conjuring (and I recommend you do if you haven’t) PLEASE come here and tell me when YOU would flee. (Or, at the very least, seek out professional help.)
WARNING: If you click the following (READ THE REST OF THIS PAGE) link, you will see a detailed list of scary events that happen to the Perron family, leading up to the moment when they contact the Warrens.