Prolific fantasy/horror/science fiction author Richard Matheson passed away last week at the age of 87. He was one of those foundational genre authors who came of professional age during the great age of the pulps and learned to write across a great slew of styles. Matheson made his bones with frequently filmed and ripped-off 1950s novels like The Shrinking Man and I Am Legend that reimagined suburban life as a place of potential horror; adaptations of his work over the years ranged from Twilight Zone to Stephen Spielberg’s debut film, Duel.
Here’s Matheson on how he came up with the idea for I Am Legend while watching the 1931 film of Dracula:
My mind drifted off, and I thought, ‘If one vampire is scary, what if the whole world is full of vampires?
Not bad as premises go. What’s more incredible is the book itself.