I am Legend

Eh? This book by Richard Matheson

I was watching Icons on G4, and George Romero said that he wanted to make that story into a movie, but he couldn’t get the rights, so he made some changes and made Night of The Living Dead.

Stephen King seems to put him in league with Lovecraft, and Stephen King has probably read, well, at least, like, almost every Stephen King book known to man.

So I liked it. Now I know who is to blame for the specific subject matter of over ninety-percent of my nightmares. Thanks, Dick. It’s got some fantastic gallows humor at points, and it really takes abject terror and isolation when it demonstrates the warping effect that it can on a person’s outlook and personality over a long period of time. I really just like the brutality.

Anyone else have an opinion on this book? I would say, in one story, the man had as much impact as Lovecraft’s entire mythos, at least with regards to pop culture. Not because Lovecraft is a hack, but because it seems more human threats resonate more with us than alien wonders. Monsters from space can eat us last, but only something that is vaguely human can exploit our weaknesses and turn our strengths into liability.

Needless to say, the companion piece of literature is, no doubt, this.

Also, Hellboy sucks because it uses August Derleth’s Christulhu mythos that defeats the entire purpose of being afraid of the dark. That was uncalled for, I know. I shouldn’t criticize a fellow Wisconsinite in the month of Packer Season outside of the ceremony of the Cheddar Brats.

Isn’t that’ the book on which The Omega Man is based?

Yup. And a better version called “Last Man on Earth” starring Vincent Price.

Actually, he was. It’s very hard for me to read his books now because they feel so cliched and trite and obvious. Granted, back then I’m sure they were awesome and avant garde, but so was The Day After in the 80s, and holy shit is that movie bad.

I think a lot of people go through a Lovecraft phase the way others go through an RA Salvatore phase. It’s all fun and games until you’re not 15 years old anymore.

Tell me about it. Aside from a few true classics, like In the Mountains of Madness and Call of Cthulhu, among others (can’t remember the title of the one where the guy is rising up, interrupts a party and finds out he’s the living dead), I can describe every single Lovecraft story thusly:

Weird shit happens to me/someone I know.
I find out that I’m connected to the weird shit/find out about the weird shit.
And the thing that makes the weird shit truly horrifying is… because IT’S REAL/TRUE!!!

I enjoy Lovecraft’s settings. The musings can be a bit over the top, but he can describe the hell out of a basement. I think it is fair to say that a lot of movie monsters we have today owe a lot to Lovecraft. Apart from the descriptions of the immediate surroundings, he does a pretty good backstory, and can toss off a passing reference to something he made up like it was his job. If he is not to be valued for the books he himself wrote, he should at least be valued for the books he made up.

Yes, his stories were a bit formulaic, and that is hack and slash clue numero uno. However, he really does well creating a scary scenario and not letting the characters call upon their daddy for help. Sort of an atheist that acknowledges forces beyond his comprehension or control. That alone is worth a couple go’s.

I agree about the background. And don’t get me wrong, I own quite a bit of Lovecraft. But it just gets old after a while of the same stuff.

But, yeah, the great stuff that sprang from his books makes him awesome beyond belief. He laid a baseline with his pulp stories, and inspired thousands.

I Am Legend casts a long shadow. It cries out for a more faithful adaptation than has been received so far.

It was also a great demonstration of a novel needing to be no longer than it actually needed to be. Each time I remember its length, I wish that Stephen King’s editors had spent more time beating him with the hardcover. Or rather, a stack of ten of its hardcovers bound together, to equal half the length of the manuscripts they’d be beating him about, if you follow.

I’m pretty sure that Matheson also penned one of my favorite short stories as a kid, “Where There’s a Will,” which consisted entirely of a fellow waking up buried in a coffin, and using a combination of lighter, pocketknife, and sheer cussed orneriness to claw his way up out of it. Technically there was a twist ending, but I’m pretty sure everyone who isn’t actually reading about it at age ten can guess it.

I actually read it, because King recommended it.
In Danse Macabre (which is a great short - for King - nonfiction book about all things horror) there’s an apendix with the 100 most important horror books (according to King).
I started at the beginning and read them all at age 15. Think what you will about Stephen King, but that list is pretty good and will introduce a young reader to a lot of lesser known horror classics.

Have any of you guys read Conan? Turns out Howard was a pen-pal of Lovecraft, and there’s plenty of Cthulu mythos type stuff in those books. If you haven’t checked out the new “definitive” editions that are out I highly recommend them.

On the flipside some of my favorite Lovecraft stuff is the Randolph Carter stories, which have a bit of the old Barbarian flavor…

There was talk of an “I am Legend” film starring Schwarzenegger. I think, thankfully, it’s been canned. There does appear to be a film adaption still anounced but no one attached to it yet.

It’s a great story, Matheson has done a lot of work that has had some influence or been adapted.

Grew up on it religiously, read all of the Howard stuff and then most if not all of the Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp stuff, and even one or two of the Jordan ones. As a 12 year old I thought it was the greatest shit ever. When I went back to reread it, it actually made me want to read Salvatore instead – and I hate Salvatore.

I have a copy of the Hyborian Reader and it’s obvious now why so much of it was bad – a lot of the “Conan” stories were actually other stories that he wrote with different main characters that he then went back and renamed Conan (no shit).

But yeah, there’s a strong Lovecraftian influence, particularly with his handling of local demonic entities and reptilian type creatures that feast on humans, etc. etc.

Isn’t busting on Lovecraft for being cliched and formulaic kinda like saying Doom wasn’t all that great because it was just another first-person shooter, and not all that good to boot?

Isaac Newton wasn’t all that smart - pfft, who DOESN’T know about gravity?

His stuff is important historically and very influential, but by today’s standards it doesn’t hold up. Using the Doom analogy, does anyone prefer to play Wolf3D over [insert modern shooter here]?

Anyone here really jonesing to play MS Flight Simulator 1.0 instead of [insert modern simulator here]?

I guess Carter and De Camp actually bastardized some of the Howard stuff as well to make it fit with their “vision”.

Most of the stuff I’ve read in these editions is frickin’ awesome.

Does too! I didn’t read the Conan stories until a few years ago, and I loved them. Those were selections of classic stories, though; no doubt a lot of crap was published under the Conan “brand”.

He was talking about Lovecraft, not Conan.

The latest rumor after Arnold dropped out was Will Smith playing the lead. I’m not sure what happened after that.

For some reason I always imagined the main character played by Guy Pearce. But I’m guessing it’ll be Tom Cruise or Russell Crowe.

It was quite a while since I read “I am legend”, and while I liked it other posters here seems to have taken it much more to heart. Perhaps if it had made a greater impact I would have felt different but as it stands I think Arnold would have been perfect for the role, if the director could have reined the crappy humor he gravitated towards in his later movies. Arnold, like Heston who played the lead in earlier adaptation “the Omega Man”, has a loony rictus smile and a heroic physionomy, he is larger than life and when properly curbed manages to be more physically intimidating than all the other action stars I can think of, his age would also be appropriate. Arnold, once again like Heston, is when he is at his best almost epic, and I would have loved to see him in “I am Legend” provided was properly controlled by the director.

I think Walken or perhaps Ed Harris would be appropriate for the role.