Archive for February, 2010

I’m back, baby!

Posted in Words with tags , , , , on February 13, 2010 by bradellison

So, within 48 hours of my last post, I got engaged, and I’ve been kind of busy ever since.  With, you know, fiancee stuff.

And I’m probably going to talk about that some in the future, in addition to catching up on all kinds of ranting on subjects ranging from whether Pat Robertson needs to shut his heretical, money-grubbing hate-spewing yapper (spoiler alert: yes he does) to whether The Wolf Man sucks (I’ll find out when my fiancee and I see it tomorrow) to who the best onscreen Philip Marlowe was (I need to rewatch Robert Mitchum’s Marlowe films to be sure, but right now my money’s actually on dark-horse candidate Elliott Gould from Altman’s The Long Goodbye).  Also, there’ll be more Brad Reads the Gospels, probably some stuff on the Book of Daniel, and even more Nerd Testament (because I really, really want to talk about the movie Ink from a Christian perspective).

First, though, I want to talk about Richard Matheson.

See, here’s the thing about Richard Matheson.  He’s a long way from being a household name.  Like, walk up to five random people off the street and ask them, odds are good you’ll get five people who don’t think they’ve heard of him.  I have tried this experiment in the past.  The score was different with my Facebook friends, but people I hang out with in not a representative sampling of the population, because I roll in serious nerd circles.  Five men on the street, they won’t know Richard Matheson from Adam.


I can virtually guarantee that all five of them will be familiar with Matheson’s work.

What Dreams May Come.  Somewhere In Time.  The Incredible Shrinking Man.  The Last Man On Earth.  The Omega Man.  I Am Legend.  Stir Of Echoes. “The Zuni Fetish Doll.”  The Legend Of Hell House.  “Dance Of the Dead.”  Even Jaws 3-D.  All films adapted from Matheson’s work.

The Duel (which was Spielberg’s first movie).  The Devil Rides Out.  The Night Stalker and its sequel The Night Strangler The Martian Chronicles.  The 1973 TV version of Dracula.  The Raven.  The Pit and the Pendulum. All movies or TV programs he wrote.

If you watch movies at all, and I mean at all, odds are good you’ve seen at least one of those.  If you watch horror movies, you’ve probably seen several.

Like Star Trek?  He wrote “The Enemy Within” for the original series.

And then there’s The Twilight Zone.  Dude wrote sixteen episodes of the original series.  Sixteen of the best episodes.  “There’s a gremlin on the wing of the plane!”, that was Matheson.

And then there’s the knock-offs and parodies.  Ever see a Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons?  Chances are, you saw a Matheson parody.

And that doesn’t even touch the entire generation of genre writers he heavily influenced.  Most notably, Stephen King, who you may have heard of.  Except that Matheson (and I’m actually fairly sure Mr. King would agree with me here) is by far the better writer of the two.

So basically, Richard Matheson is one of the best and probably the most influential horror writer of the 20th century, and he deserves wider recognition.