“Come out, Neville”
(Ben Cortman wondering why his friend doesn’t come out at night and play with all the vampires.)
I Am Legend is a book written by Richard Matheson back in 1954. I say ‘back’ as I didn’t realise at the time how old the story actually was and found it read like a modern novel.
And guess what!? This guy is still alive! Not that I wish the worst on anyone, but to be able to read a book written almost 60 years ago and know the guy who wrote it is still about just puts a smile on my face. (I imagine it puts an even bigger smile on Richard Matheson’s face)
It is only 160-ish pages which is considered short for a modern novel, but it was a great read and I burned through it inside of a day which helped me keep my reading average up for the year after Magician
I think most people are probably aware of the novel due to the 2007 movie that starred Will Smith. However, it is fair to say that movie was based only loosely on the novel as characters such as the wife and the daughter, even the dog are present but they aren’t in keeping with the novel.
There have also been a few older movies made based on this novel; The Last Man on Earth (1964) and The Omega Man (1971). The latter had a particularly strong effect on me as a child when I first saw it and I can still picture Charlton Heston in that movie barricaded inside his high-rise.
Of all three movies, it seems that the 1964 version has kept closest to the novel with a tighter storyline and characters named correctly.
The book is a wonderful insight into how a human mind thinks about survival on a daily basis when there is no-one else to talk to. There are detailed descriptions about how the plague could have spread and also some nice thought processes about why vampires are affected by the things we all know about; garlic, crosses and sunlight etc…
Ironically, for all the detailed information about vampires, it seems that this movie is considered one of the first to introduce the apocalyptic nature of horror which then seemed to drive the zombie genre.
So, it seems that zombies are that popular, even when you write a novel about vampires, they still end up winning. Not that too many people actually care who would win out of the two?!