Rest In Peace Richard Matheson (1926-2013)


This was originally going to be a post about the premiere of Under The Dome, the CBS mini series based on the Stephen King mega novel of the same name. There were to be previews, some pics, a synopsis of what I was looking for from the series. Then I saw the news, the devastating news I should say, that Richard Matheson had passed a way.

Matheson, if you are not familiar with his work (and for shame) is one of the most influential horror/thriller writers of all time. He's responsible for everything from the Twilight Zone Classic "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" to the Spielberg classic Duel and the original I am Legend. Matheson was one of the most prolific, most inventive writers in horror literature/cinema history.

I vividly remember the first time I was ever moved by one of Mathesons works. I was a freshman at college and pretty much a Tolkien nerd. I took a literature class taught by a man who had studied astrophysics under Einstein. He was elderly, soft spoken, and extremely intelligent. We reached a part of the semester where we would read a book and watch a the film based on the work. Right up my alley. We waded through things like Dances With Wolves and Goodfellas all fine films and books (although Wolves was way too long). Next up was Somewhere In Time. A film starring Christopher Reeve and Dr. Quinn Medicine woman herself, Jane Seymour. I hate Dr. Quinn and by proxy Seymour. I didn't even read the book. It sat there as I waited to sleep through movie day.

I remember every frame of that film from that day. Reeves wonderful performance, Seymour as his ingenue from a time past. The films ups an downs had me at every turn. Then there as the ending. If you've seen the film, then you know exactly what I'm talking about (that damn coin!). The ending left a lump in my throat - still does to a certain extent. We were instructed to turn in or books after class that day. Needless to say I did not. I quickly stuffed the book into my bag and snuck out the door.



Back in my dorm room, I did nothing but read that book for the next 6 hours (it's not really long), hoping that the book was as good as the film. Not only was it as good, it was markedly better. Upon finishing the book I immediately headed over to the library and started devouring anything they had that was Matheson. Luckily, the York College library was fully stocked with his books. That was my Matheson "spring awakening."

Today, Matheson passed away. A long fulfilling life of 87 years. He has inspired countless writers and film makers such as yours truly and a young man named Stephen King. King has called Matheson one of his "greatest influences, maybe even the greatest." Using what was going to be a jump off article about Under The Dome - a very Matheson-esque King story if there ever was one, as a tribute to the man instead is seemingly very apropos. So I just want to say thank you Richard Matheson, thank you from all of us. All of us who dream of Gremlins on the wing, all of us who fear the zombie apocalypse, all of us who sat through Jaws 3-D (didn't think I would forget that one did you?). Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for everything. Rest in peace and godspeed.

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