Richard Matheson wasn’t mad when George Romero took him out to lunch after the release of 1968′s Night of the Living Dead and told the author he had straight-up stole his story, I Am Legend, for the plot of his zombie classic. Mr. Matheson, born and raised in Brooklyn (he graduated Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943), passed away at age 87 on Sunday; a science fiction writer who was most famous for his 1956 book The Shrinking Man despite a prolific sci-fi, horror and fantasy career. In addition to I Am Legend, he wrote the novel What Dreams May Come, co-wrote the screenplay for Stephen King’s first cinematic foray, Duel (Matheson was tapped by Spielberg himself), and is responsible for the famous William Shatner Twilight Zone episode, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”
According to a 2007 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mr. Matheson recalled the incident with Romero no hard feelings:
Like our esteemed colleague, we were completely freaked out by I Am Legend. While it wasn’t really a good movie, it’s realistically unrealistic version of post-apocalyptic Manhattan–Stray lions! Six dollar-per-gallon gas prices! CGI vampires!–scared the bejesus out of us. Seriously, we still have the occasional nightmare revolving around the "last man on earth" scenario. Read More
We learned a long time ago to always, always take Will Smith seriously. The man can do anything – fight aliens or zombies, be Ali, love German shepherds, etc. Mr. Smith is on a winning streak: last year I Am Legend made a truckload of money. Ditto last summer’s Hancock (which we maintain Read More
Uh oh. Last December we wrote about how much I am Legend freaked us out (seriously, we think the workout our heart got during the film qualifies as aerobic activity). The movie, based on the 1954 Richard Matheson book and starring Will Smith, laid out a vision of New York City almost completely wiped Read More
So no action movie is ever going to take science seriously in its plotting. But I Am Legend, this weekend’s top Manhattan movie, sparks some interesting ethical and scientific research issues.
Popular Mechanics decided to take on Will Smith head on: "Between a highly regimented schedule hunting deer in Times Square with Read More
The lethal combination of Will Smith in the tentpole apocalypse-drama I Am Legend (No. 1), the nasty weather enveloping the Northeast, and nothing good happening on TV (which translates to nothing good saved for weekend DVR watching) created one of the healthiest weekends for Hollywood in some time. In Manhattan, who didn’t go to the Read More
Rumors suggesting that Will Smith is a Scientologist have been swirling and growing as he is seen in public more and more with Tom Cruise, a well-known member of the organization. There was even an item about it on Page Six today. But now, the likelihood that the I Am Legend star Read More
About 10 minutes into the new Will Smith movie I Am Legend, which opens in Manhattan theaters on Friday, my heart rate went up to about 200 and stayed there for the next hour and a half.
Staggering back out into Times Square’s holiday crush from the screening room it seemed we’d just been through Read More
We all know how powerful China is becoming, but powerful enough to deflate the ego of one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men? This morning brought the news that China has yet to green-light Will Smith’s latest blockbusting effort, I Am Legend, which opens here on December 14. The apparent snub comes loosely Read More