Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left.
I Am Legend was a major influence in horror and brought a whole new thematic concept to apocalyptic literature. Several humanistic and emotional themes in this book blend the horror genre with traditional fiction: we see Neville as an emotional person, and observe as he suffers bouts of depression, dips into alcoholism and picks up his strength again to fight the vampiric bacteria that has infected (and killed off) most of humankind. Neville soon meets a woman, Ruth, (after three years alone), who seems to be uninfected and a lone survivor. The two become close and he learns from Ruth that the infected have learned to fight the disease and can spend short amounts of time in the daylight, slowly rebuilding strength and society as it was.
The novel was adapted to film in 1964 as The Last Man on Earth, as Omega Man in 1971 and finally as I am Legend in 2007, starring Will Smith.
Praise For I Am Legend…
“One of the most important writers of the twentieth century.” —Ray Bradbury
“I think the author who influence me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson. Books like I Am Legend were an inspiration to me.” —Stephen King
“Matheson is one of the great names in American terror fiction.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Matheson inspires, it's as simple as that.” —Brian Lumley
Release Date: March 8, 1964
Release Time: 86 minutes
Vincent Price as Dr. Robert Morgan
Franca Bettoia as Ruth Collins
Emma Danieli as Virginia Morgan
Giacomo Rossi-Stuart as Ben Cortman
Umberto Raho as Dr. Mercer
Christi Courtland as Kathy Morgan
Antonio Corevi as the Governor
Ettore Ribotta as TV Reporter
Carolyn De Fonseca dubbed for Franca Bettoia's voice in English release of the film(uncredited)
Giuseppe Mattei as leader of the survivors(uncredited)
Richard Matheson is The New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend, Hell House, Somewhere in Time, The Incredible Shrinking Man, A Stir of Echoes, The Beardless Warriors, The Path, Seven Steps to Midnight, Now You See It..., and What Dreams May Come, among others. He was named a Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention, and received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has also won the Edgar, the Spur, and the Writer's Guild awards. In 2010, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. In addition to his novels Matheson wrote several screenplays for movies and TV, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," based on his short story, along with several other Twilight Zone episodes. He was born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, and fought in the infantry in World War II. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Matheson died in June, 2013, at the age of eighty-seven.
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