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Season 3 Episode 1 - Richard Matheson

Outro S3 E2

Hello my survivor friends. Welcome back to season 3 of after the apocalypse. Did you enjoy your vacations? Did you miss me?

Have seen the new subscription option on Acast plus?

You can pay me a pittance to get the shows early and/or ad-free now.

This is new, so go take advantage of it. This is a great way to get something you want and help me directly. The ads alone don’t cover my cost. So if you want to help, this is how.

But the show continues to grow. We’ve got over 200 members in our Facebook group now. We’ve got a consistent 20k downloads a month. So I’m not complaining. It’s been a great summer.

I did manage to get 2 episodes of the Alien schizoid series out which was my fun noir series. I think it will take 2 more episodes to finish that. I’ll work to squeeze it in.

I’ve got a great season of shows lined up for you, starting with this one!

So let’s gird our loins and venture out into the dark apocalyptic landscape of season 3 together.

To take you out I want to talk about the amazing Richard Matheson.

In praise of Richard Matheson

The famous author you’ve never heard of

We all know Stephen King but who among us knows Richard Matheson?

With the potential release of the I Am Legend 2 later this year, let’s take this opportunity to give Richard Matheson his due!

Richard Burton Matheson was born in 1926, died in 2013 and wrote many speculative horror stories and novels. Some you know, like I Am Legend, but there are many others that you will know that you never realized were his.

He published I AM Legend in 1954. Most of you will be familiar with the Will Smith version of this novel from 2007. That movie is the third time this novel has been made into a movie.

The first time was in 1964 in a movie starring Vincent Price called “The Last Man on Earth”. The second was “The Omega Man” starring Charlton Heston.

I have seen all these movies.

But, surprisingly for me, I had never read the original book. To rectify that sin I bought it off Thriftbooks and read it this summer. A black mark expunged from my record.

How are the 3 movies compared to the book?

After reading it I can see why they wanted to make this into a movie. It’s got a good story. But, the challenge is that much of the action happens inside the protagonist’s head – which is hard to capture on film.

In the book the main character, Robert Nevill, isn’t a classic science fiction hero. He is not confident, brave and in control. He’s a depressed, lonely, horny, semi-alcoholic who must get up each day and figure out how to survive the vampire apocalypse.

That’s right the book is a classic vampire apocalypse. You can see the influence of the original Dracula films and their tropes. The book goes into a lot of machinations to explain how vampirism is actually an airborne bacterium.

The Vampires aren’t smart, and they stumble around at night banging on the outside of his house with rocks and sticks.

Interestingly George A. Romero said that these slow vampires from the first movie inspired his zombies in the original Night of the Living Dead.

After reading the book I re-watched the Vincent Price movie. It’s available on YouTube.

Honestly, it’s a bad movie. The camera work is incredibly boring. Like a 1960’s television studio set piece. But, of the 3,te first does hew the closest to the original novel.Matheson himself worked on this movie.

Enough about I am Legend. Richard Matheson contributed so much more than I Am Legend.

When I bought my copy of I Am Legend to read this summer it came as part of a collection of 11 stories. I was delighted to read these stories. Matheson is such a wonderful writer. He’s got this great literaray depth combined with the practicality of the working writer.

He wrote dozens of stories that blended speculative fiction with fantasy with horror. As I was reading these I thought to myself “Hey, this sounds like Ray Bradbury”. On further research it turns out Richard was in the same writing group as Bradbury. So that makes sense.

The other thing that struck me was that the stories were all very familiar. Like I had read or seen them before.

One of them “Prey” about an African doll that comes to life to hunt a woman around her apartment I knew I had seen on TV. It turns out I had in “Trilogy of Terror” from 1975.

There was another one I quite enjoyed called “Mad House” which was ostensibly about an evil house but was also about writer’s block.

What else has Matheson written that you’d recognize?

How about that episode of the Twilight Zone with William Shatner and the Gremlin on the wing? Yup, that’s from a Matheson story "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet". (Not only did he write many Twilight Zone episodes but he also wrote Rod Serling’s opening and closing monologues for those stories too).

Has anyone seen Steven Spielberg’s second feature length film from 1971 called “Duel” where Dennis Weaver is chased by a murderous tractor trailer? That’s a Matheson story and a Matheson screen play.

How about that cheesy movie “Real Steel” with Hugh Jackman in it? A remake and originally a Matheson story.

Another one you probably remember is a story called “The Box”. In this story a poor couple is given an empty box with a button on top. They are told that if they push the button, someone they don’t know will die, but they will get $250K? Setting up a great morality tale. What would you do? That’s a Matheson story called “Button, Button” that was made a couple times in Hollywood.

And finally, remember that Star Trek episode where the transporter malfunctions and creates an evil Captain Kirk? That’s right! Richard Matheson.

The guy was not only a great writer he was super prolific as a writer and screen writer throughout the 60’s and 70’s.

Now that you know a little bit about the large contribution that Richard Matheson has made to our shared universe of speculative fiction - I think we can all take a moment and give homage… to the late great …Richard Matheson.

And - I bet Richard would have written a great episode of After the Apocalypse. Would probably have vampires in it!

Thank you for sticking with us during our summer vacation.

Let’s have fun for season 3!

Like I said in the intro – I set up 3 options for you on AcastPlus – First is early access, with this option you get the shows a week before the general public.

Second is Early access AND Ad-free – so you get them early and without the Acast ads

Finally is Early, ad-free AND extra content – where I will drop the additional shows and interviews and other stuff I’ve been working on.

That’s my ask for the week,

Otherwise you’ll still get the shows as you normally would when they drop for public consumption with ads in them.

Now, let’s all hold hands, close our eyes and take a giant step with me into the adventures that await in season 3 of after the apocalypse as we, you and I, keep surviving…

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