Richard Matheson is one of my favorite horror authors and maybe even writers of all time because he writes in a modern, straightforward sort of way. What I mean by that is that there are no frills about his style necessarily–he is just a fantastic writer with an equitable style (he is crazy approachable for everybody). As such, I cannot hide my bias. Matheson is an excellent author, and I am hoping to impart that fact over the course of this post. So, let us take a look!
Born in Allendale, New Jersey on Feb. 20, 1926, Matheson loved the film Dracula and the writings of history author Kenneth Roberts. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School and went on to serve in the US Army during WWII before entering The Missouri School of Journalism.
Matheson’s career is a long one (at least he wrote a lot material) and features numerous books (e.g. The Beardless Warriors, The Incredible Shrinking Man, A Stir of Echoes, and What Dreams May Come), short stories (e.g. “Third from the Sun,” “Little Girl Lost,” “The Conqueror,” and “Steel”), and movies (e.g. Tales of Terror, and The Legend of Hell House), so his work is worth investigating.
Most notably, Matheson wrote 14 episodes of The Twilight Zone, apparently also writing Rod Serling’s introduction and concluding statement of each episode. I think most importantly, for me, is that he wrote the two Kolchak: The Night Stalker movies, which are near and dear to my heart for purely nostalgic purposes (okay, okay, okay, I love Darren McGavin and the charming special effects).
With all of that said, I find it amazing that he was able to jump from style to style and still write classic and imaginative pieces of art. I haven’t read all of his work, but each time I pick up something new—I’m never sorry that I did.
Matheson died at the age of 87 on June 23, 2013.
- I Am Legend (1954)
- The Shrinking Man (1956)
- A Stir of Echoes (1958)
- What Dream May Come (1978)