I picked up “He is Legend” [Click HERE for Kindle Version] because I’ve always been a great admirer of Richard Matheson mainly through his film and television scripts and adaptations, some of the more famous being “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” (Twilight Zone) and “The Incredible Shrinking Man”. As well, the most interesting being his story “I Am Legend” from which the Vincent Price film “Last Man on Earth” was filmed from (and of course more recently, “I Am Legend” the film with star Will Smith).
Anyway, this book is a different take on Matheson’s story – all these authors base their stories on a Richard Matheson story, either writing a sequel or adding more info to the tale.
Some of these work and some don’t!
I won’t bore the reader with every single synopsis of each story. There are 15 stories here from various authors, notably Richard’s son, and a collaboration with Stephen King and his son, Joe Hill, a pretty amazing horror writer in his own right.
Most of these stories are written from Matheson stories from the 1950s and 1960s, adapted for modern audiences. I was most impressed with only a few:
“Return to Hell House” is the most graphic, with harsh language and some fairly obscene sex scenes. This is a “prequel” to Matheson’s story where a group of psychics and scientists stay at this house and a malevolent spirit clearly shows them the way to hell. As I say, graphic writing that will literally haunt your thoughts!
“Throttle” is a take on Matheson’s story “Duel” (you may have seen the film version with Dennis Hopper – first film directed by Stephen Spielberg!) about a truck driver with a murderous thirst for killing people on the road. A father and son are the head of a bike gang and we find out all kinds of things about them – and as they head to Vegas, a trucker starts bumping off the bikers – and the driver’s identity is quite a shock! Stephen King and Joe Hill do a great job here in building suspense and tension.
“The Diary of Louise Carrey” by Thomas F. Monteleone is the story of “The Incredible Shrinking Man” from the view of the wife of the shrinking man! From reading the original story and seeing the 1950s film, I can see where she is coming from. A distasteful sex scene is the only thing I didn’t like about this story, but it certainly paints the wife as an unsympathetic loser.
Bottom Line: Most of the stories are a fair read, but the three above really hit me one way or the other, thanks to the quick pacing of plot and the great homage to writer Richard Matheson. But please, read the originals first. You’ll enjoy these adaptations more if you do.