Richard Matheson wrote the apocalyptic novel, I Am Legend, in 1954. It is the story of the last man alive in a world overrun by a changed, bestial version of humanity. It is partly a vampire story. It is partly a zombie story. It is one of the definitive end of the world stories. I cannot help but hear Michael Stipe‘s rapid-fire mumble in the background as I read it. The novel has been adapted into film three times: Vincent Price starred in The Last Man on Earth in 1964. Charlton Heston starred in The Omega Man in 1971. Will Smith stars in the recently released film by the same name, I Am Legend. While I have only ever seen The Omega Man, I understand each of these film adaptations differ from the original novel in varying ways. I like a good vampire story; I like good zombie stories too. And you just can’t go wrong with positing the end of the world in gruesome ways.
So while the wintertime temperature plummets in Chicago, I think I’m going to curl up with a good book, maybe light a fire and see how Robert Neville gets through the original version of this story. If he does.