Friday, December 01, 2006
I am Legend
Years ago I remember enjoying a movie called The Omega Man. It starred Charleton Heston as the last normal human trying to stay alive on a world where everyone else has turned into vampires as a result of biological warfare. The movie was based on a book by Richard Matheson called I Am Legend, and I finally got around to reading that book this week, a lapse on my part since it is considered a classic in the horror genre. I have to say that I was disappointed. I didn't think it was well written at all, and for the most part it is very static. We spend most of our time inside a boarded-up house, locked into the thoughts of the main character, Robert Neville. There are very few interactions with any other characters, including the vampires, until the very end. Matheson also glosses over some scenes that could have been quite dramatic, such as when the body of Neville's dead child is stolen by vampires, and when his wife comes back after he's buried her. These powerful scenes are told only in very quick flashbacks that are over almost before they begin. I was looking forward to reading this book but I think this is one of those rare cases, for me, of a movie being better than the book it was based on.