The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London Presents: The Legacy of Richard Matheson’s ‘I Am Legend’ at The Horse Hospital March 15th!
The Miskatonic Institute of London celebrates the classic vampire novel I Am Legend, honoured for its masterful merging of horror and science fiction and influencer for George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, with instructor and author Stacey Abbott. Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend (1954) is a recognized classic of science fiction and horror. It has been adapted many times in films such as The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), and I Am Legend (2007). In 1958, Matheson wrote a script adapting the novel for Hammer Studios, but it was never filmed. The script was rejected by both the MPAA and the BBFC. In 1968, George Romero directed Night of the Living Dead, a film he admitted was inspired by Matheson’s novel, and this was the film that Matheson felt was most faithful to the themes of his book.
Through an analysis of a selection of official and unofficial adaptations of the novel, including Matheson’s own script, this lecture by Stacey Abbott considers how this text marks a key transformative moment within the evolution of the horror genre on film. It will consider how the novel reimagined the vampire film through the lens of science fiction and how Matheson’s adaptation for Hammer offered a new, more brutal and modern approach to horror than the studio’s Gothic adaptations of The Cure of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). Abbott will discuss how the script confounded the censors in its approach to horror, signaling a cultural resistance to the modernization of the genre and a growing tension between filmmakers and arbiters of cinematic taste. Finally, in this lecture Abbott will demonstrate not only how I Am Legend influenced Romero’s work, representing a key bridge between classic and new horror, but also continues to influence twenty-first century filmmakers, particularly in the development of the vampire and zombie genres.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London – The Legacy of Richard Matheson’s ‘I Am Legend’
Date: March 15th 2018
Venue: The Horse Hospital
Address: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD
Prices: £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concs (students/seniors with ID)
About the Instructor: Stacey Abbott is Reader in Film and Television Studies at the University of Roehampton. She is the author of Celluloid Vampires (2007), Undead Apocalypse: Vampires and Zombies in the 21st Century (2016), and co-author, with Lorna Jowett, of TV Horror: The Dark Side of the Small Screen (2012).
About the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies: Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international organization that offers university-level history, theory and production-based masterclasses for people of all ages, founded by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse in March 2010, with regular branches in London and New York as well as presenting special events worldwide. The UK branch is co-run by Janisse and Josh Saco, of Cigarette Burns Cinema.