Stephen King on Richard Matheson’s Passing

richard_mathesonWe’ve lost one of the giants of the fantasy and horror genres. From THE BEARDLESS WARRIORS, his brilliant (and largely unread) World War II novel, to THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN and all the wonderful TWILIGHT ZONE scripts and stories, Matheson fired the imaginations of three generations of writers.

Without his I AM LEGEND, there would have been no NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD; without NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, there would have been no WALKING DEAD, 28 DAYS LATER, or WORLD WAR Z. Matheson wrote the script for Steven Spielberg’s extraordinary film, DUEL, and created one of the most brain-freezingly frightening haunted house novels of the 20th century in HELL HOUSE.

He fired my imagination by placing his horrors not in European castles and Lovecraftian universes, but in American scenes I knew and could relate to. “I want to do that,” I thought. “I must do that.” Matheson showed the way.

In addition to that, he was a gentleman who was always willing to give a young writer a hand up. I will miss his kindness and erudition. He lived a full life, raised a fine family, and gave us unforgettable stories, novels, TV shows, and movies. That’s good. Nevertheless, I mourn his loss. A uniquely American voice has been silenced.

Stephen King
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5 Responses to “Stephen King on Richard Matheson’s Passing”

  1. Trish says:

    Thank you for so eloquently summing up why Richard Matheson meant so much to me. I will never forget his brilliant imagination. I saw the Incredible Shrinking Man at a very young age, and it absolutely gripped me. It was horrifying and yet the ending left me filled with hope. Beautifully written. And of course, that Twilight Zone episode with WIlliam Shatner (I’d forgotten just how good he really was!) can not be matched.

  2. This is just beautiful. Simple and honest and really lovely.

  3. A K Morgan says:

    The loss of a genius, is Richard Matheson’s passing. So sad. :-( Stephen King summed it all up in his wonderful post.

  4. Ryan Bowling (Terroronpaper88) says:

    I have never had the priveledge of reading any of Matheson’s books. But I have I will miss this great master of the written word. I have just taken out one of his earlier novels, “Hell House,” from the local library in honor of this great artist. I must say, so far, the book is fascinating.
    I will miss him.

  5. He was gong to be guest of honour at this year’s World FantasyCon in Brighton, England. A sad loss.