Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Horror Classic

Richard Matheson was best known as a horror/science fiction writer, but he wrote across several genres (including romance, albeit with sci-fi elements intermixed).  An anthology of some of his most popular and best-known horror stories was published a decade ago, and, naturally, we have a book trailer.

MPL Book Trailer #171
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet:  Horror Stories by Richard Matheson

In the 2002 edition, Stephen King wrote a foreword (or preface or whatever) in which he commented on Matheson's influence upon King's own horror writing. Matheson was an enormous inspiration to King. Matheson ranks among the legendary horror authors, such as (in no particular order) H.P Lovecraft, Robert Bloch, Edgar Allan Poe, Algernon Blackwood, Manley Wade Wellman, Shirley Jackson, Fitz-James O'Brien, Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ambrose Bierce, Bram Stoker, Stephen King, Clive Barker, William Peter Blatty, Dean Koontz, Ramsey Campbell (and so on and so forth), most of whom wrote (or are writing) in other genres as well.

Matheson is a favorite of ours. Scowl-Face's first exposure to the television series The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) was an episode based upon Matheson's short story, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," which starred William Shatner as the hapless, psychologically "unbalanced" (or so we're led to believe) passenger, who is the only person aboard the airplane who can see the gremlin tampering with the engines on the wing.

Two Minutes of William Shatner in
The Twilight Zone (Episode 123, in Season Five)
(first broadcast October 11, 1963)

The costuming looks cheesy by today's standards (or even by 1963 standards, perhaps), but Matheson's TV adaptation (to which series creator Rod Serling also contributed) retained the emotionally-charged, riveting psychological tension for which Matheson remains rightly famous. Scowl-Face had nightmares after watching it when first broadcast. Shatner did a brilliant job conveying the main character's sense of helplessness, alienation, and fear.

Richard Matheson wrote many dazzling novels that defined mid-20th century science fiction, horror, and fantasy.  We have book trailers for some of his best works.

MPL Book Trailer #70
The Incredible Shrinking Man,
by Richard Matheson

MPL Book Trailer #62
I Am Legend,
by Richard Matheson

MPL Book Trailer #127
Bid Time Return (Somewhere in Time),
by Richard Matheson

Check our Evergreen Indiana online catalog for these (and other) great Richard Matheson titles.  Search the entire consortium (i.e., choose "Evergreen Indiana" from the drop-down menu under "Search Library").

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

P.S.  The Twilight Zone had two introductory musical themes for the opening credits.  The most famous (above), composed by Marius Constant, graced episodes from Seasons 2-5.  The original (below), composed by Bernard Herrmann, was used during the first season.  (Herrmann scored many Alfred Hitchcock films, including Psycho [1960]).

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