R.I.P. Richard Matheson: Why Film Adaptations of His Work Have Been So Terrible

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Legendary science fiction author and screenwriter Richard Matheson, who unfortunately passed away a little over a month ago, has had his work adapted into a plethora of movies—I Am LegendThe BoxThe Shrinking ManWhat Dreams Will Come, etc.—which, unfortunately, haven’t all fared so well.

Simultaneously a heartfelt tribute to an influential author and a critical analysis of film adaptation, Kenneth Gagnon’s essay at The Millions explores some of the reasons why this might be so.

Gagnon weighs the differences between short fiction and film as artistic media that might cause difficulties in translation between the two. He also defends the tactic of getting people in touch with a famous author by referencing the film adaptations of their work—something people hopefully aren’t doing with Baz Luhrmann movies.


Paolo Yumol is an intern at The Rumpus. He attends Oberlin College and is very grateful to be doing any of this. More from this author →