Thursday, October 28, 2010

Online Artifact

One Man Against Insuperable Odds
“I don't know why Hollywood keeps coming back to the book just to not do it the way I wrote it. The book should have been filmed as is at the time it came out. It's too late now” (Scoleri). When asked about his thoughts on “Hollywood’s continued fascination” (Scoleri), with his novel from John David Scoleri, chief operator of the unofficial I Am Legend Archive website, Richard Matheson responded with this revealing statement. Throughout the interview, Matheson dispels rumors that his novel is more than an entertaining read, and criticizes how his novel has been adapted by various filmmakers. He does not hesitate to voice his disappointment with the outcome of these adaptations. In fact, Richard Matheson proves to be much like his character in I am Legend by remaining true to his 1952 novel in spite of the powerful trends of today’s multi-million dollar film industry. Matheson continues his writing theme of “one man against insuperable odds” (Scoleri) in his personal life as he rejects the interpretations and adaptations of I Am Legend by critics and filmmakers intent on making its message reflect their own agenda.
Throughout the interview, Scoleri tries to unearth Matheson’s hidden agenda behind I Am Legend. Unfortunately for Scoleri, Matheson has a more simplistic view on his novel than, in my opinion, Scoleri thought. I believe that Matheson wrote the novel because he thought it would be an enjoyable novel that portrays what could happen to civilization if we were to keep experimenting with different viruses. Scoleri is looking for more from him, saying “Critics performing analysis of I Am Legend often say it is a metaphor for the spread of communism, especially since it was written during the height of the cold war” (Scoleri). It’s clear from the conversation that Matheson really did not intend to reflect a real world situation in his novel, he just wanted to write a novel that people would enjoy. The fact that Matheson rejects the idea that his novel is about more than just sci-fi entertainment shows that he dislikes being grouped together with other novels that try to send a message about the current social climate through their works. It appears that Matheson is much like Neville, in that he stands out from the majority of classic popular authors as an author writing for entertainment, rather than writing to send a political or social message. I think that if you read too much into this novel, such as trying to attach references to past political situations of the time, that the reader may misconstrue what the story means. Matheson simply wishes for the reader to be entertained from his novel. Matheson wants his story to hold on to its entertainment value, rather than be replaced by one in which the reader is searching for clues to tie into real life events.
Matheson is again displeased when the discussion turns to his thoughts on what Hollywood has done with his novel. Film and novels rarely mesh together in a way that pleases the reader and Matheson proves this to be true as he criticizes the film adaptations of his novel. Scoleri asks Matheson questions about the film adaptations of I Am Legend and what he thinks of the scripts written for these films. From Matheson’s answers it is pretty obvious that he is not happy with any interpretation so far. Matheson is steady in his insistence that his novel is the one and only true version of I Am Legend. I think he is very displeased with what Hollywood has done to his masterpiece and he believes that no one, other than himself, will provide a script or movie that does the novel justice.
For instance, the vampire aspect is in no doubt a large part of Matheson’s novel. The social aspect of movies oftentimes can cause large parts of novels to be changed. For example, large film studios often change novels to appeal to the broadest audience in terms of entertainment and social context. If you have ever watched the Will Smith/Francis Lawrence version of I Am Legend, you may notice that the creatures appear to be more zombie-like than vampires. They lose their hair and their skin is blotchy grey, resembling the undead rather than the “Dracula” type vampire. The film studio changed the way these creatures were portrayed in the book to make the story more appealing to film audience. If the movie had been made after the Twilight craze instead of before, it is likely the creatures would have stayed more vampire-like. This I’m sure is just one of the many reasons Matheson does not like the film adaptations of his novel.
Matheson’s theme of “one man in the face of insurmountable odds” (Scoleri) is clearly seen in his interview with Scoleri. Despite many attempts by others to change his novel for their own purposes, Matheson holds steady in stating that none of the interpretations of adaptations of his novel can really be thought of as reflecting the original story. He holds firm the idea that his original novel has never been accurately remade and in these attempts to stand up for his original work finds himself alone against many determined to make his novel popular by changing the message of the story.





Works Cited
Scoleri, John David. "Interview with Richard Matheson."
The I Am Legend Archive. 15 June 2008. Web. 28 October 2010. .

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Alive Than the Living?

Vampires are often made to seem more alive than humans. They appear more beautiful and enticing than a normal human and they seem to attract both sexes very easily. This is strange to me given the fact that Van Helsing considers them undead. “You do not know that, friend John, but you shall know it later, and in trance could he best come to take more blood. In trance she dies, and in trance she is Un-Dead, too. So it is that she differ from all other. Usually when the Un-Dead sleep at home," as he spoke he made a comprehensive sweep of his arm to designate what to a vampire was `home', "their face show what they are, but this so sweet that was when she not Un-Dead she go back to the nothings of the common dead. There is no malign there, see, and so it make hard that I must kill her in her sleep." (Dracula Chapter 15) When Van Helsing is talking about Lucy being part of the undead, I think most people get about the same picture in their head. An undead (to me anyways) is a gray, sullen, skeleton looking creature that walks around and causes havoc on people. The undead they are talking about in Lucy is very different. When Lucy walks around she is floating, beautiful, and mesmerizing. I think this conflicts with many people’s view of the undead; being more alive than someone actually living. I guess this is why vampires so easily prey on humans, they attract them and gain their trust very easily. "Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!" He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone. The instant, however, that I had stepped over the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed cold as ice, more like the hand of a dead than a living man. Again he said.”(Dracula Chapter 2)
Some other things that seem to defy the natural definition of undead are found not only in their looks, but in their lifestyle. Vampires often seem to be extremely healthy, often being nearly indestructible. I suppose this makes sense because they are technically not “alive” in a humanistic sense of the word. If they are not alive they therefore should not be susceptible to common sicknesses or injury. Lastly I would like to point out how many vampires are given the description as very fertile. Sometimes it seems like they need sex more than real people. Overall I just think it’s a bit strange that Professor Van Helsing classifies vampires as undead. Vampires seem to be more “alive” than many of us. They are good looking, well spoken, fertile, and have, as Collen said,” Robust Health”.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unquenchable

Many of these stories seem to revolve around one thing, not only the desire, but necessity to feed. Vampires cannot live without feeding on others, they have a thirst and it needs to be quenched. The energy they seek comes from all humans, and we need it to live as well. Blood, in this book as well as others is seen as a life force. It is needed by all but possessed only by some. The vampire’s need for blood is the reason they have their reputation. They need to feed on human blood so that they may live, and obviously this is regarded as an inhuman practice, therefore receiving a hated response from humans. The hunger is what creates the vampire’s being, personality, and lifestyle. I feel like if they no longer had this hunger there would be less hatred towards them from humans and they would have much less diabolical endeavors in mind.

Many people think the act of sexual intercourse is both spiritual and physical. The spiritual part involves the union of two people forever in the eyes of a higher being. The physical part is considered by many to be the exchange of bodily fluids with another person of the opposite sex to create life. The way a vampire bites and sucks the blood of their prey can be seen as a sexual act, the transfer of bodily fluid to keep the vampire alive. They need to undergo this act many times in their life in order to stay alive, and in many cases it can be very intimate.

"As I expected," he murmured, with that hissing inspiration of his which meant so much. Without a word he went and locked the door, and then began to set out on the little table the instruments for yet another operation of transfusion of blood. I had long ago recognized the necessity, and begun to take off my coat, but he stopped me with a warning hand. "No!" he said. "Today you must operate. I shall provide. You are weakened already." As he spoke he took off his coat and rolled up his shirtsleeve. Again the operation. Again the narcotic. Again some return of color to the ashy cheeks, and the regular breathing of healthy sleep” (Bram Stoker, Dracula). The many transfusions of blood that Lucy receives can mean many things, symbolically I think it means the return of life to someone who has had it taken from them. Every time Dracula feeds her he is taking part of her life, part of her soul. When Professor Van Helsing puts new blood in her I think it symbolizes giving her new life, from that of another human. Just like how she gives Count Dracula new life every time he feeds on her.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Meeting - Through Carmilla's eyes

The Meeting
Through Carmilla’s eyes

I could hardly contain myself, I had been waiting for so long to become one with this child and feed. Her lying there in the dead of night, lit by the moonlight, was enough to make my blood boil. I could barely stand it most days, being around her all day and not taking her whenever I please. The General, the old fool, suspects nothing of our friendship or our hidden love. I will make her mine forever, and tonight is the night.
I left my room as a woman, but soon after I moved from my chamber my primal instincts started to take over. It first took over my mind. I lost all ability to think as they do, and there in that hallway I could only focus on one thing, feeding. After my mind went I Hunched over and became what my inner conscious was, a large blood hungry monster. I was hulking but my steps where quick and soundless. Since I was no longer my human form I saw no reason to use their means of entering. I passed seamlessly through her door without a sound.
There she lay, quiet and as beautiful as ever. Her face lit by the sliver of moonlight from her small window. It seemed almost too perfect that these girls are here for the taking. The longer I waited the harder it became to watch her without acting. It was time, now on this perfect night I was going to have her and we would be one forever. Just as I leaned in I caught a whiff of her, she smelled of lilies. I bit her as softly as I could, I knew it would end her but I didn’t care, I needed to be satisfied.

Just as soon as I had finished I heard someone burst from her dressing room. Why it was the old General! Somehow he knew my true intentions with his niece. He was not a problem, the deed had been done and I was far too quick for him. I shifted over to the foot of the bed and he stood there for a moment, dumbstruck, by movements. At this point he charged me and swiftly swung his sword in my direction only to hit nothing but my shadow. I was coming out of my hunger and I stood up near the door to her room. It was too late for the old man and his niece, so I fled. I was again passed seamlessly through the door and out of the house. I could only imagine that she lived a few more hours, but it needed to be done. Now all there was to do was find my next woman friend.