R.I.P. RICHARD MATHESON 1926 – 2013

From Wikipedia:

Richard Burton Matheson (February 20, 1926 – June 23, 2013) was an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He may be known best as the author of I Am Legend, a 1954 horror novel that has been adapted for the screen three times, although five more of his novels have been adapted as major motion pictures: The Shrinking Man, Hell House, What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time), and A Stir of Echoes. Matheson also wrote numerous television episodes of The Twilight Zone for Rod Serling, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Steel”. He later adapted his 1971 short story “Duel” as a screenplay which was promptly directed by a young Steven Spielberg, for the TV movie of the same name.

Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey,[5] the son of Norwegian immigrants Fanny (née Mathieson) and Bertolf Matheson, a tile floor installer. Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married Ruth Ann Woodson on July 1, 1952 and had four children, three of whom (Chris, Richard Christian, and Ali Matheson) became writers of fiction and screenplays. He died at his home on June 23, 2013, at the age of 87

 

JOHNNY DEPP, EDGAR WRIGHT STALK ‘NIGHT STALKER’ REMAKE

Though we probably won’t be seeing it until 2014, Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD) has been tapped to direct a remake/film adaptation of ABC’s classic TV movie and series KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER for Disney. In talks to potentially play the lead of tenacious reporter Carl Kolchak, originally played to perfection by Darren McGavin, is none other than Johnny Depp (DARK SHADOWS, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and almost everything Tim Burton has done for the past 15 years or so). Details are few and far between right now as Wright is currently working on WORLD’S END with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (re-united again, their previous collaborations being SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ) for a 2013 release, but the project has recently acquired writer D.V. DeVincentis (HIGH FIDELITY, GROSS POINTE BLANK) to work on the screenplay based on characters originally created by Jeff Rice, with the first tele-film written by Richard Matheson and produced by Dan Curtis who went on to create the television series.

Synopsis for the original show:

 Chicago newspaper reporter—Carl Kolchak—who investigates mysterious crimes with unlikely causes, particularly ones law enforcement authorities won’t pursue. Often these crimes involve some element of the supernatural or science fiction, such as werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Though he’d always put his life on the line to investigate and stop evil, he was always met with disbelief by his editor and was never allowed to write the entire story for his paper, leaving out the more supernatural details

It’s safe to say I’m a HUGE fan of the original NIGHT STALKER series. Darren Gavin played Kolchak with a dry wit, humor, and intelligence whether arguing with his exasperated editor, or in the face of danger (an obvious model for the Mulder character on THE X-FILES, Chris Carter having said in the past how he was influenced by the series). While I often dread remakes of classics, I have a feeling that with Edgar Wright at the helm and Johnny Depp (in a non-Burton role) playing Kolchak, this may very well be an incredible film. Fingers crossed, boils ‘n ghouls…I’m excited!