Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Top 20 Horror Novels - #5) I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (from 1954)

Not only am I ranking my Top 20 Horror Movies for you this October, but I'm doing likewise with the scary books that I hold near and dear.  As with the movies that I'm discussing in that Top 20, I'm not attempting to rank these novels based on their place in pop culture, but rather their place in my heart.  Isn't that sweet?  Seriously, there are some fine books that didn't make the cut here because there just wasn't room, and there are definitely some well-regarded books that didn't make the cut because I don't really like them.  That also means there are some personal favorites of mine on this list that you may not have heard of.  If that's the case, I promise that I'll reward your trust with a gnarly tale if you give one of them a spin.  Finally, I may have shortchanged some of the titans in the genre (hey there, Stephen King) as I didn't want to overload this list with titles by the same author, though Uncle Stevie did manage to score three direct hits on my list.

The list thus far:

#20) Amok by George Fox (from 1980) 
#19) Manstopper by Douglas Borton (from 1988)
#18) Intensity by Dean Koontz (from 1995)

#17) The Terror by Dan Simmons (from 2007) 
#16) The Snake by John Godey (from 1978)
#15) Son of the Endless Night by John Farris (from 1985)
#14) Rockinghorse by William W. Johnstone (from 1986) 
#13) Vampire$ by John Steakley (from 1990)
#12) Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg (from 1978)
#11) Christine by Stephen King (from 1983)
#10) The Manitou by Graham Masterton (from 1975)
#9) At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft (from 1936)
#8) All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By by John Farris (from 1977)
#7) Hell House by Richard Matheson (from 1971)
#6) The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (from 1971)

Top 20 Horror Novels - #5) I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (from 1954)

A case study in isolation and loneliness and a genre epic all rolled into one, this book packs a mean punch.  Matheson has an incredible body of work, but this 1954 epic is his best offering.  The tale concerns the last living man's woeful struggle to survive in a world that has been overrun by vampires.  Haunting and insightful, Robert Neville’s gripping saga culminates with one of the most compelling endings in the history of storytelling. That’s high praise indeed, and it may explain why Hollywood has put this tale on film several times now without embracing the bravery and the finesse that bringing the conclusion to life would require.  The clarity and the pace that define this work serve to provide readers with a stirring adventure that unfolds quickly.  Matheson has always believed in shipping the freight, and I Am Legend is a fine example of his ability to paint a vivid picture without any unnecessary brushstrokes. Much like the other books I’ve featured on this list, I would highly recommend this title to any reader, regardless of their feelings on the horror genre. I Am Legend is a legendary book (forgive me) and that climax will stick with you forever.

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