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The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London

The Legacy of Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend (1954) with instructor Stacey Abbott

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7pm - 10pm

Prices £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concs  


Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend (1954) is a recognized classic of science fiction and horror. It has been adapted many times in films such as The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), and I Am Legend (2007). In 1958, Matheson wrote a script adapting the novel for Hammer Studios, but it was never filmed. The script was rejected by both the MPAA and the BBFC. In 1968, George Romero directed Night of the Living Dead, a film he admitted was inspired by Matheson’s novel, and this was the film that Matheson felt was most faithful to the themes of his book.

Through an analysis of a selection of official and unofficial adaptations of the novel, including Matheson’s own script, this lecture by Stacey Abbott considers how this text marks a key transformative moment within the evolution of the horror genre on film. It will consider how the novel reimagined the vampire film through the lens of science fiction and how Matheson’s adaptation for Hammer offered a new, more brutal and modern approach to horror than the studio’s Gothic adaptations of The Cure of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). Abbott will discuss how the script confounded the censors in its approach to horror, signaling a cultural resistance to the modernization of the genre and a growing tension between filmmakers and arbiters of cinematic taste.  Finally, in this lecture Abbott will demonstrate not only how I Am Legend influenced Romero’s work, representing a key bridge between classic and new horror, but also continues to influence twenty-first century filmmakers, particularly in the development of the vampire and zombie genres.

About the Instructor:
Stacey Abbott is Reader in Film and Television Studies at the University of Roehampton. She is the author of Celluloid Vampires (2007), Undead Apocalypse: Vampires and Zombies in the 21st Century (2016), and co-author, with Lorna Jowett, of TV Horror: The Dark Side of the Small Screen (2012).

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Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international organization that was founded by film writer/programmer Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010 and now has branches in London and New York. Miskatonic London operates under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Josh Saco.

All classes take place at the historic Horse Hospital, the heart of the city’s underground culture. Season tickets are £45. Individual class tickets are £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concessions.

For full details of the next courses please check the Miskatonic website. For all enquiries, please email Miskatonic.london[at]gmail.com.


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