Author: Richard Matheson
Genre: Horror fiction
Forget that decent but ultimately failed adaptation starring Will Smith. Richard Matheson, the hugely influential novelist, short story writer, and Twilight Zone screenwriting all-star, delivered the best vampire book this side of Bram Stoker's Dracula with I Am Legend, and no filmmaker has yet to do it any sufficient justice.
The last man standing in a post-apocalyptic wasteland overrun by talking, mind-game-playing bloodsuckers, protagonist Robert Neville fends off creatures at night while studying to better understand the cataclysmic disease by day. Reminiscent of Matheson's best Twilight Zone episodes, I Am Legend culminates with a brilliant and unexpected resolution that's thematically devastating and shockingly real.
You know, the polar opposite of how Big Willie Style's flick ended.
Fun Fact: In past interviews, Night of the Living Dead writer-director George A. Romero admitted that his seminal zombie movie classic was, in many ways, "ripping off" I Am Legend.