Richard Matheson had been writing and scaring the shit out of people since the early 1950s, and even though his work in his later years wasn’t nearly as memorable within the sci-fi and horror culture, his most classic works still stand heads above 90% of the claptrap out there. As well, his simplistic form of prose is accessible to just about everyone. I Am Legend and Hell House are two frightening books whose cinematic adaptations couldn’t compare to the emotions Matheson’s words provoked, though his Twilight Zone episodes are almost all classics.
So why is it that Matheson’s lengthy career has never inspired the genre-friendly Saturn Awards to present the writer with their honorary Visionary Award? That may never be known, but at least the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Films is trying to recognize their past failures by awarding him with the honor at the Awards’ 39th annual celebration on June 26. Unfortunately, Matheson
“We are heartbroken to lose a writer of towering talent, unlimited imagination and unparalleled inspiration,” said Academy President Robert Holguin. “Richard was a genius whose visions helped bring legitimacy and critical acclaim to science fiction and fantasy. He was also a longtime supporter of the Academy, and everyone associated with The Saturn Awards feels emptier today to learn of this enormous loss. Richard’s accomplishments will live on forever in the imaginations of everyone who read or saw his inspired and inimitable work.”
The Saturn Awards will be giving honorary trophies out to some very-much-still-living creators as well. William Friedkin, recognized for films such as The Exorcist and that batshit-crazy Bug, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Jonathan Frakes, best known as Commander Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and for directing the Star Trek films Insurrection and First Contact, will receive the Life Career Award. (Notice how both of those awards have the word “life” in them.) Finally, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan will receive the newly established Dan Curtis Legacy Award for his work as a writer and producer on The X-Files.