Are the creatures in Richard Matheson’s 1954 classic I Am Legend vampires or zombies? (Or are they CGI mutants?) George Romero has called this novel the inspiration for Night of the Living Dead, which means that I Am Legend inspired the film that created the modern zombie mythos.
I’m not going to lie to you. My novel The Sinister Mr. Corpse has not yet inspired any modern mythos. If you were to approach 100 people on the street and ask them which of the two novels has made more of an impact on our culture, lots of them would say I Am Legend. I’m okay with that. I don’t feel betrayed at all.
The thing, is, this is ZOMBIE WARS, not ZOMBIE (OR ARE THEY VAMPIRES?) WARS. The Sinister Mr. Corpse contains the word zombie 73 times! That’s even more times than the book contains the f-word! How many times does “zombie” appear in I Am Legend? I think zero. If it’s not zero…well, it’s certainly not 73 times. Richard Matheson can influence the cultural landscape all he wants, but nobody is going to read The Sinister Mr. Corpse and not know if I’m trying to shamelessly cash in on the zombie bandwagon or the vampire bandwagon.
OFFICIAL RULING: The Sinister Mr. Corpse for the win.