I Am Legend Essay

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A hit tv-series like The Walking Dead (2010- ), a recent movie on vampires called Dracula Untold (2014), and popular games about aliens like Destiny (2014) are proof that monsters and, more generally, the uncanny are recipe for success in entertainment. However, the horror genre is founded in literature, the predecessor to visual mass entertainment. The narratives this essay focuses on to demonstrate that the representation of monsters is based on uncanniness are Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend as well as two short stories, namely ‘I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream’ by Harlan Ellison and ‘Bloodchild’ by Octavia Butler. My definition of monster encompasses any being or thing that creates fear in us. Thus, even artificial intelligence, …show more content…
Vampires have been the essence of childish nightmares as well as adult anxieties for a long time and it is their long-standing mythical existence that exacerbates our fears. A sense of the uncanny arises ‘when the boundary between fantasy and reality is blurred, when we are faced with the reality of something that we have until now considered imaginary’ (Freud 2003: 150). The raising of the dead certainly fits that criteria and such a phenomenon is unfathomable to most readers. Nevertheless, Robert Neville, the main protagonist of I Am Legend, has been around the undead for such a long time that he has grown accustomed to the unimaginable: ‘The world’s gone mad, he thought. The dead walk about and I think nothing of it. The return of corpses has become trivial in import. How quickly one accepts the incredible if only one sees it enough’ (Matheson 2010: 54). Intellectual uncertainty as to what is in fact possible and what is not elicits anxiety because humans seek security. However, achieving a sense of safety is only possible when humans can clearly separate the possible from the impossible, the humans from the monsters, the dead from the

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