You might remember that a couple of months ago I started looking back at Richard Matheson’s landmark novel, I AM LEGEND, and the various film adaptations which have followed. I wrote about LAST MAN ON EARTH here, and eviscerated THE OMEGA MAN here. Now it’s time to look at the version I was dreading most. Alex Proyas’ 2007 I AM LEGEND starring Will Smith.
It’s funny how time affects your perception and enjoyment of movies. I originally loved THE OMEGA MAN back in the day, but hated it following my recent re-watch. Similarly, whilst I despised I AM LEGEND first time around, it didn’t annoy me anywhere near as much when I watched it again. It’s still horribly flawed, it still takes huge liberties with Matheson’s story, it still stars Will Smith (and I still can’t stand him), but it was… well, okay, I guess.
Here’s the trailer. Click the link for my thoughts.
If you’ve heard me talk about the AUTUMN movie, you might be surprised to hear this, but I think I’ve a lot to thank Steven for. I’ve been pretty vocal in the past about my feelings for the film – it was a valiant attempt to adapt the film for the screen, but it fell well short of its potential. The main cast was great (in particular Dexter Fletcher, Dickon Tolson and David Carradine) and some scenes really caught the look and feel of the novel beautifully. Technical shortcomings hampered production, and ultimately the level of the budget didn’t allow the film-makers to fully realise their ambition.
Some people loved the film, though. The UK’s well respected Empire Magazine called AUTUMN “surprisingly downbeat and intelligent“. 365Horror.co.uk said “It’s slow and thoughtful and mesmerising to watch, allowing the viewer to think and reflect. Rumbelow has created something worthy of the Romero tip of the hat here.” Reviewer Nicholas Bergquist wrote “If you’re a bit tired of the same-old same-old zombie films, you need to see Autumn. If you’re just keen for a good horror movie that eschews standard formulae and obligatory kill counts, you need to see Autumn. If you want to watch a really damned fine end of the world tale that tries for a more measured pace… Autumn’s your movie.”
But it’s fair to say, the criticism massively outweighed the praise. Also, the project never really stood a chance after David Carradine’s death and the subsequent leaking of an unfinished cut of the movie online which was seen (and slated) by hundreds of thousands of people.
I said I’ve a lot to thank Steven for, and I meant that. Watching the production of AUTUMN progress, both from a distance and when I was on set, and seeing how the film fared after release taught me a huge amount about the highs and lows of the movie business. I got to go to Canada and play zombie. I ended up on the DVD cover (yes, that’s me). I got to meet a number of very cool people along the way and was able to attend a number of film festivals and other events. Most importantly, in one way or another the movie had a huge effect on my demographic and made substantial numbers of people aware of my books who might not have heard of me otherwise. Someone once said to me it’s better to have a bad movie made of your book than no movie at all, and I’m inclined to agree. I think AUTUMN is a seriously flawed movie more than an out and out bad film, but I’m pleased it happened. I’ll never forget the thrill of sitting in the first UK cinema showing and seeing the words ‘based on the novel by David Moody’ appear on screen.
Visiting the set of AUTUMN in December 2007 (pictured with Steven Rumbelow)
My sincere condolences go out to Rachel, Dickon, and the rest of the Rumbelow and Renegade Motion Pictures families.
Plenty of disgruntled UK readers have been in touch about the long gap between the US and UK releases. It’s unfortunate and hardly ideal, but it’s just one of those things, I’m afraid. Scheduling issues meant that the UK edits couldn’t be completed until last month, whilst the US publisher had always planned to release the book this month. And before you start, I know it’s the same book, but each publisher releases their titles in their own house (and geographical) style.
You could always console yourself by watching the AUTUMN MOVIE again and venting your frustrations by yelling at the screen. It’s on the UK Horror Channel at 2:20am on Wednesday 21st March.
“Rather than diving into flesh eating ghoul territory, Moody’s AUTUMN takes a more patient and scientific approach. In many ways, this is a thinking man’s zombie flick with some fun performances and decent effects… AUTUMN makes for a damn fine zombie experience… definitely worth seeking out for the geek in search of genuine scares and interesting takes on the sub-genre.”
As luck would have it, those of you in the UK can catch the movie on TV again in the early hours of Friday morning. It’s also available on DVD in various countries. Click here for more information.
There’s a nice mention of the AUTUMN movie in Kim Newman‘s column in the July 2010 issue of Empire. “…surprisingly downbeat and intelligent, with a strong performance by Dexter Fletcher as a bewildered survivor and a showy ham cameo from David Carradine…”
Less than a week to enter the competition to win my copy of the AUTUMN movie on DVD. Here’s the question again (now removed as the competition has closed). Entries close on 31st May when a winner will be selected at random.
Things I’ve found out this week #1: the UK DVD release is region free so anyone can watch it.
Things I’ve found out this week #2: if you’re in the UK and you want to see the film today, it’s being shown on the Horror Channel again tonight at 9:00pm.
Join Moody's mailing list and grab a free and exclusive short story: