The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories

Legacy and influence

At least three films have been made of Bierce's story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge". A silent film version, The Bridge, was made in 1929. A French version called La Rivière du Hibou, directed by Robert Enrico, was released in 1962; this black-and-white film faithfully recounts the original narrative using voice-over. It aired in 1964 on American television as one of the final episodes of the television series The Twilight Zone: "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge". Prior to The Twilight Zone, the story had been adapted as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Another version, directed by Brian James Egen, was released in 2005. It was also adapted for the CBS radio programs Suspense and Escape.

Two adaptations were made of Bierce's story "Eyes of the Panther". One version was developed for Shelley Duvall's Nightmare Classics series and was released in 1990. This version runs about 60 minutes. Another, shorter, version was released in 2006 by director Michael Barton and runs about 23 minutes.

"The Damned Thing" was adapted into a Masters of Horror episode of the same title directed by Tobe Hooper.

American composer Rodney Waschka II composed an opera, Saint Ambrose, based on Bierce's life.[19]

Carlos Fuentes's novel The Old Gringo is a fictionalized account of Bierce's disappearance; it was later adapted into the film Old Gringo (1989), starring Gregory Peck in the title role.[20] Bierce's disappearance and trip to Mexico provide the background for the vampire horror film From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2000), in which Bierce's character plays a central role. Bierce's fate is the subject of Gerald Kersh's "The Oxoxoco Bottle" (aka “The Secret of the Bottle”), which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on December 7, 1957, and was reprinted in the anthology Men Without Bones. Bierce reappears in the future on Mount Shasta in Robert Heinlein's novella, "Lost Legacy".

The short film "Ah! Silenciosa" (1999), starring Jim Beaver as Bierce, weaves elements of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" into a speculation on Bierce's disappearance.

Bierce was a major character in a series of mystery books written by Oakley Hall and published between 1998 and 2006.[21]

Bierce's short story "The Difficulty of Crossing a Field" is one of the first works of fiction to deal with an inexplicable occurrence. In this story, a man disappears from existence while crossing a field. The story precedes several stories in modern folklore and urban legends regarding mysteriously vanishing individuals.

Biographer Richard O'Conner argued that, "War was the making of Bierce as a man and a writer... [he became] truly capable of transferring the bloody, headless bodies and boar-eaten corpses of the battlefield onto paper."[2]

Essayist Clifton Fadiman wrote, "Bierce was never a great writer. He has painful faults of vulgarity and cheapness of imagination. But... his style, for one thing, will preserve him; and the purity of his misanthropy, too, will help to keep him alive."[2]

Author Alan Gullette argues that Bierce's war tales may be the best writing on war, outranking his contemporary Stephen Crane (author of The Red Badge of Courage) and even Ernest Hemingway.[2]

Author Kurt Vonnegut once stated that he considered "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" the "greatest American short story" and a work of "flawless... American genius".[22]

American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena Charles Fort wrote about the unexplained disappearances of Ambrose Bierce and Ambrose Small, and asked, "Was somebody collecting Ambroses?" [23]


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