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 Larry Cohen (Director)

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dolemike
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PostSubject: Larry Cohen (Director)   Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:43 am

One of my two favorite exploitation directors (along with Jack Hill).

Larry Cohen:
Cohen started his career in television; writing on many shows and creating the cult classics Branded and The Invaders. He wrote, produced, and directed his first feature film, Bone in 1972. He came to prominence with It's Alive (1974), a horror film about an epidemic of fanged predatory babies. Though cheap, it is notable for its satirical black humor (the hero's son slaughters the medical staff at birth) and for its exploration of the parents’ dilemma: the hero, who has fathered one of the creatures, at first disowns it but later tries to protect it despite its obvious anti-social tendencies. It's Alive is also noted for being scored by Bernard Herrmann. Cohen made two sequels, It Lives Again (1978) and It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987).

Cohen's films are full of quotable dialogue. In Full-Moon High (1981), a teenage werewolf puts off his girlfriend's advances with the excuse that it's “his time of the month.” The Stuff (1985) concerns a parasitic goo from beneath the Earth's crust that manages to get itself marketed as a dessert. The film's hero announces proudly at the beginning, "Nobody could be as dumb as I appear," and later delivers the maxim, "Everybody has to eat shaving cream once in a while."

In Q (aka The Winged Serpent, 1982), the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl is resurrected and flies about New York City snatching human sacrifices off the skyscrapers. Cohen was able to employ the talents of Michael Moriarty, David Carradine, and Candy Clark, and the film is one of his most sophisticated, but it still manages to include such lines as “Maybe his head got loose and fell off.” and "I want a Nixon-type pardon!"

Perhaps Cohen’s most complex film, as well as his darkest, is God Told Me To (aka Demon, 1976), in which a troubled Catholic detective is faced with an epidemic of murders carried out by apparently normal people who claim, with quiet satisfaction, that God told them to do it. The film mixes science fiction and horror with religious satire.

In 1987, Cohen made an unofficial sequel to Stephen King's Salem's Lot. With typical chutzpah, Cohen threw out all of King’s characters and kept only the basic premise of a small American town inhabited by vampires. A Return to Salem's Lot starred Michael Moriarty (a Cohen regular) and Samuel Fuller, and satirises small-town snobbery and hypocrisy: a little old woman vampire refers coyly to her drinking problem while the evil king-vampire is shown to be, at bottom, little more than a rather nasty conservative politician.

Besides monster movies, Cohen has also made thrillers such as The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977), which portrays the FBI chief as a sexually repressed, paranoid megalomaniac; Special Effects (1984), the twisted tale of a policeman, a murderous film director, and the woman who gets turned into the double of his leading lady; and The Ambulance (1990), a Hitchcock-style entertainment in which Eric Roberts investigates the sudden disappearance of a young woman.

Because of their frequently hurried production and their bargain-basement budgets, Cohen's films are sometimes murkily shot or messily edited, but Cohen’s freewheeling approach (and independence from studio interference) enables him to attack a number of satirical targets that often get off lightly in the mainstream, for example ruthless food companies in The Stuff. In the third film of the Alive trilogy, Cohen even manages to work in some telling swipes against American demonisation of Cuba.

Cohen was influenced by director Sam Fuller and now lives in a house formerly owned by Mr. Fuller. In recent years, Cohen has curtailed his directing and producing activities, and has focused mainly on writing. His work was primarily for low budget films and television until 1998, when Cohen's spec script Phone Booth triggered active interest and aggressive bidding from major Hollywood players. Joel Schumacher directed the resulting 2002 film, starring Colin Farrell. Cohen was also credited with the story for the 2004 release Cellular, another thriller with a telecommunications theme.(from Wiki)



A brilliant master of blaxsploitation! These are essential viewing!




And a clip from the indisputable masterpiece Q: THE WINGED SERPENT!


Filmography:

Writer:

Tremble (2008) (pre-production) (writer)
Message Deleted (2008) (pre-production) (writer)
It's Alive (2008) (post-production) (written by)
Captivity (2007) (screenplay) (story)
Cellular (2004) (story)
... aka Final Call - Wenn er auflegt, muss sie sterben (Germany: DVD title)
Phone Booth (2002) (written by)
Misbegotten (1998) (screenplay)
The Defenders: Choice of Evils (1998) (TV) (story) (teleplay)
... aka The Defenders
The Ex (1997) (screenplay)
Uncle Sam (1997) (written by)
Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Heatwave (1997) (TV) (teleplay)
... aka Heatwave
Invasion of Privacy (1996) (written by)
Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Ice (1996) (TV) (teleplay)
The Invaders (1995) (TV) (television series)
The Expert (1995) (uncredited)
As Good as Dead (1995) (TV) (written by)
"NYPD Blue" (1 episode, 1995)
- Dirty Socks (1995) TV episode (writer)
Body Snatchers (1993) (screen story)
Guilty as Sin (1993) (written by)
Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (1993) (characters) (written by)
... aka MC3: Maniac Cop 3 (USA: video title)
... aka Maniac Cop 3
... aka Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence (USA: DVD box title)
Maniac Cop 2 (1990) (characters) (written by)
The Ambulance (1990) (written by)
Wicked Stepmother (1989) (written by)
Desperado: Avalanche at Devil's Ridge (1988) (TV) (writer)
Maniac Cop (1988) (written by)
Deadly Illusion (1987) (writer)
... aka I Love You to Death
... aka Love You to Death (USA)
Best Seller (1987) (written by)
A Return to Salem's Lot (1987) (screenplay) (story)
It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987) (characters) (written by)
... aka Island of the Alive (USA)
The Stuff (1985) (writer)
Perfect Strangers (1984) (writer)
... aka Blind Alley
Special Effects (1984) (writer)
Scandalous (1984) (story)
Women of San Quentin (1983) (TV) (story)
Q (1982) (writer)
... aka Q: The Winged Serpent
... aka Serpent
... aka The Winged Serpent
I, the Jury (1982) (writer)
Full Moon High (1981) (written by)
... aka Moon High (Australia: TV title)
The American Success Company (1980) (screenplay) (story)
... aka American Success
... aka Good as Gold (USA: video title)
... aka Success (USA: recut version)
... aka The Ringer
It Lives Again (1978) (written by)
... aka It's Alive II
Sparrow (1978) (TV) (creator) (writer)
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977) (writer)
God Told Me To (1976) (writer)
... aka Demon
Man on the Outside (1975) (TV) (writer)
"Griff" (1 episode, 1975)
- Man on the Outside (1975) TV episode (writer)
It's Alive (1974/I) (written by)
Columbo: An Exercise in Fatality (1974) (TV) (story)
Shootout in a One-Dog Town (1974) (TV) (story)
Hell Up in Harlem (1973) (writer)
Columbo: Candidate for Crime (1973) (TV) (story)
Columbo: Any Old Port in a Storm (1973) (TV) (story)
Black Caesar (1973) (writer)
... aka The Godfather of Harlem (UK)
"Cool Million" (1972) TV series (unknown episodes)
Cool Million (1972) (TV) (writer)
... aka Mask of Marcella (USA: reissue title)
Bone (1972) (writer)
... aka Beverly Hills Nightmare (USA)
... aka Dial Rat (UK)
... aka Dial Rat for Terror
... aka Housewife
Call Holme (1972) (TV) (developer)
In Broad Daylight (1971) (TV) (writer)
Condor, El (1970) (screenplay)
Daddy's Gone A-Hunting (1969) (screenplay) (story)
Scream, Baby, Scream (1969) (screenplay) (story)
... aka Nightmare House
"The Invaders" (43 episodes, 1967-1968)
- Inquisition (1968) TV episode (creator)
- The Life Seekers (1968) TV episode (creator)
- The Pursued (1968) TV episode (creator)
- The Miracle (1968) TV episode (creator)
- The Vise (1968) TV episode (creator)
(38 more)
The Legend of Custer (1968) (suggested by)
"Coronet Blue" (1 episode, 1967)
- A Dozen Demons (1967) TV episode (writer)
I Deal in Danger (1966) (writer)
"The Rat Patrol" (1 episode, 1966)
- The Blind Man's Bluff Raid (1966) TV episode (writer)
Return of the Seven (1966) (written by)
... aka Regreso de los siete magníficos, El (Spain)
... aka Return of the Magnificent Seven (International: English title)
"Blue Light" (8 episodes, 1966)
- How to Kill a Soldier (1966) TV episode (story)
- The Return of Elm (1966) TV episode (writer)
- The Secret War (1966) TV episode (writer)
- Traitor's Blood (1966) TV episode (writer)
- The Weapon Within (1966) TV episode (writer)
(3 more)
Blade Rider, Revenge of the Indian Nations (1966) (writer)
"Branded" (16 episodes, 1965)
- Price of a Name (1965) TV episode (creator) (story)
- A Taste of Poison (1965) TV episode (creator) (story)
- That the Brave Endure (1965) TV episode (creator)
- One Way Out (1965) TV episode (creator)
- Very Few Heroes (1965) TV episode (creator)
(11 more)
"Kraft Suspense Theatre" (1 episode, 1965)
- Kill No More (1965) TV episode (adaptation) (story)
"The Defenders" (9 episodes, 1963-1965)
- The Unwritten Law (1965) TV episode (writer)
- Go Between (1964) TV episode (writer)
- May Day! May Day! (1964) TV episode (writer)
- The Secret (1964) TV episode (writer)
- The Captive (1963) TV episode (writer)
(4 more)
"The Fugitive" (2 episodes, 1964-1965)
- Scapegoat (1965) TV episode (story)
- Escape into Black (1964) TV episode (writer)
"Espionage" (1 episode, 1964)
- Medal for a Turned Coat (1964) TV episode (writer)
"The Nurses" (3 episodes, 1963)
... aka The Doctors and the Nurses (USA: new title)
- The Gift (1963) TV episode (writer)
- Party Girl (1963) TV episode (writer)
- Night Sounds (1963) TV episode (writer)
"Arrest and Trial" (1 episode, 1963)
- My Name Is Martin Burnham (1963) TV episode (writer)
"Sam Benedict" (1 episode, 1963)
- Accomplice (1963) TV episode (writer)
"Checkmate" (1 episode, 1961)
- Nice Guys Finish Last (1961) TV episode (writer)
"The United States Steel Hour" (1 episode, 1961)
... aka The U.S. Steel Hour (USA: alternative title)
- The Golden Thirty (1961) TV episode (writer)
"'Way Out" (1 episode, 1961)
- False Face (1961) TV episode (writer)
"Zane Grey Theater" (1 episode, 1960)
... aka Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (USA: complete title)
... aka The Westerners (USA: rerun title)
- Killer Instinct (1960) TV episode (writer)
"Kraft Television Theatre" (1 episode, 1958)
... aka Kraft Mystery Theatre (USA: new title)
... aka Kraft Theatre (USA: new title)
- The Eighty Seventh Precinct (1958) TV episode (adaptation)

Director:

"Masters of Horror" (1 episode, 2006)
- Pick Me Up (2006) TV episode
Air Force One: The Final Mission (2004)
Original Gangstas (1996)
... aka Hot City
As Good as Dead (1995) (TV)
The Ambulance (1990)
Wicked Stepmother (1989)
Deadly Illusion (1987)
... aka I Love You to Death
... aka Love You to Death (USA)
A Return to Salem's Lot (1987)
It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987)
... aka Island of the Alive (USA)
The Stuff (1985)
Perfect Strangers (1984)
... aka Blind Alley
Special Effects (1984)
Q (1982)
... aka Q: The Winged Serpent
... aka Serpent
... aka The Winged Serpent
See China and Die (1981) (TV)
... aka Momma the Detective (USA)
Full Moon High (1981)
... aka Moon High (Australia: TV title)
It Lives Again (1978)
... aka It's Alive II
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977)
God Told Me To (1976)
... aka Demon
It's Alive (1974/I)
Hell Up in Harlem (1973)
Black Caesar (1973)
... aka The Godfather of Harlem (UK)
Bone (1972)
... aka Beverly Hills Nightmare (USA)
... aka Dial Rat (UK)
... aka Dial Rat for Terror
... aka Housewife
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Colonel Mortimer
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PostSubject: Re: Larry Cohen (Director)   Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:27 pm

I just bought bone yesterday for 2.50! the Anchor Bay release. Bargain. It sounds like it's blaxploitation but I couldn't really be sure? What exactly is this film about?
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PostSubject: Re: Larry Cohen (Director)   Wed May 07, 2008 5:00 pm

Been watching the extras on the Pick Me Up disc. Definitely a smart guy.
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PostSubject: Re: Larry Cohen (Director)   Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:32 am

Cohen is a director I could never much get into. Jack Hill, on the other hand, is awesome. Cohen was always too meh for my tastes.
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