KING COHEN

Now this is the definition of long overdue: A retrospective documentary on Larry Cohen, one of the all-time great unheralded cult filmmakers of the 70s and 80s:

Cohen is a fascinating character in modern film history – probably the last indie workhorse to gain cult-auteur status who didn’t lean into the role and thus isn’t as immediately well known as, say, John Carpenter (or even John McNaughton.) THE STUFF, Q: THE WINGED SERPENT, IT’S ALIVE, THE AMBULANCE and GOD TOLD ME TO would be a hell of a career for anyone, and for Cohen it’s only one half of a run that also features impressive screenplay work (PHONE BOOTH, UNCLE SAM, the MANIAC COP movies), creating the TV series THE INVADERS and his unique status as arguably one the most important non-Black figure in the “blaxploitation” movie cycle; having written and directed BLACK CAESAR and HELL UP IN HARLEM (plus the 90s genre-tribute feature ORIGINAL GANGSTAS).

I’m given to understand he’s begun to get some well-deserved recognition from being part of the Trailers From Hell gang, but hopefully this will turn a wider viewership on to his work. For those of you who (justly) loved GET OUT recently, Cohen’s horror features (IT’S ALIVE, Q, GOD TOLD ME TO chiefly) are pretty much coming from the same angle re: perfectly-solid genre features that also happen to be sly social-conscious features (ditto UNCLE SAM and MANIAC COP, though those have an added layer of genre-parody happening with the great Bill Lustig directing). All worth checking out, of course.

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