King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen is a fantastic new documentary written and directed by Steve Mitchell that covers the life and career of maverick filmmaker Larry Cohen and it opened in NYC this week. Larry Cohen began his career writing TV noir and westerns in the late 1950s and early 1960s before building up a filmography in the 1970s, writing, directing, and producing such genre classics as Black Caesar (1973), It’s Alive (1974), Q: The Winged Serpent (1982), and The Stuff (1985). While Cohen hasn’t directed a feature film since 1996, he has written some popular genre films such as Phone Booth (2002) and Cellular (2004). His IMDb page features over 80 writing credits with over 20 in the director’s chair. I recently got to speak with Mr. Mitchell, who co-wrote the 1980s horror film Chopping Mall, about his new documentary, his goals for the project, and his relationship with the film’s subject.
King Cohen The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen
Written and Directed by Steve Mitchell
Featuring Larry Cohen, Martin Scorsese, J.J Abrams, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, John Landis, Fred Williamson
Dark Star Pictures
Release date: August 3, 2018 (NYC premiere)
Who is Larry Cohen? If you don’t recognize his name, I promise you’ll recognize his films. The now 77-year old has been working in the industry since the late 1950s and evolved from writing noir and western television to become a prolific genre filmmaker. His most prominent works include Black Caesar (1973), It’s Alive (1974), God Told Me To (1976), Q (1982), The Stuff (1985), and Phone Booth (2002). In all he has over 80 writing credits and 20+ directorial efforts. But more than his films was his renegade and rogue filmmaking style. A writer who became a director and producer, Larry Cohen was the consummate hustler and true triple threat. His life and career are now the subject of a phenomenal documentary, King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen, written and directed by Steve Mitchell and put out by Dark Star Pictures.
Chopping Mall Blu-ray
Director: Jim Wynorski
Screenwriter: Jim Wynorski, Steve Mitchell
Cast: Kelli Maroney, Tony O’Dell, John Terlesky, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller
Rated R | 95 Minutes
Release Date: September 27, 2016
“Where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg.”
Exploitation filmmaker Jim Wynorski has given us so many classic films. The Return of Swamp Thing, Scream Queen Hot Tub Party, 976-Evil II, Ghoulies IV, Sorceress, The Bare Wench Project, The Witches of Breastwick, Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre – the list goes on and on. Of the 100+ movies the writer-director has made, however, his finest accomplishment is 1986’s Chopping Mall.
Starring Kelli Maroney (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Night of the Comet) and Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond), Chopping Mall is the epic story of eight teenagers trapped in a state-of-the-art shopping mall, pursued by homicidal security droids, also known as Killbots. As the robots pick off the frisky teenagers with their high-powered lasers, the survivors break into a sporting goods store (“Peckinpah’s”) to secure weapons. Armed with rifles, propane tanks, and golf carts, the denim-clad kids wage war on the murder-bots with Park Plaza Mall serving as their battlefield.
As a longtime fan of the Friday the 13th movie franchise and all the cheesy, gory joy it brings us, I cannot think of many things more painful to see than a news headline such as this one. But alas, here we are.
It’s being reported that a TV series based on the movie franchise and the silent hockey mask-wearing killer Jason Voorhees is in development at The CW. The potential show is described as horror/crime thriller.