The movie world just lost an absolute legend. Larry Cohen, the prolific writer, director and producer behind some of the most unique, jaw-dropping, and utterly bonkers B-movies in history, has died at 77. Cohen began his career in television, breaking into films in the 1970s. Some of his many projects include The Stuff, It’s Alive, Maniac Cop, and Q.
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J.J. Abrams doesn’t waste his clout. The Star Wars: The Force Awakens director backs some talented filmmakers and even once oversaw a 4K restoration of the cult horror classic Phantasm. Abrams and Bad Robot did the restoration out of love for director Don Conscarelli’s work. Now, Abrams is collaborating with another filmmaker he admires, B-movie icon Larry Cohen, who directed It’s Alive and The Stuff. The two of them are developing an anthology series at the moment.
Below, learn more about the J.J. Abrams anthology series in the works.
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The films of William Lustig are crude exploitation, but they’re strange and entertaining enough to find new groups of fans every few years. Maniac, for example is a chilly ride, and a film that is currently being remade with Elijah Wood as the unlikely but compelling choice for the title character. Vigilante is a Death Wish– and poliziotteschi-influenced urban crime movie with a cartoonish tone balanced by Robert Forster.
Then there are the Maniac Cop films: a bizarro trilogy of increasingly silly tales centered on killings perpetrated by a vengeful/evil/supernatural police officer.
The original film starred genre stalwarts Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Richard Roundtree, and the massive-jawed Robert Z’Dar as the title character. Writer Larry Cohen (also a schlock master, thanks to films like Q, God Told Me To, and It’s Alive!) and Lustig have been working to produce a new Maniac Cop film.
And now they’ve got company. Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive, Pusher, Bronson) is on board to produce the movie that will be a prequel of sorts to Lustig’s original 1988 picture. Read More »
If you didn’t already know, the guy who wrote Phone Booth, also wrote the 2004 thriller Cellular. It looks like screenwriter Larry Cohen has one final movie to file in his unofficial telephone-focused trilogy, a C-rate thriller titled Messages Deleted starring Matthew Lillard and Deborah Kara Unger. Deleted is the feature debut of Rob Cowan, the producer of such films like The Net, Life as a House, Righteous Kill and the upcoming horror remake The Crazies. We have the trailer embedded after the jump. Please leave your snarky responses in the comments below.
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