Larry Cohen, the maverick B-movie director of cult horror films such as “It’s Alive” and “God Told Me To,” has died. He was 77.
Cohen’s friend and spokesman, the actor Shade Rupe, said Cohen passed away Saturday in Los Angeles surrounded by loved ones, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Cohen’s films were schlocky, low-budget works that developed cult followings, spawned sequels and gained esteem for their genre reflections of contemporary issues, according to The Times.
His 1974 film “It’s Alive,” about a murderous mutant baby, dealt with the treatment of children. His New York-set 1976 satire “God Told Me To” depicted a series of shootings and murders carried out in religious fervor. Andy Kaufman played a policeman who goes on a shooting rampage during a St. Patrick’s Day parade. There were also aliens.
“It wasn’t just going to a studio like a factory laborer and making pictures and going home every night,” Cohen told the Ringer last year. “We were out there in the jungle making these movies, improvising, and having fun, and creating movies from out of thin air without much money.”
“You’ve gotta make the picture your way and no other way,” he added, “because it can’t be made otherwise.”
The New York-native Cohen began in television, where he wrote episodes for series like “The Fugitive,” The Defenders” and “Surfside 6.” New York would be the setting for many of Cohen’s films, including 1982’s “Q,” in which a giant flying lizard nests atop the Chrysler Building.
Cohen was often his own producer, director, writer and sometimes prop-maker and production manager. “Otherwise,” he told the Village Voice, “I’d have to sit down with producers, and producers are a real pain in the ass, believe me.”
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