Director Larry Cohen Dies, Aged 77

Larry Cohen

by James White |
Published on

Larry Cohen, a director known for pulpy, fun and rule-breaking movies, has died. He was 77.

Cohen was born in 1941 in Washington Heights and from an early age showed a rapacious appetite for cinema, heading to watch movies and double features twice a week. That led to his career kicking off in the 1950s at the NBC network, where he learned the art of writing scripts. His early drive in the 1960s was aimed squarely at espionage and detective shows, and he wrote for series including The Defenders, Blue Light and Coronet Blue. Stepping into sci-fi, he created short-lived series The Invaders and was also behind Western drama Branded.

He got a taste of big screen script work producing the screenplay for Return Of The Seven, a sequel to The Magnificent Seven. The 1970s would also see him start to focus more on directing, debuting with comedy pic Bone, followed by Black Caesar and Hell Up In Harlem. Among the movies he'll be forever known for is cult classic It's Alive, about an infant with a habit of killing when it gets scared. Despite flopping on its initial release, a better ad campaign and a re-release saw it take in $7 million and birth two sequels.

He also made movies such as God Told Me To, Full Moon High, Perfect Strangers, The Stuff, Q: The Winged Serpent and Maniac Cop (plus its own sequels). In later years, he was more known for writing (and re-writing) scripts, but returned to directing for an episode of the Masters Of Horror TV series.

"The entire #KingCohen team mourns the loss of its star, hero and King, #LarryCohen,” read a post from his official Facebook page. “His unparalleled talents were surpassed only by his giant heart. The impact he made on television and cinema will be felt forever, and our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and fans." Cohen died on Saturday night surrounded by his loved ones.

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