Larry Cohen, the ambitious writer/director behind such cult classics as Black Caesar, It’s Alive, Q: The Winged Serpent, and The Stuff, passed away over the weekend at the age of 77. Cohen’s friend and spokesman, Shade Rupe, confirmed to the Associated Press that Cohen died on Saturday in Los Angeles, where he was surrounded by friends and loved ones. Cohen began his directing career with such blaxploitation classics as Bone and Hell Up in Harlem before moving on to productions involving everything from killer babies to a city-dwelling dragon. He also wrote the Maniac Cop movies and transitioned into crafting mainstream screenplays later in his career, including the Colin Farrell vehicle, Phone Booth, and Cellular.
After racking up an impressive total of 86 writing credits and 21 directing credits to his name, Larry Cohen is undoubtedly known by film aficionados as one of the kings of the B-movie. With a career spanning 6 decades and multiple genres, the auteur never had an idea that was too big, and never saw a budget that was too small to realize it on film! While he was never a mainstream name like many of his contemporaries, Cohen’s work is affectionately remembered by fans and industry insiders alike. Bruce Campbell, Joe Dante, and Edgar Wright joined a chorus of fans on Twitter to pay their respects after learning of today’s news:
Larry Cohen, director of cult horror films, dies at 77.
Larry wrote my first non-Sam Raimi movie, Maniac Cop. A fiercely independent writer, he protected his work by producing. Larry was a master of creating catchy, unique scenarios. Write on, sir! https://t.co/owIQeljCMX
— Bruce Campbell (@GroovyBruce) March 25, 2019
RIP Larry Cohen, a true original. pic.twitter.com/oUEjkgdPWe
— Joe Dante (@joe_dante) March 24, 2019
Many people say they’ve made ‘independent’ films (many financed by majors) but Larry Cohen truly was an independent freewheeling movie legend. For so many fun high concept genre romps with ideas bigger than the budgets, for so many truly inspiring cult movies, I thank you Larry. pic.twitter.com/HVWfuuCFSS
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) March 24, 2019
Here at Horror News Network, our condolences go out to Cohen’s friends and family. May he rest in peace, and may his legacy for uncompromising creativity and true independent filmmaking live on for generations to come!