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Larry Cohen, King Of The B Movies

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Maverick filmmaker Larry Cohen died on March 23, 2019 at the age of 77. His schlocky B-movies won him a devout cult following and Cinema Junkie had a chance to speak with him in 2017 about his long and wild career.

Beth Accomando: Welcome back to another edition of Listener’s Supported KPBS, Cinema Junkie podcast, I’m Beth Accomando.

Hey, have you liked my Cinema Junkie Facebook page yet or followed me on twitter at cinebeth or may be left a review on iTunes? Well, if the answer is no, please take a moment to do that right now. Was that enough time for you? It would also be great if you could tell just one friend to take a listen to this podcast because your personal recommendation is the best advertising I can get. Thanks for your support, and now on to the show, and what a show it is!

Audio clip: Warning, we interrupt this presentation with the following urgent message regarding The Stuff. If you see it in stores call the police. If you have it in your home, don’t touch it, get out. The Stuff is a product of nature, a deadly living organism. It is addictive and destructive. It can overcome your mind and take over your body. And nothing can stop it.

Beth Accomando: Larry Cohen is a genius, you don’t believe me? Well, let me explain. Orson Welles may have a Star on the Walk of Fame, accolades and Oscar nominations, but he died broke. None of his films turned a profit in his lifetime and he always struggled to get financing and control over his movies. Larry Cohen, on the other hand, engineered a career that got him the best of both worlds in the entertainment industry. Not many can claim to have enjoyed both a traditionally successful career within the mainstream Hollywood system as well as cult status outside the studio system making audaciously independent films exactly the way he wanted to. He also managed to be both a savvy businessman and an artist who got to pursue his creative vision. And what a vision it was!

Audio clip: Housewife — she has nothing to lose. Rated R. Fred Williamson, he may never get to heaven, but he’s raising Hell Up in Harlem. God told me to. It’s alive; don’t see it alone, please. The ‘It’s Alive’ baby is back again, only now there are three of them. It lives again. It’s Alive part III: Island of the Alive, don’t see it alone. The Ambulance, I promise you, you’re going to be in perfect health before you die. A distinguished Oscar winning cast in a true story of political intrigue at the center of power from World War I to Watergate. The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover. Man Against the f [00:03:01.] Coming soon for you, The Stuff from New World Pictures.

Beth Accomando: Just the titles of these Larry Cohen films speak volumes about his iconoclastic style. Cohen built a successful career as a writer and director in television. Starting back in 1958, writing for Kraft Television Theatre and continuing for decades, He created series like The Invaders and wrote for shows like The Defenders, Columbo, and even NYPD Blue. But the structure of series television and Hollywood studios was far too constraining for the maverick Cohen. So in 1972, he set off on a parallel career as an independent filmmaker and made his feature film writing, producing and directing debut with Bone, also known as Housewife and starring, Yaphet Kotto, Joyce Van Patten and Jeannie Berlin.

Audio clip: What do you want? Don’t make me do it again, please. Attention hungry housewives, you must see Housewife, overfed and under-loved, she’ll try anything. Would you like a drink? Housewife, the movie every housewife must see.

Beth Accomando: Cohen’s deliriously eccentric films have won him a devout cult following. Among his fans is Steve Mitchell, whose admiration for the director led him to make the documentary, King Cohen. Mitchell wanted to pay homage to Cohen whom he felt was not widely enough appreciated in the mainstream. The documentary assembles an impressive list of people who also admire Cohen, such as Michael Moriarty and Fred Williamson, who repeatedly acted for him, Martin Scorsese, John Landis, J.J. Abrams, Rick Baker, Mick Garris and Joe Dante. Here, Michael Moriarty talks about acting for Cohen and Scorsese also chimes in.

Michael Moriarty: You have a script, but there’s always a possibility, the wonderful possibility which I had never had before of a director, writer, producer who had all the freedom in the world to throw me anything he wanted.

Martin Scorsese: When I saw Q and The Stuff, I was kind of intrigued by how he worked with Michael Moriarty and kind of guided him as he went along the course and around the bend and out over the bend so to speak. I mean, you feel like he really could spin out of control.

Audio clip: 19 years old and I was [indiscernible] [00:05:19] because he wanted to get a conviction. [Overlapping] 00:05:24]

Martin Scorsese: That wonderful sense of really about to spin out of control, maybe go out of control on screen, may be off and that kind of erases the line between the picture and the actual experience.

Beth Accomando: Mitchell [indiscernible] [00:05:34] with Cohen, who’s a great raconteur and has outrageous tales to tell about shooting his independent films. Here is a montage recounting some of the adventures he had shooting in his hometown of New York City.

Larry Cohen: New York was the greatest in Hell Up in Harlem and in Black Caesar, we ran rampant over that city.

Steve Mitchell: Larry would not only shoot in the streets of New York, he would drive cars up on the sidewalk of the streets of New York.

Larry Cohen: Well, suppose somebody gets run over, I said, this is New York City, they just get out of the way when you’re coming.

Steve Mitchell: He would do things that were, I guess you can call them, dangerous and he almost always got away with it.

Beth Accomando: Here’s the thing about Cohen’s movies. Most of them start off as seemingly conventional genre films, many looking like standard police procedurals, but then almost all of them take wild left turns that simply make your jaw drop in awe.

Audio clip: On December 25th, 1953, a child is born, a virgin birth. Tomorrow, all civilization will tremble under his almighty power.

Beth Accomando: For this podcast, I speak with the master himself, Larry Cohen, as well as documentary filmmaker, Steve Mitchell. So, fasten your seatbelts for a careening ride through the career of King Cohen. I began my interview with Cohen by asking him what got him into filmmaking in the first place.

Larry Cohen: Well, I was going to the movies as a child. I mean, when I was a kid, there was no television, so you went to the movie theater at least twice a week and you saw a double-feature each time. So, I was seeing four movies a week and sometimes I’d sit through them twice or three times if they didn’t throw me out of the theater. So, I was just immersed in movies.

Beth Accomando: And what kind of things did you like the most when you were a kid?

Larry Cohen: I liked Warner Bros. movies, hardboiled tough movies with Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, you know, all those kind of hardboiled tough guy, Errol Flynn, I just liked those kind of movies that they did at Warner Bros. that were fast moving, they were mainly black-and-white and well edited, fast-paced, overlapping dialogue, the kind of movies I make today.

Beth Accomando: And when you decided to go into filmmaking, was that the kind of movie that you wanted to make or those kind of Warner Bros. films?

Larry Cohen: Yeah, exactly.

Beth Accomando: So you’ve been described a lot as being a guerilla filmmaker, which is kind of very different from those Hollywood studio films that Warner’s was making. But what does it mean to you to kind of be described as a guerilla filmmaker?

Larry Cohen: Well, a guerilla, if you don’t spell with a G-O-R-I-L-L-A, which is probably more adequate, I’m kind of a gorilla filmmaker. I really make films myself. I don’t have a huge staff, I don’t have a producer, I don’t have studio executives, I don’t have other people giving me input and supervision, I just go off and make my own movies the way I want to make them. I edit them myself, I hire the same people usually over and over again to work on my crew because they’re accustomed to working the long hours that I demand and kind of following instructions without asking questions. So generally, it was making your film as independently as possible, which was the only way I could work. I just can’t work under supervision and I can’t handle input from other people. I just want to make my own film from beginning to end my own way.

Beth Accomando: Yeah, I was going to ask if you could have worked under a studio system because your films, and I mean this in the most positive sense, but your films always have some element of crazy in them, that is so wonderful, I don’t see how that could really survive in a --

Larry Cohen: Well, I can’t work with people asking me questions all the time like what are you doing or how come it’s not in the script and why are you changing the script around, and why are you adding scenes, and why are you changing the characters of the actors, you know, because to me the script is alive. On the set, when we’re making the picture, we’re actually writing it also at the same time, we’re shooting it. And since I’m the writer always, I can do it, but I don’t want to spend the time explaining myself to other people. I’d rather just go out and do what I’m going to do and cut my picture together. Nobody sees it until it’s finished. So, it’s a unique way of making movies and it’s very satisfying. And once you get used to making pictures that way, you just can’t go into some other system where it’s so collaborative.

Beth Accomando: And you’ve done a lot of TV work too, which seems like it would be much more structured. So was the filmmaking kind of where you got to be yourself and TV was more where you were --?

Larry Cohen: Yeah, I did the TV just for the money. Frankly, I was successful in television before I ever started making movies. I had a number of series on the air and, you know, I had already bought myself a big mansion in Beverly Hills and I had written quite a number of screenplays that got produced and – but I was not happy with the result. I was looking at it and saying, my God, when my whole career is over, I’ll be looking back at a bunch of pictures that I’m not satisfied with. So, if I’m ever going to have any joy out of this, I got to make my own movies and the only way I can make my own movies is to make them my own way and without anybody interfering.

Beth Accomando: Did you feel that working in TV was – provided any kind of a good training ground for you even if it --?

Larry Cohen: No, it was the reverse. It was the worst. I mean, first of all, when you do a TV series, you’re doing the same show every week. So, who wants to do the same movie over and over again, the same play over and over again? You want to do different things, you want to go out and exploit different areas and have some fun. And with television of course, it was always dealing with the network and the standards and practices and studio executives and budgetary executives and network executives, an endless stream of people. Anybody who’s in television will tell you that they have an endless array of people butting in and interfering and making stupid suggestions. So, you know, I’ve fortunately been able to avoid most of the stupid people that permeate the building as a business. It’s worse now than it ever was. Used to be people who were in the television business had some background, maybe in radio or in early television, but now it’s all people who are coming out of business school and don’t have any training in theater and really don’t know anything about the history of motion pictures and the films that came before. I mean, if you go into a meeting today and, in the course of the meeting, you mention some great movie from the past like Double Indemnity or something and you get a blank look from these people, they don’t know what you’re talking about. Then they get offended because they think you’re putting them down because they’re not up on the history of motion pictures and they don’t have any real background, so you get a lot of hostility. So, I’m sick of looking at blanks – blank stares when I bring up things that they should know about and they don’t because they don’t really care about making movies, they only care about the bottom line, the money, that’s all they’re interested in.

Beth Accomando: You were born in New York and a lot of your films are set in New York. Do you think the city and being raised there kind of contributed to the kind of filmmaker and the kind of films you wanted to make?

Larry Cohen: Well, you know, when I grew up in New York, it was – the world was entirely different. When you were ten yours old, you could get on the subway, go down town, walk around, go to the movies, go to – sneak into the second act of a play, you could, you know, the city was yours. People weren’t afraid and everybody wasn’t so nervous about kidnappers and molesters and crime. New York was kind of a, you know, fun place to grow up because it was a big playground for me. So, all the places that I frequented as a kid I later on incorporated into my movies years later. And I got a kick out of doing that in – when they did a New Yorker article about me, the writer and I toured around New York City to the different locations we had used and my gosh, was hardly a street or a monument that we hadn’t included in one of our movies. There was – the whole city seemed to have been a backlot for me and I loved that idea, I loved working in New York City. But the one thing about the city is it’s terribly congested and very hard to get around. So you really have plan out in advance where you’re going to shoot because moving from one location to another is virtually a nightmare with all the traffic backed up. So, usually I would pick one section of the city and shoot there, all the different scenes in that area and never have to move to another location. So, I planned it out pretty well in advance.

Beth Accomando: You have a reputation for the shooting kind of on the fly in New York City and not necessarily getting permits, right?

Larry Cohen: Well, we got permits sometimes, and sometimes we didn’t. Very often we were trying to avoid the unions actually, because back when I was making pictures, the cost of shooting in New York was prohibitive and we couldn’t really afford to hire all the union help. I mean, a major studio picture would probably have close to 100 people working on the crew and I was making a picture with seven people on the crew. So, obviously, I couldn’t afford to pay for all those additional people and you’d have to take on if it was a union production. So it was either a choice of doing it my way or not doing it at all. So we would go ahead and get a location like 57th Street and that would be the location with the permit, but we’d actually shoot it on 74th Street. So, the permit was never for the area we actually shot in. In case the unions came looking for us to close us down, we were never there, we were always someplace else. That was one of the reasons why we worked it that way.

Beth Accomando: I think, in the documentary, Fred Williamson says that you were the greatest thief and he learned that from you.

Larry Cohen: Well, I don’t know what he learned from me, but I hope I’m not taking credit for any of his movies. I may have been the world’s greatest thief. I figured the city belonged to me and I could do whatever I wanted to do.

Beth Accomando: Now, you worked with him on Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem, and I know those films get classified as Blaxsploitation, but you really seemed to think that those were more just kind of an homage to those Cagney and Robinson films?

Larry Cohen: Yeah, well, they were gangster movies and that’s what the Public Enemy and Little Caesar were in ‘20s. You know, these were my favorite movies and I was just doing a version of those movies with a black cast and I was happy to give an opportunity to black actors to be playing something other than servants or maids or butlers or I mean, you know, the kind of parts that black actors got in movies for years, they were always these menial roles and, you know, I wanted to have classy actors playing, you know, leading roles and the kind of parts that movie stars played back in the ‘40s and ‘50s. And I gave a chance to a lot of black actors. I never considered the pictures to be Blaxploitation films because Blaxploitation films usually the black hero always is victorious and beat up all the white guys and seduced all the white women, and that’s the Blaxsploitation. In my film, the hero has a rise and a fall. He achieves success and then it’s all destroyed and take it away from him, just like in the Cagney movie, Public Enemy, he loses everything at the end and loses the love of the girl that he is enamored of who’s a black girl and he rejects the right woman. And it was not a Blaxsploitation at all. It was just a big black Godfather movie.

Audio clip: The Godfather of Harlem is doing it again. In Black Caesar, he ate up that town. Now, he is hungry for more. More action, more excitement, more everything. Isn’t it great to be in America? Fred Williamson is back and there’s going to be Hell Up in Harlem.

Beth Accomando: And your kind of hands-on approach to film making was demonstrated in – you had to change the ending at the last minute on this one?

Larry Cohen: Well, on the Black Caesar picture, he died at the end and he’s beaten – [brother’s] beaten to death by a gang of young teenage juvenile delinquents in Harlem and the audience didn’t like that at the preview. So, I called the studio executive in charge and said, listen, we have trouble here. The audience loves the movie, but hates the ending, but I’m going to go to New York and we’re opening next week. I’m going to change the ending, I’m going to just cut off the last scene and go to the theaters where the picture is playing, which I did, introduced myself, went up to the projection booth and took the film, cut the last scene off, tacked on the end credits and went to the next theater and did it, and the picture opened a few days later and it was a huge success and it was a big blockbuster actually. But, oddly enough, the negative of the picture was never re-cut. So, when they went to the DVD and the home video versions, he dies at the end. So, actually today, years later, it’s much more acceptable than it was back then. So, I kind of like the fact that the original ending is on the picture on DVDs. But at the time when we opened the film, I certainly, I think, credited myself for making it a hit by taking the last scene off for the theatrical initial release.

Beth Accomando: One of your films that’s my favorite is ‘God Told Me To’.

Audio clip: Why did you attack all those people? God told me to.

Larry Cohen: Everybody seems to like that one. It’s the most requested film that I have in film festivals.

Beth Accomando: And, also today, I mean it plays as really relevant and resonant today.

Larry Cohen: Well, I’ll say this, I mean all the terrorist activities just before they blow something up or assassinate people, they say God is good and that’s pretty close to ‘God Told Me To’.

Beth Accomando: And where did the idea for that come from?

Larry Cohen: I don’t know exactly, I mean I saw in the museums particularly in Europe the religious art, which is mainly what art was back in the Middle Ages because the principal financier of all the artwork was the Church and the Church was enormously powerful. And so, most of the paintings are depictions of something from the Bible and the level of violence is so extreme with arrows piercing people and people being crucified upside down and babies being slaughtered and, you know, it’s unbelievable the amount of violence that you’ll see if you go to an art museum. I said, my God, you know, there’s so much violence, God is such a violent character in the Bible. I mean, he slaughters the entire populations of the Earth. So, I said, you know, if I’m going to make a movie about God, it’s going to be a movie where God is a violent creature and that’s basically how it started off. You know, most of my movies take something benevolent like a baby or ice cream or an ambulance or a police officer and turn it into an object of terror and in this particular film, we took the image of God and made it into a particularly violent and benevolent source. But it turns out he wasn’t really a God at all; he was an alien from another planet. So, I think we were ahead of our time. We took the science-fiction/fantasy element and we combined it with a documentary New York police element and we made a combination of the two genres that is, at the time anyway, unique and has hardly ever been equaled actually if you think about it. I did it again more or less in Q where the monster it was some kind of an Aztec god –

Audio clip: For 10 centuries it has waited to be awakened, to be worshipped again like a god, to feel the skies, to cast its shadow over the Earth, to release its fury.

Larry Cohen: And the picture had a documentary police kind of look to it, so I did it twice.

Beth Accomando: You mentioned that this is a film that you get requested a lot for festivals. If you could choose the film that you like the best or that you would want to put in a time capsule to be remembered by, which is your favorite?

Larry Cohen: Oddly enough, my favorite is The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover.

Audio clip: J. Edgar Hoover, he was the most feared man in the history of the United States government. For 48 years, he defended the country against crime, subversion and corruption. He was never elected, he was never opposed. He could never be bought. But he knew everyone who could, everyone. How did he control the Kennedys? What did he know about Martin Luther King? Why did he defy President Nixon? What really happened to ‘The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover’? This is the story of the real J. Edgar Hoover and the people whose lives he controlled.

Larry Cohen: Which is a political documentary, horror story in a way about the FBI Director and all that happened in American politics and the corruption of almost every particular politician or public figure in this story. It’s just one after the other you see the cynicism and the corruption of people who run the government and what we’re facing today in terms of dissatisfaction with our leadership is nothing new, this stuff’s been going on for generations. Everybody was a bad guy. It’s one of the reasons why the picture really wasn’t successful when it was initially released because, if you were a Democrat, you were offended by the picture, because of the way we treated Roosevelt and if you were a Republican, you were offended because of the way we treated Nixon. And we also didn’t handle Lyndon Johnson too friendly a way either. So, no matter what side of the street you’re on, you had a bone to pick with this movie. And if you’re going to make a successful movie in this country, you got to take one side or the other, you can’t lambast everybody, but we did. And the picture was way ahead of its time because we indicated that the leading FBI people were responsible for the Watergate and that Deep Throat was a top member of the FBI, which was absolutely true, even names Mark Felt as being Deep Throat, but none of the political analysts at the time cared to make any note of it because they thought how could a filmmaker go out there and come up with information that the journalists seemed to be completely ignorant of. So, to this day, they still haven’t figured it out Watergate.

Beth Accomando: And how did you kind of come up with that story?

Larry Cohen: I went to Washington and I interviewed a lot of the retired FBI assistant directors, some of the top people of the bureau, people who liked Hoover and people who hated him and I got a lot of information. I had a fellow named John Crewdson, who was the New York Times writer who covered the FBI and had him as his technical advisor and that gave me access to a lot of people. And I gathered all this information and put it in the picture but, you know, most of the journalists chose to ignore everything in the movie because nobody wanted to credit a filmmaker with having gotten all this cogent information. To this day, nobody understands Watergate at all, because if you look at it, Nixon would never have been deposed if, Spiro Agnew, his vice president, had still been in power. Nobody wanted Agnew. He was worse than Nixon. The only way they could get to Nixon is to get rid of Agnew first. So, Mark Felt and the FBI executives, they destroyed Spiro Agnew first, got rid of him and then went after Nixon and destroyed Dixon. So, nobody has ever put this into context. It’s like they’re totally oblivious of the fact that they had to get rid of Spiro Agnew before they could get rid of Nixon, so it was part of the same conspiracy. And the prosecutors who handled the Spiro Agnew case stated in their book which nobody read, I’m sure, that they got the information from the same source as Woodward and Bernstein did. So, nobody has really gone back and come up with a full understanding of what happened.

Beth Accomando: All right, this makes me want to show that film again.

Larry Cohen: Yeah, you should see it. It’s a good movie and the performances are just great.

Beth Accomando: You’ve always gotten great actors in your film too; you have a really good eye for casting some people young in their career and also picking up some people kind of later in their career as well.

Larry Cohen: Well, these actors always say to me that they did their very best work working in my films. I mean, these are people who’ve been around for, you know, generations and worked at studios and many of them won Academy Awards and they were happy when I phoned them and asked them to be in my movie. There’s an awful lot of challenge of people out in Hollywood who’ve won Academy Awards that are sitting home staring at their statue and the phone never rings. So, I wanted to grab these people and put them in a movie. And they often said that the best work they ever did was in my films.

Beth Accomando: How do you compare filmmaking when you started out to the way it is now? Do you think that if you started now, would you have gone off on a very kind of career or not been able to make some of the films you did? How do you compare the two?

Larry Cohen: Well, you know, if the same thing was happening today as then, if I was successful in television and had some series on the air and significant amount of money, I could’ve gone out and made whatever I wanted to. As it was, I never invested my own money in any of my films. I never put a penny myself. It was always presold to people before I started shooting and I didn’t have to finance anything myself. So, it probably would be pretty much the same today if I was successful in television. I’d be able to move over into my features. [indiscernible] [00:31:01] different today is that most low budget pictures don’t get any theatrical release anymore. They go directly to cable, so you won’t get to see your movies playing in theaters. And some of my movies were very successful at the box office. I made a lot of money on some of these films. And matter of fact, today, checks keep coming in from movies that are 40 and 50 years old. They’re still generating income. So, you know, I’m very happy about that. I don’t know if we would have gotten that break if we were making the pictures today and they just popped them right on to home video or on to cable. So, you know, I’m happy that the time was right for me to make those films, when there was still a possibility of theatrical play. For the films today, you know, all the theaters are filled with these $250 million blockbusters. If there were six theaters in a multiplex, five of them were all playing the same big picture and one theater is playing the marginal product, and there’s plenty of that. So, you don’t really get into these theaters anymore. And even then, the advertising cost is so high that you can’t really compete with the blockbuster movies. They spend so much money on advertising and the advertising rates are so high and you just can’t afford to advertise your movie anymore. And if you don’t advertise, how is everybody going to know to see it? So, that’s the problem.

Beth Accomando: And so many of these films are much better on a big screen and with an audience.

Larry Cohen: Well, the fun of the movie is going to see it with an audience. I mean, I loved to go to a theater and see one of my pictures. They do play them in revivals around the country and I like to go and see the picture on a big screen. I’m not like some of these filmmakers who say they never look at their pictures anymore. Woody Allen says he finishes a film, he never looks at it again. Well, that’s like saying you never say hello to an old friend. You know, I get a nice happy feeling watching my pictures because I remember all the fun we had making them.

Beth Accomando: Well, I just had the privilege of seeing ‘It’s Alive’ at the New Bev All Night Horror Marathon on 35 millimeters, so …

Larry Cohen: Yes.

Beth Accomando: … that was a lot of fun with a packed house.

Larry Cohen: Did they react well?

Beth Accomando: Oh yeah.

Larry Cohen: Well, that’s good. That was a very successful picture for me. It made a lot of money for me. I was able to buy a Brownstone on 79th Street Off Park Avenue in Manhattan with the money from that picture. And that Brownstone is today worth $18 million. So, what can I tell you?

Beth Accomando: And where did the idea for ‘The Baby’ come from?

Larry Cohen: I’ll tell you, I saw one of my kids when she was born in the crib having a furious fit. And I said, my God, if this baby could get out of that crib, it would tear everybody to pieces. I mean, there’s nothing as angry and exhibit so much fury as a frustrated infant. So, I said, well, there’s my next movie.

Beth Accomando: And it inspired some sequels too, so.

Larry Cohen: Well, we made three of them.

Beth Accomando: Yeah.

Larry Cohen: Only because the first one was so successful. That first picture was so successful, it was number one in the box office charts. And some of the foreign countries that it played in, it broke records all around the world, I mean, it was – I was constantly getting phone calls from foreign sales representatives telling me how sensationally the picture was doing in some areas. In one area, it was the second most popular movie in the history of Warner Bros. Studios, but that was in Singapore. I had a laugh. I said if this is the second most popular movie from Warner Bros. ever to play in Singapore, exceeded only by ‘My Fair Lady’, I had to laugh. I mean, when I told the Hollywood distributors at Warner Bros. about the business in Singapore, they laughed me out of the studio [lot]. I said – who cares about Singapore, they said, and I said, well, it certainly did impress, it certainly impressed me anyway. And of course, in today’s marketplace, Asian countries like China are major, major markets for motion pictures. So, if that picture was playing today in China, it would probably do $100 million.

Beth Accomando: Well, one of the films – one of your films that’s a favorite among friends of mine is ‘The Stuff’. What kind of inspired you to make that?

Larry Cohen: Well, you know, I was talking to myself about consumerism and the audacity of these corporations to put out products on the market that are going to kill people, and they know it. I mean, the cigarette industry for years denied that cigarettes were toxic and made statements under oath at Congressional hearings and lied about their research. I mean, and killed probably, you know, more people died from cigarettes than died in World War II on both sides. I mean, they were giving away free cigarettes to the soldiers and sailors during World War II in order to addict an entire young generation, so when they came back from the war they would be addicted to cigarettes for the rest of their lives. And it worked, and they ended up killing more people than died in the war. So, these are terrible people and they have no conscience. This goes on today, as medication’s being pulled off the market all the time because they try not to be toxic. And every time I watch commercials on television, they’re nothing but products – medical products telling you, you should use this product followed by 30 seconds of disclaimers about the harm this will do to you, heart attack, stroke, death, blindness, I mean, it’s a joke to listen to these commercials because usually most of the commercial is warnings about the product. So, they put these things out in the market and they do damage to the people. So, I thought well, let’s see what kind of product I can make up, so we created a killer ice cream.

Audio clip: No, don’t eat that. I saw it moving in the refrigerator. Here Jason, take some. There is something alive in there. It must be a side-effect of eating too much dessert. We are not alone. America is in grave danger. So, are you prepared to say on the air that you’ve actually seen people devoured by The Stuff? Oh hell yes, and what’s worse, I’ve seen what’s left of them when The Stuff gets through and comes back out.

Beth Accomando: It seems like a lot your films have kind of that social commentary lying underneath that something that concerns you and that you invest in these films even though they’re, you know, may be dismissed genre films or horror films or science fiction.

Larry Cohen: They’re entertaining, yeah, you know, I could have made a movie about poisonous products on the market, but it wouldn’t have been any fun. But The Stuff was entertaining, it was fun, it was suspenseful, had some great performances, and I got the point across the same way as an entertainment product rather than a documentary.

Beth Accomando: Well, speaking of documentary, how did King Cohen come up and how do you feel about this documentary?

Larry Cohen: Well, I didn’t have anything to do with it. I mean, in terms of the inception, they came to me and said they wanted to do a movie about me and they wanted to call it King Cohen and I couldn’t object to that but, you know, it’s nice to be crowned as a king of something although I don’t know what I’m king of. And I did not have any input into the making of the film. I didn’t see it until just recently up in Canada at Montreal Film Festival is the first time I saw it. So, it was all new to me and I haven’t yet digested it all, it’s a little stunning to see your life depicted on the screen. But I am glad they made the film and won the Best Documentary in Montreal and it’s been played in London and it’s been played in Spain, it’s been played all over – I think they’re showing it in Dublin this week. It’s playing all over the world in film festivals and getting wonderful response. So, what can I say? I mean, I wouldn’t have made it myself, but I’m happy somebody else thought to do it and they did spend a lot of time and a lot of money making the picture and we are hoping to get very wide distribution for the film.

Beth Accomando: Do you hope this inspires people to go back to your own films?

Larry Cohen: Oh, I would think that after seeing it they’d want to go out and rent one of my pictures or order it on the internet. Most of my films are available on Netflix. You just say my name, my picture comes up, and then a list 14 or so of my movies and you can just choose them and rent them right there on the spot. You don’t have to look for a video store like you did in the old days and you don’t have to search them out, they’re all there for you. So, I would hope people will just pop on there and I also have a website called and that’s got a lot of interesting stuff from my movies and I would recommend any fans [look it up at] and see what’s there.

Beth Accomando: And do you have things there that are helpful to young filmmakers coming out, any advice?

Larry Cohen: There are some interviews I’ve done that are on there that make some suggestions, but all in all I can’t advise filmmakers to do anything but make their film. That’s all you can do. I mean, if you – but it’s a good idea to work out your storyline in advance because not everybody is Larry Cohen and not everybody is going to be able to come up with their screenplay while they’re shooting it and innovate new scenes and new sequences and make changes just because of a location or because you particularly fall in love with an actor’s performance and you want to enhance it. I can do all those things because I’m a writer and a director, but most people can’t do it. So, they have to be more careful than I was.

Beth Accomando: Well, I want to thank you very much for taking some time and speaking with me, it’s been great.

Larry Cohen: Well, obviously you know something about my films and I appreciate that.

Beth Accomando: That was writer, director, producer, Larry Cohen. He’s the subject of a new documentary called King Cohen, directed by Steve Mitchell. Here’s a clip from the documentary featuring Cohen and actor Fred Williamson talking about Black Caesar.

Larry Cohen: Every time there’d be a stunt that had to be done, I would have to do it first. I’d say, okay Fred, you’re in this cab, get to the corner, open the door and throw yourself out onto the sidewalk. Threw myself out on the sidewalk. Yeah, yeah, that’s it. You’ll be fine. Okay, Cohen. You do it first. And I go in the cab; I’d throw myself out of the cab on the sidewalk. Okay, well, that was it. No problem.

Fred Williamson: But he didn’t fall out of no cab, I promise you that. Larry did not fall out of a cab.

Larry Cohen: Then I go around the corner where he couldn’t see me and I go, ah, Christ, this is terrible.

Fred Williamson: Larry Cohen is no athlete. No matter how he jumps out of a cab, it’s going to be wrong, so it don’t really matter, he’s going to hurt himself no matter what he does. Stepping out of the cab, he might hurt himself.

Larry Cohen: So, okay, let’s do it, Fred. Then, he’ll go around the corner, he’ll throw himself out on to the sidewalk, he’d get up. You’re right, nothing to it. Then he’d go around the corner where I couldn’t see him, yeah, gee, that Cohen, I hate that bastard.

Fred Williamson: That’s a Larry myth. That’s a Larry myth.

Beth Accomando: Mitchell explains how his documentary on Larry Cohen came about.

Steve Mitchell: Well, I was trying to create a job for myself. I was working in the DVD and Blu-ray special features area and I was kind of interested in doing something that was my own project, something that interested me, sort of as a fan, as a filmmaker et cetera. And I was a big Larry Cohen fan and one day I was looking at his IMDb page just to check out a credit and I sort of was presented with all of these credits that I didn’t know, and I like to think I’m pretty much on top of stuff if I’m a fan of a filmmaker and I was kind of overwhelmed by the amount of writing credits he had. I knew most of his directing credits, but his writing credits were really much broader and longer than I ever knew. I said, you know, this kind of interesting to me and then I noticed that he did – he was doing all those mainstream work concurrent with all of his Larco movies. And I said, wow, he was working in mainstream and working independently at the same time and Hollywood, not so much today, but back in the day was – they had a tendency to pigeonhole you. If you were a TV guy, you only did television. If you were a feature guy, if you were lucky enough, you stayed a feature guy. If you were a low budget guy, you were a low budget guy. Well, Larry was, you know, he was all of those and none of those at the same time. He basically did what he wanted to do and sort of did it with great ease, you know, apparent great ease. I mean, working in the film business is always difficult on some level. But, yeah, he was shuttling back and forth and I said, you know, this is very impressive. And then of course, you know, he started writing at the end of the live TV era. So, I started thinking about this and I said, you know, maybe this is a documentary. And also, Larry, you know, Larry’s reputation is mostly he’s doing B movies and genre movies, you know, and I thought that, you know, there would be enough [appeal] here perhaps on a number of different levels. And then, eventually, I found a couple of likeminded fellows who were fans of Larry’s and, you know, we sat down and we said, you know, we’re going to do this and here we are.

Beth Accomando: And in creating the documentary, what did you want to convey about him? What did you want to kind of get across to an audience that maybe had never seen a Larry Cohen film?

Steve Mitchell: Well, you know, it’s interesting, you find the narrative when you cut the picture. I’m not entirely sure what my initial ideas were. I mean, I wanted to tell a story about an interesting idiosyncratic filmmaker who’s had a very, very long career that was mostly executed on his terms, in his way. What happened when we were cutting it was I sort of discovered that, in addition to being just sort of incredibly talented, you know, Larry was very willful, very independent minded and also very entertaining, and I said, you know, this is a guy who is very modern in his approach to making films in some ways and very old school at the same time. But the other thing that sort of happened when we were cutting the picture is, you know, it sort of became a tribute to the way movies used to be made. I mean, you know, Larry’s decision process was very in the moment, whereas most movies today are products of a lot of discussion and sometimes corporate decision. And so, I wanted ultimately in telling his story, and it’s a story of a very interesting creative force, I also wound up telling a story about the way movies used to be made and how things were simpler, more from the hip and, you know, not overly thought out. I mean, you know, today, I think every movie, whether it’s a $2,000 movie or a $200 million movie, I think a lot of people sit around talking about it, worrying about it. Larry didn’t care. Larry’s attitude was this is an interesting story, I want to tell it, who’s going to give me a check to make it? And I like that. I just sort of like that kind of simple maverick approach that he took to making movies. And I think movies might be better today if they were made a little bit more from the hip the way Larry did back in the day.

Beth Accomando: Do you remember the first film of his that you saw or the first one that made an impact where you go I want to know who this director is?

Steve Mitchell: Yeah, well, that’s a simple question with two answers. The first time I really noticed Larry, I was really a very young boy and I think I had seen an episode of The Invaders, the TV series he did with Roy Thinnes. And I remembered his card, you know, at the end of the show, it would say ‘Created by Larry Cohen.’ He got a big single card and of course that – his name, you know, was in front of this great image of a flying saucer, which was very representative of that series. It was very iconic. So I kind of that – his name stuck with me, but the first movie of his that I really, I think I really noticed was It’s Alive, which is the monster baby movie that he did. But I saw that picture when it was reissued in ’76. It apparently had been issued or released rather in ’73 and it was not successful and Larry literally pestered Warner Bros. to get them to reissue it and they did in ‘76 with a different campaign. And I think the campaign was so engaging and so arresting that, you know, the idea of a monster baby was specific in that campaign while it was unspecific in the original campaign. And I said, well, monster baby, what the hell is this? And so, I went to go see it and I said, well, this is strange, this is weird, this is original. And again, I said, well, there’s this Larry Cohen guy. And before the IMDb existed, I sort of tried to absorb every credit I could ever see just so I would know who was who and I paid a lot of attention. Then I started, you know, I looked for his movies and I saw ‘God Told Me To’, which was – which is a very bizarre, original, interesting picture. And then, you know, around 1980, the movie of his that really cemented me as a Larry Cohen fan was Q: The Winged Serpent, but It’s Alive kind of got the ball rolling. And you know, again, I was always very interested in guys who wrote, produced and directed their movies because there weren’t a lot of hyphenates like that around. There are very few today, I mean, you know, Quentin Tarantino kind of comes to mind immediately and there are a few others, but, you know, there were not a lot of hyphenates at the time. So, yeah, Larry was on my radar, but Larry was on my radar basically because of the originality of his movies and the ideas. I mean, if you were just to look at his films, you would say, what does this guy eat for breakfast? I mean, you know, he’s just such an original thinker. And then of course as the years went on, especially when, you know, you could watch movies on video, I went back and I kind of got familiar with his Blaxsploitation movies and a bunch of his other pictures.

Beth Accomando: Well, the thing about his films that I really like or I love is that they all seem to start kind of within a formula that you’re familiar with, like a police procedural or something, and then there’s some point in them where they just take some wild like left turn and you’re just like, whoa, where did that come from?

Steve Mitchell: Well, that’s kind of Larry in a nutshell, isn’t it? But …

Beth Accomando: Yeah.

Steve Mitchell: … I think the thing about Larry that Larry did before a lot of people did was he would do what I would call genre mash-ups. You know, he would take one genre and then marry it to another genre. And I think that’s an extension of who Larry is. I think Larry gets bored easily, so he’s always looking for ways to sort of take maybe one kind of movie and then spin it a little bit into two kinds of movies. I think, Q: The Winged Serpent is to me, you know, his sort of masterpiece in a lot of ways, but it’s also his masterpiece because it’s a New York street crime movie, it’s a police procedural on some level and it’s a whacky monster picture, and it’s a character story. You know, Michael Moriarty’s character is maybe the most interesting character in any of Larry’s pictures and that comes directly from Larry embracing Moriarty and tailoring that part to who Moriarty is kind of as a person and also as a creative force, the whole thing that – with Jimmy Quinn, Moriarty’s character as a piano player, that’s because Moriarty could play a piano. Larry said, well, I like that, let’s use that, let’s bring that into the movie. And Larry was always very open to improvisation and change and doing things again spur of the moment which I think frightens a lot of filmmakers, but it doesn’t frighten Larry at all. But, yeah, Larry was way ahead of, you know, the trend I think which was in the ‘80s where you would have certain genre movies that would be married to other genres. Two quick examples of that would be Predator, which is kind of a jungle war movie and a science fiction picture, and then of course you have Aliens which was essentially a science fiction horror movie with a strong military, you know, slant to it. And those were considered, you know, somewhat revolutionary at the time, but except Larry had been doing that years earlier.

Beth Accomando: Now, I had the privilege to interview him the other day and he defines himself as being somebody who doesn’t like to be told what to do and doesn’t like, you know, to fit in a box or anything. So, I’m just curious in terms of getting him on board for this and sitting him down for interviews, what was that experience like? Was he like very amenable to this or did he [burst out], I’m curious what he was like in terms of getting him to partake.

Steve Mitchell: Well, for starters, when I had the idea to do the picture originally, and I was going to do it through crowd funding, I said, you know, I got to find out if Larry wants a movie made about him. And I knew someone who could get me his phone number. And so, I got his phone number and I said all right, I took a deep breath and I said, okay, here we go. And you know, I punched the number and, you know, then it rang I think two or three times and I hear, ‘hello’ and I said, hi, is this Larry Cohen? Yes, it is, and basically I explained who I was and what I wanted to do. And he said, come on over to the house, that’s my bad Larry Cohen impersonation by the way. And so, I went up to his house, the famous house which appears in a lot of his films. And he made me a cup of coffee, gave me a couple of cookies and, you know, I said, I’m interested in doing this project and he says, well, he would be interested in having the project done or something like that. He says if you can get it financed, I’ll help you anyway I can. And so, Larry was true to his initial word and he was always available. He’s still always available to us for anything that we need. And so, yeah, he was game right out of the gate. And then when we went to his house for the first shoot, I think it was one of four interviews, you know, I mean, I went with pages of questions. And you know, basically I learned very quickly that if you sit Larry down in front of a camera and you say, talk about your career, he’s off to the races. I mean, I literally could have just said to the guys, all right, let’s go out and have lunch, just left Larry in the chair, let the camera roll and he would have still been talking by the time we came back after lunch. I mean, Larry is a master raconteur as I’m sure you’ve discovered. And you know, he just has so much to say, so many different tales from his colorful careers like he’s like one of the easiest interviews on the planet. I mean, he makes a very good copy.

Beth Accomando: And how is it getting – I mean, he worked with a lot of amazing actors, some he picked up early in their career, some that he found people who were later in their career and put them to use in his films, but how was it getting a lot of these people that he worked with to come on board to talk about them?

Steve Mitchell: Most people basically were happy to talk about Larry. I mean, Larry has engendered a lot of positive attitude to the people that he’s worked with. I mean, one of the phrases that I would hear a lot is, oh, I love Larry, we love Larry. So, it was basically a matter of finding people and working with their schedules, but a lot of people were willing to talk to Larry. I mean, there were a few that I did not get to talk with that I wanted to, Joel Schumacher being one of them, was – I don’t think he was reluctant to talk about Larry, but I think he was just reluctant to talk to us. I wanted to get Tony Lo Bianco, but for some reason, and it might be my fault because I probably didn’t – I didn’t go back enough in trying to get to him. You know, I connected with his answering machine and I explained who I was and what I was doing and I never heard from him and that might be my fault. I would’ve liked to have talked to Tony Lo Bianco because he did Got Told Me To, which is a very original picture that he did for Larry. Also he’s in The French Connection, which is like my second favorite movie of all time. And so I would have liked to have chatted with him. But I basically got most of the people that I wanted or most of the people that I thought I needed to talk to. I mean, it took a while to find Michael Moriarty, but we felt that Moriarty was, as we said, a big get because Moriarty had starred in five pictures of Larry’s and they have this great relationship. So, yeah, people were very willing to talk to me about Larry. They were very generous with their time and it’s, you know, I don’t think – there were very few people who said, no, I have nothing to say about Larry Cohen. They were all very willing to chat.

Beth Accomando: And do you hope the documentary in part will inspire people who maybe have never seen one of his films or have seen one of them to seek out more of what he’s done?

Steve Mitchell: Well, I think we have run into people who have seen the documentary or we’ve shown it to people and they say gee, I didn’t really know that much about this guy. I might want to check out a couple of his movies. Our lawyer who reviewed the movie was not a Larry Cohen fan per se, but she found that he was very interesting as a character and this person and she found his work or at least the pieces of his work that she saw in the movie very interesting to her and she said well, I don’t know if I’m going to become a fan, but I’m curious. And I think when you do any movie like this, when you’re doing a documentary, you want to expose people to something that they might not be aware of. And if they see the movie, they’re going to see somebody who is, you know, listen he’s a maverick. He says I don’t want to listen to people, I don’t want to do what they say, I want to do it my way. He is not a kind of filmmaker that exists today. I mean, and I think people respond to that. I think they respond to the fact that he’s funny, I think they respond to the fact that he was daring, I think they respond to the fact that he was bold, I think they respond to the fact that his ideas are original. And I think at the end of his movies, there’s always that card that says ‘A Larry Cohen Film’ and I’ve said this before but that card is earned. Some people, they get that credit on a movie a so-and-so film, well, that movie is really the synthesis of sometimes thousands of people doing a movie. Well, at the end of a Larry Cohen movie, that movie is that movie because Larry Cohen made that happen, and granted he’s working on a much smaller level. I don’t know that Larry could ever do a bigger corporate type picture but his credit is earned and I think people respond to that. And they go, well, this guy’s interesting. And I think in our society today, especially our filmgoing [and pop cultural] society, people still respond to something that is interesting. In fact, I think interesting is the most important thing somebody can be as an actor, as a filmmaker, as a director, as a singer, as a musician, because one of the things that seems to be happening today is that because most entertainment is filtered through a corporate mindset, it has to appeal to the sort of the broadest level of audience because it’s about making money. It wasn’t always about making money back in the day, but I think show and business kind of weren’t colliding as much as they are today. You can have the show if you did business. And I think Larry was very lucky that he did what he did when he did because Hollywood was changing and Hollywood was embracing a more independent minded approach to filmmaking and his also very street approach, you know. When Larry started making his own movies, he was doing it right around 1970 and Hollywood was changing at the time, so Larry’s timing was very good. And success is usually a combination of luck, timing and talent, and I think Larry was very fortunate in that his luck and his timing and his talent all came to play at the same time, and that’s why he was able to do what he was able to do.

Beth Accomando: Do you find that his films are readily accessible now? Can people find them with any great ease or are they still kind of difficult to track down?

Steve Mitchell: I mean, I think everybody watches movies streaming now. If they can’t stream it, they don’t want to watch it. But that being said, I think his movies are probably more available now than they may have been in the past. I mean, there are these things called Blu-ray players and they work pretty well and if you can find a Blu-ray for a movie, most of his catalog is out there. Some of it is not and some of it is on the way. One of the things that I’ve done is I’m always looking at announcements for upcoming Blu-rays. And Larry and I have done a lot of couple of commentary tracks together for some of his movies. One of his movies, you know, one was the sequel to Black Caesar, movie called Hell Up in Harlem which is a wild crazy Larry Cohen from the hip movie, and the we also did a commentary for one of his lesser films, lesser in terms of size and notoriety, which is special effects, which is one of two movies he did back to back in New York in the ‘80s that were sort of done most like as underground movies. They didn’t even have SAG actors in the movie and they were done very low budget in New York on the fly, but they’re both very interesting. So even those sort of more hidden Larry Cohen movies are becoming available at least on Blu-ray. And then audiences can see them looking better than ever, I mean, Special Effects looks great, God Told Me To looks great. I mean a lot of these movies that he did were, you know, Larry always used to say that he hated movie lab as a film laboratory because the [indiscernible] [01:05:38] that the movies were processed and were dirty and were not changed. And so even if you saw a Larry Cohen movie on day one at your theater, sometimes the prints weren’t really that good. Well, now you can see a lot his movies looking better than they ever looked. And so, it’s a good time to start checking into Larry’s pictures and seeking them out because they’ll look good and they will have less of a Grindhouse feel to them, which I have to admit is sort of charming, but the material can be found. It’s his TV stuff which is sort of hard to find, although that is also showing up to some lesser degree.

Beth Accomando: In creating the documentary, was there anything that either he revealed or one of the other people you interviewed revealed that you were just like, ah, this is like so great or this is – I’m so glad I got that?

Steve Mitchell: Wow, wait, that’s a relatively simple question and I don’t even know if I have any answer for that. I learned so much about Larry. I mean I don’t know what our total raw footage number was, but I think I had about somewhere between 15 and 20 hours of interview content with Larry alone. And then I talked to, I don’t know, 20-plus – 20-some odd people, I should have these numbers but I don’t and then I got hours and hours with them. So, I probably had somewhere between 35 and 45 hours of raw footage and I learned so much. I think the thing that I learned that I found somewhat charming was Traci Lords Lawrence was cast in a TV movie that Larry produced and directed and wrote, and she was sort of coming off her very notorious period in the adult film business and Larry I think had interviewed her and thought she was right for this part. And then everybody was going, oh, I don’t know Larry, you know, she has this checkered past. And, well, Larry’s attitude was he didn’t care. He thought that she was really good, she was good for the part and wanted to cast her. So, I was very sort of taken by the fact that Larry was – one, he recognized her ability as an actress and, two, he fought for her. You know, sometimes in television a lot of people will not rock the boat. Well, Larry has rocked the boat his entire career. And I was sort of touched and charmed by the fact that he supported Traci and she ultimately did the TV movie and she was very good in it. I think the thing that surprised me about Larry more than anything else were his balls. The ballsiness that he brought to making movies on the fly without unions, without permits, in New York City, that’s my hometown, I know how New York City works, I know those streets, I know how it’s wired, and Larry’s attitude was, well, I don’t care. I’m going to do what I want to do and I just, you know, the nerve and the courage that he had, that surprised me. There’s a lot to Larry. He’s a very complex guy. I think he has a lot of heart, I think he has a lot of nerve, I think he has a certain degree of arrogance, but his arrogance supports his goals as a filmmaker. He’s an interesting guy. I mean, when I watch movies, I’m always looking for complexity in character, and Larry is a complex guy. I think the other thing that surprised me about him, and this was a kind of a cumulative effect was the fact that he’s still a standup comedian. I found out that he started doing standup and he decided he didn’t want to do it as a career, but that DNA is still in him, the performer DNA is still in him, and I’m fascinated by that. And you know, you’ve talked with him, so you can tell that Larry is a very entertaining guy.

Beth Accomando: Oh yes. And for you, what is your personal favorite film of his and why?

Steve Mitchell: Well, it’s got to be Q: The Winged Serpent because I mentioned before, the genre mash-up wackiness of it was very entertaining. The idea of a creature flying over New York City and plucking people off rooftops and construction sites, I mean that’s just a whacky, nutty idea, but at the end of the day what I like about it is really Michael Moriarty’s performance, which I think is spectacular. But having said that, a very, very close second Larry Cohen movie is The Ambulance, which is again another picture that he shot mostly in New York. Again, the idea that this ambulance is running around doing malevolent things and it represents this larger plot about getting people and mining their organs and all of that, and just again with those wild whacky Larry Cohen filters. I mean, those are kind of my two favorites and we’re doing a film festival in Chicago in a couple of weeks. We’re going to be showing our film and then the night after that we’re going to be screening The Ambulance and Eric Roberts will be there. And you know, that’ll be exciting because I’ve seen The Ambulance in the theater once with a very receptive audience. And the audience went nuts and I’m very curious to see it again with another audience in a very big theater. I think it’s going to be screening in a big theater in Chicago, because they’re fun. Those two movies are also so much fun. They’re wild, they’re whacky, they’re fun, they have interesting characters, the performances are great. They’re two really – to me, those are my two favorite Larry Cohen movies. I know other people love The Stuff, a number of people we talked with are big fans of God Told Me To, of course It’s Alive movies are just crazy, but Q and The Ambulance are my two favorites.

Beth Accomando: All right. Well, I want to thank you very much for taking some time to talk to me about the documentary and I look forward to seeing it.

Steve Mitchell: Oh well, thanks for talking with me about it. Hopefully I was – hopefully you want to see the movie, you know, that’s the important thing.

Beth Accomando: That was filmmaker Steve Mitchell. His documentary King Cohen is making the festival rounds and screens November 13th at DOC New York. Thanks for listening to another edition of Listener Supported KPBS Cinema Junkie podcast. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please tell a friend to take a listen. Your recommendation is the best way to promote the podcast. I would also appreciate it if you left a review in iTunes to help boost the visibility of the show. Coming up will be show, ‘Celebrating the Uncomfortable, Cinema of David Cronenberg and a discussion of horror movies as spiritual practice. That’ll be just in time for Christmas. I’m also working on delivering the show on a more regular bi-weekly schedule with a short break at the holidays. You can follow me on twitter at cinebeth and please like the Cinema Junkie Facebook page to stay up to date with all the podcasts. Till our next film fix, I’m Beth Accomando, your resident Cinema Junkie.

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Cinema Junkie

Satisfy your celluloid addiction with the Cinema Junkie podcast, where you can mainline film 24/7. This film and entertainment series is run by KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando. So if you need a film fix, want to hear what filmmakers have to say about their work, or just want to know what's worth seeing this weekend, then you've come to the right place