Directed by: Steve Mitchell
USA/Canada, 2017, 109m
New York City of the 1960s and ‘70s was the stuff of cinematic legend: a lawless Wild East full of frontiersmen and women who walked out of film schools directly on to the crime-filled streets to turn the entire city into their set. It was also the time of Grindhouse theaters and Times Square hucksters who could drag you kicking and screaming into a film with an ad that read “To avoid fainting, keep repeating, it’s ONLY a movie!” Larry Cohen is one of the great American mavericks—like Roger Corman and William Castle—an exploitation pitchman like no other, who can sell a screenplay with a logline he ripped from that morning’s newspaper; and a fiercely independent filmmaker who bucked the studio system to make his movies, his way, eschewing the finer details—like shooting permits or insurance. In this love letter to the man who gave the world Hell Comes to Harlem, It’s Alive, Black Caesar, Q: The Winged Serpent, The Stuff, and Maniac Cop, a who’s who of Hollywood legends—including J.J. Abrams, Martin Scorsese, Fred Williamson, Joe Dante, John Landis, Traci Lords, Yaphet Kotto, Eric Roberts, and so many more—share hilarious, dangerous, and outright contradictory stories of a man who has dared not only to live by his own cinematic rules, but to have succeeded beyond all measure at delivering six decades full of some of the most outrageous movies ever made.