Documentary: King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen (2018) - Reviewed

Do you like genre films? Have you ever seen Q, or Black Caesar, or The Stuff?  Well, if you answered yes to any of these, then you've seen the work of Larry Cohen. That name may not seem familiar, but you're more than likely to be familiar with his work. His films may not be the type to win Oscars anytime soon, but they're bloody, shocking, and a hell of a lot of fun!  

Written and Directed by Steve Mitchell, King Cohen (2018) documents the career of Larry Cohen, starting with his roots creating and writing television shows such as Branded and The Invaders in the 60's, to directing and eventually producing feature films in subsequent decades. The film features interviews with a multitude of guests ranging anywhere from Martin Scorsese and J.J. Abrams to Tara Reid and Traci Lords, each providing their own anecdotes on either working with Larry, or just sharing how his work has touched them. Of course, there is also plenty of input from Larry himself, discussing his methodology in the film-making process. There's something inspiring hearing him talk about people would constantly tell him that's not the way things were done, but he didn't care, he was going to do things his way! That sort of thinking is largely what set him apart from other filmmakers. This documentary probably wouldn't exist if not for it.

As far as documentaries go, this follows the standard format of blending a multitude of talking head interviews with footage from Larry Cohen's films and television shows throughout the years. This is by no means a criticism. It's a simple, endearing look at the career of a beloved B-movie maverick. He may not have changed cinema to the effect of someone such as Orson Welles or Alfred Hitchcock, but nonetheless, his radical method of filmmaking over the last 50 years has still left an impact on the industry, and he has an army of devoted cult fans to prove it. Anyone curious to explore some of the more unconventional aspects of film should give the works of Larry Cohen a try, and then definitely check out King Cohen afterwards.

--Derek Miranda