(US - 1993)
Written and directed by Larry Cohen. Cast: Eric Roberts, James Earl Jones, Megan Gallagher, Red Buttons, Eric Braeden, Richard Bright, Janine Turner, James Dixon, Nick Chinlund, Laurene Landon, Stan Lee, Jill Gatsby, Matt Norklum, Rudy Jones, Susan Blommaert, Beatrice Winde. (R, 96 mins)
Though he's not well-known these days outside of cult movie circles, Larry Cohen has had one of the more eclectic careers in Hollywood history. Born in 1941, Cohen got his start writing for TV shows like THE DEFENDERS and THE FUGITIVE in the 1960s. He was just 24 when he created the Chuck Connors western series BRANDED and a few years later, was the driving force behind the Roy Thinnes sci-fi series THE INVADERS before graduating to big-screen writing gigs with 1966's RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, 1969's DADDY'S GONE-A-HUNTING and the 1970 Jim Brown western EL CONDOR. He made his directing debut with the 1972 blaxploitation/home invasion indie BONE, headlined by a young Yaphet Kotto, before moving on to his breakout 1973 Fred Williamson blaxploitation hits BLACK CAESAR and its immediate sequel HELL UP IN HARLEM. Though he's dabbled in a little of everything from political biopics (1977's THE PRIVATE FILES OF J. EDGAR HOOVER) to film noir (writing 1982's I, THE JURY) to cop movies (1987's DEADLY ILLUSION) to high-concept nailbiters (he wrote the 2002 Colin Farrell-trapped-in-a-phone-booth thriller PHONE BOOTH), Cohen is most closely associated with the horror genre thanks to the 1974 mutant baby cult classic IT'S ALIVE. IT'S ALIVE flopped on its initial release but became a surprise hit when Warner Bros. relaunched it in 1977, eventually spawning two sequels (1978's IT LIVES AGAIN and 1987's IT'S ALIVE III: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE) and cementing Cohen's place in horror history. 1976's GOD TOLD ME TO also has a strong following, and 1982's Q, with a giant Aztec winged serpent taking up residence at the top of the Chrysler Building in NYC, is one of the strangest cult hits of its decade.