Greetings, and welcome back to Horror Business, the most excellent and rad podcast in the land. We have one awesome episode in store for you guys. On this episode we’re discussing a small sampling of the films of the great Larry Cohen: 1974’s It’s Alive and 1982’s Q: The Winged Serpent. There were some minor audio issues this episode so we apologize in advance!
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We begin by talking about what horror related things we had done lately. Liam discusses his recent venture to Chicago to attend the annual Cinepocalypse Festival where he was lucky enough to interview Eric Roberts for his other podcast Eric Roberts Is The Fucking Man. This ties in with this episode Liam was also fortunate enough to mingle with the likes of Larry Cohen out in Chicago.
Liam also discusses some of the films he saw while in Chicago, including The Lodgers, Lowlife, Snowflake, and Downrange. He also talks about catching the films Hellhouse LLC on Shudder. Justin talks about being misfortunate enough to see the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre film Leatherface that leads into a brief discussion on Stephen Dorff being an underrated actor. The obsession with horror remakes trying to make the villain endearing is briefly touched upon. Justin also talks watching The Vault, and then we briefly talk about Stranger Things and the upcoming adaption of Hellboy.
Up first is 1974’s It’s Alive. We start by giving a background on the work of Larry Cohen. We discuss the sort of surprise success of the film, especially given the studios reluctance to release the film given the somewhat controversial subject as well as the successful marketing campaign for the film.
The look of the movie, especially the camera work and cinematography, is discussed. Larry Cohen’s undeserved reputation as something of a blackly comic filmmaker is touched upon, as is It’s Alive’s clashing harshly with that. This leads to a discussion on Cohen’s ability to craft films with a deeper message and make that message palatable i.e. consumerism in The Stuff, class conflict in It’s Alive. The performances of the main characters, particularly those of John Ryan and Sharon Farrell, are discussed and examined as being the driving force of the film.
The corrupt nature of business and politics being embodied by the head of a shady company ordering the police to cover up the nature of the crime is discussed. Larry Cohen’s “run and gun” style is discussed, i.e. his disregard for obtaining permits to film in locations. His success as a director who can get great performances out of actors is discussed.
Up next is 1982’s Q: The Winged Serpent. We begin by giving a brief summation of the plot of the film. The blasé attitude of the police towards the cause of the ritual murders instead of the creature doing them is discussed.
Larry Cohen’s disregard for proper permits is again discussed, in regards to the climax of the film in which dozens of cops fire hundreds of blank rounds from atop the Chrysler Building unbeknownst to the citizens of New York City who had no idea a film was being shot but instead though a terrorist attack was happening.
Michael Moriarty’s stellar performance is deeply examined, especially how he perfectly embodies the “loveable loser” archetype.
Larry Cohen’s portrayal of New York City is discussed, with a comparison being made to Frank Henenlotter and Abel Ferrara. The nature of the visual effects, in that they are largely successful but when they fail they fail badly, is discussed.
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