Larry Cohen is a legendary writer, director, and producer of low-budget independent exploitation films, from blaxploitation movies like Bone, Black Caesar, and Hell Up in Harlem to horror movies like The Stuff, It’s Alive, and Maniac Cop. This documentary chronicles his body of work through interviews with Cohen, those he’s worked with (including Fred Williamson, Yaphet Kotto, Robert Forster, Rick Baker, and Michael Moriarty), and those he’s influenced (like JJ Abrams, Martin Scorsese, and John Landis). It’s a very straightforward film that’s exactly what you’d expect it to be, and it’s good.
My Friend Dahmer
Before he was a serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer was a high school student. He was an awkward kid who liked collecting roadkill and dissolving it down to the skeleton in acid, and who would occasionally pretend to be spastic. This latter activity drew the attention of a group of boys who thought it was funny and formed the Jeffrey Dahmer fan club as a means of goading him into doing it more. As school progressed, Dahmer became increasingly affected by violent urges. It’s a well-made film, but it meanders a bit and is ultimately nothing special.
The Accomplice (short film)
A man comes home from a business trip to find his answering machine full of messages from a friend orchestrating a bank robbery and involving him in it. It’s simple, quick, and funny.
Under the Tree
Agnes and Atli are in a martial slump. When she catches him watching a video in which he’s having sex with another woman, she throws him out, and he goes to stay with his parents. And by the way, his parents in an escalating with their neighbors over his parents’ tree and the neighbors’ dog. It’s a very dark film, and while it is frequently infused with a dry gallows humor, there are still many serious scenes, and it’s hard to call it a comedy.
Catherine (short film)
When her old, worn-out teddy bear finally falls apart, it’s replaced by a fish, which Catherine quickly loves to death. The same with the bird and the dog. Everything she loves dies. It’s simple but fun.
A man wakes up next to a crashed vehicle with a head injury and no memory of who he is. His driver’s license gives him his name (Liam) and address, and he starts to make his way from the remote crash site back to civilization. But he soon learns that all people and animals around him die if he gets too close. Except for another woman, who claims she was also in the crash and also has amnesia but no ID to tell her who she is. For some reason, her presence suppresses whatever force causes everyone to die. The police work out that Liam is somehow connected to the deaths of many people he came in contact with before working out what was going on, so Liam and Jane Doe must work together to figure out who they are, what happened, and what to do about it before the police catch up to them and separate them. It’s a really well-done film with a kind of sci-fi that’s right up my alley.
Ron Goossens: Low-Budget Stuntman
Ron Goossens is a drunk. He achieved a few minutes of fame when he was captured on video doing something stupid, and he’s given a job offer as a stuntman as a result. Meanwhile, his wife is fed up with him and his selfish, inebriated lifestyle. She won’t take him back until he proves that he has learned how to treat a woman, which he must demonstrate by wooing the hot leading lady of all of The Netherlands’ most successful films. It’s a terrible movie that is completely pointless and shockingly unfunny.