J.J. Abrams & Larry Cohen Developing Thriller Anthology Series

JJ Abrams

It's Alive and Q: The Winged Serpent director Larry Cohen is planning a comeback, working with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot to develop a thriller anthology series along the lines of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, with Cohen himself jumping behind the camera to direct at least a few of the episodes.

Cohen began his career in the 1970s as a director of low-budget Blacksploitation films and cheap-o thrillers. In 1974 he released It's Alive, his classic horror movie about a murderous demon-baby. In 1982 he released perhaps his best-regarded film today, the outrageous Q: The Winged Serpent about a mythological flying beast terrorizing New York. Cohen was known for giving his schlocky films a certain satiric edge, and this was never more apparent than in his anti-consumerist zombie horror comedy The Stuff. His career petered out in the 1990s after a string of forgettable thrillers but now Cohen is planning to revive his career on television.

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Speaking to Broke Horror Fan, Cohen revealed his plans for a 10-episode anthology thriller series with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot helping out:

The Stuff food horror movie

"We’re working on a series now for cable with J.J. Abrams, who is a big fan of mine, and his company, Bad Robot. Each season would be 10 original one-hour Larry Cohen thrillers. We’ve got about two seasons already written, ready to be shot. If that happens, it’ll be a whole new renaissance, and there will be a lot of my material out in the world, and I’ll direct some of them."

Cohen says he wants each episode to have a humorous introduction, something along the lines of Alfred Hitchcock's intros on Alfred Hitchcock Presents it sounds like, and he has someone in mind to play the role of presenter:

"That’s what it’s going to be, a thriller anthology. I’m hoping to get somebody like Christopher Walken to be the host and introduce them in a comedic way."

Cohen did have a hand in one previous horror anthology series, directing an episode of Mick Garris' Masters of Horror back in 2006. With anthology series suddenly being all the rage on television, Cohen seems to have picked the right time to try and get this project off the ground. In coming months we're getting a Western anthology from the Coen Brothers called The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a sci-fi anthology based on the works of Philip K. Dick called Electric Dreams, a Lovecraft-inspired anthology from Jordan Peele entitled Lovecraft Country and even a new series based on the works of Hitchcock, whose Alfred Hitchcock Presents was a seminal show in the form. Much of the demand for anthology series was kicked off by the popularity of Black Mirror, the dark sci-fi show that started on Britain's Channel 4 then migrated to Netflix.

Though Larry Cohen is certainly not as well-known as Hitchcock, the Coen Brothers, or Jordan Peele, he does have a cult following and by the sounds of it he has plenty of material prepared when/if he gets a chance to mount his show. With J.J. Abrams pushing the project, don't be surprised if schlock-maven Cohen is back telling stories again on Netflix, Amazon, or some other streaming outlet that's in need of a good old-fashioned thriller series with an edgy, satiric sense of humor and lots of weirdness.

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