Tag Archives: bone

Larry Cohen Collection: “Bone”

Bone

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Today’s entry into the Larry Cohen Collection is Bone, his controversial directorial debut.

Bone is a tense and darkly humorous home invasion thriller that presents the story of a robbery that goes rapidly awry, and circuitously winds up unraveling the lives of all of the parties involved.

Bone was written, directed, and produced by Larry Cohen as his first feature film, after a notable career as a television writer. It laid the foundations for a long tenure in front of the camera that bounced between genres, and garnered Cohen a significant cult following.

The movie was co-edited and shot by George Folsey, Jr. (Hostel, Black Caesar, The Blues Brothers), with Michael Corey (God Told Me To) acting as his co-editor.

Aside from Larry Cohen, the producers for Bone included his then-wife Janelle Webb (A Return To Salem’s Lot, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover) and Peter Sabiston (It’s Alive, Hell Up In Harlem, Black Caesar).

The score to Bone was composed by Gil Melle, who also provided the music for movies like The Andromeda Strain and Killdozer.

A number of the effects in the movie were provided by eventual Academy Award winner and master of the field Rick Baker, who worked on a number of Cohen’s films early in his career.

The relatively small cast of Bone includes a young Yaphet Kotto (Alien, Live And Let Die, The Running Man), Andrew Duggan (A Return To Salem’s Lot), Jeannie Berlin (Inherent Vice, The Heartbreak Kid), and Joyce Van Patten (Grown Ups, Marley & Me, The Bad News Bears).

Bone proved to be a difficult movie to market, thanks to a combination of controversial themes and pitch-black humor. As a result, it received a handful of alternate titles, though the most ofen seen one is Housewife.

Bone was shot almost entirely in Larry Cohen’s own house and property, and even features his dog.

While Bone certainly has a positive cult reputation, its reviews on the whole are mixed. It currently holds a user rating of 6.8 on IMDb, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 67% from critics and 75% from audiences.

Personally, I see Bone as a bold work of a young director with an interesting vision. It is certainly unpolished and the product of a developing talent, but there are some flashes of really fantastic film-making here, particularly whenever a scene calls for a building of tension. Not only do the shots help build a simultaneous sense of uncomfortable distance and dangerously close proximity between the characters, but Cohen was able to get some really outstandingly emotional and creepy performances out of all four of the primary characters.

Oddly, the writing is really the weakest aspect of the movie. At first, the film has a clear clock on it to build the tension, but then it is dismissed outright. Honestly, I was a bit confused as to how much time was passing between scenes, and eventually the screenplay just drops the point altogether. Once that happens, the pacing of the movie gets kind of strange, and the last act makes for an odd sort of chase and rapid resolution. Looking back on it, I think this was a screenplay that Cohen wasn’t quite sure how to end, and it shows.

As far as a recommendation goes, Bone was definitely made for another time, which plays out as a positive and a negative. The movie provides a visual snapshot of Los Angeles at the time that is pretty cool to look at, but the political and social context behind this movie isn’t nearly as potent now. The humor is also sporadic and uneven, and it isn’t always clear what the message of the movie is. Regardless, as a exercise in building tension, there are some big positives to Bone. On top of that, one scene in particular features some of the earliest makeup work by Rick Baker, which adds a cool trivia bonus to the flick. Cohen fans at the least should check this one out, if you happen to be able to find a copy.

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Interview with Larry Cohen

Welcome to a special feature here at the Misan[trope]y Movie Blog!
Recently, I had a chat with one of the best known cult movie writer/directors: Larry Cohen.

Cohen has had a career that has included hit television shows, blaxsploitation classics, and blockbuster screenplays, but he carved his unique place in film history by writing and directing memorable b-movies like The Stuff, It’s Alive, and Q: The Winged Serpent.

For more on his career, check out the Larry Cohen Collection here at Misantropey, where I have been working through his entire filmography.

Now, enjoy this interview with the one and only Larry Cohen.

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Bargain Bin(ge): Disc Replay (Skokie, IL)

Disc Replay is a small regional chain of buy/sell/trade stores, not unlike MovieStop or Replay’s that I have covered previously. Apparently Disc Replay’s primary stomping grounds are Illinois and Indiana, with a little bit of bleed-over into Iowa, Kentucky, and Michigan.

discreplayskokie1After leaving B-fest, I went to a hotel in Skokie, IL to get some sleep. Unfortunately, in spite it all, I was still very caffeinated, so I decided to scour the area for a media store before inevitably crashing for the evening. Sure enough, there was a Disc Replay within a couple of miles of the hotel.

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As it turns out, this was one of the best hauls I have had in a while, in terms of both the quality of the finds and the total price. Almost every standard DVD I saw was 3.99-5.99, and the store had a standing deal of “Buy 5, Get 1 Free” for DVDs. The selection was also fantastic, as I came across a number of movies that I hadn’t seen in any stores before. Below, you can check out the ones I walked away with.

Heartbeeps

You don’t hear a lot about this atrocious 1981 robot comedy these days, but Heartbeeps was a widely loathed film upon its release. The cast includes comedy legend Andy Kaufman, noted eccentric renegade Randy Quaid, Bernadette Peters, Christopher Guest, and cult favorite performers like Dick Miller, Paul Bartel, and Mary Woronov. I’ve never seen it before, so I am curious to see just how bad it is.

Inglorious Bastards

This is probably the most recognizable film by Enzo Castellari, thanks to Quentin Tarantino. I actually think I already have a copy of this somewhere, but for a couple of bucks, I could always give a spare away. I have definitely seen the movie before, but it has been a few years. After seeing 1990: The Bronx Warriors, The Last Shark, and The Shark Hunter, I’m definitely planning to dig further into his filmography, and giving this a rewatch is a necessity. As a bonus, the always fantastic Fred Williamson prominently features, which is always enough to get me invested.

Barb Wire

Barb Wire is an action movie starring Pamela Anderson. Apart from that, I know that it supposed to be a memorably terrible comic book adaptation. That’s more than enough justification for me to give it a shot: there’s just no way this could be good.

Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

This movie is best known for pioneering the most ridiculous possible sequel naming convention imaginable. This 1984 Cannon movie tells the tale of a group of break dancers battling against evil land developers, making it the most 1980s movie ever made. I’ve never seen this movie before, so I was super excited to actually find a DVD copy of it.

Ghost In The Machine

I first heard about this movie from We Hate Movies, when they did an episode on it some time ago. From what I understand, it is basically the same concept as Shocker, but worse all around. Cheesy, dated cyber-thrillers are usually a blast, so I’m eager to sink my teeth into this thing.

Bone

Bone is the first film by Larry Cohen, a b-movie master who I have covered a whole lot on the blog. It is apparently about as dark as a comedy can possibly get, and was mis-marketed as a thriller, which has kept it as little more than a footnote in Cohen’s career. I was shocked to find a DVD copy of it in the wild, and look forward to seeing what Cohen’s debut feature has to offer.