The Public Files of Larry Cohen

When Wes Craven died recently, most obituaries focused on his successful money-making Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream series. Very few even mentioned his earlier independent commercial films The Last House on the Left (1971) and The Hills have Eyes (1977), both of which later had higher-budget but undistinguished remakes. These early films belonged to the exciting and innovative decade of the 1970s when the ignominy of American defeat in Viet Nam and crisis of confidence in the White House stimulated many iconoclastic and radical commercial films now conspicuous from the mainstream by their very absence. Craven then belonged to a group of innovative talents such as Brian DePalma, Tobe Hooper and Larry Cohen, all of whom took over familiar generic conventions for their own particular critical perspectives.

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