Father Geek here with sad news for fans of the 50's and 60's teenage horror drive-in film sub-genre. Back in 1957 I was walking down Houston street in San Antonio when I was suddenly attacked by a flood of images that blew my 12 year old mind. The huge sidewalk frontage of the great MAJESTIC THEATER was covered with every size poster, lobbycard, and still photo there was for a new Double feature Southwest premiere of I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN and I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF. A young Father Geek was dumbstruck, frozen in his tracks. I must have stood there going over and over the images for an hour. Annnnnd right there in the middle stood an 8 foot cut-out standee of the most horrific image of them all... the mutated face of the teenaged Frankenstein creature itself, all green and yellow and... and that bulging bloodshot eye half torn out by its root staring out at me... yes, ME! I'll never forget that image. Herman Cohen got my hard earned 50 cents that Saturday and again on Sunday afternoon.
Father Geek didn't know who Cohen was at the time, but he sure collected alot of half dollars from me in my youth. It would be years later, when I was deep into collecting 50's horror posters that I made note of his name on movie paper I was beginning to pick up, like: BRIDE OF THE GORILLA, and HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER, and BLACK ZOO, or KONGA, TROG, THE HEADLESS GHOST, HORROR OF THE WAX MUSEUM and more. I still have posters for each of those films. Films Cohen not only produced, but wrote five of, and acted in 3 or 4 of. Yeah, Herman helped turn me into the Geek I am today, the father of Harry Knowles. Its all his fault, along with a couple of dozen others, but HE was a major influence. I only hope we do him and the others justice. I got this note a few minutes ago...
Father Geek- I know you're handling the ranch while Harry's off in Sin City, so I thought I'd forward this to you.
I grew up on AIP/ Cohen films like 'I Was A Teenage Werewolf' and 'I Was A Teenage Frankenstein' on my local UHF stations in the late '70's, and am saddened to hear of the loss of this pioneer in cinema. He will be missed.
(when I scoop, they call me) e.
Maker of Teen Horror Flicks Dies in Los Angeles
Sun Jun 9, 3:47 PM ET
LOS ANGELES (Reuters)
Producer Herman Cohen, who invented the teen-age fright flick and launched Michael Landon's film career with "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," has died of throat cancer in Los Angeles at age 74, a hospital spokeswoman said on Sunday. Cohen died on June 2 at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
"Werewolf," starring Landon as an affable teen transformed into a hairy horror by a diabolical hypnotist, became a cult classic after its release in 1957 and confirmed Cohen's conclusion that teenagers were movie tastemakers.
Made for less than $100,000, "Werewolf" grossed more than $2 million. The success inspired Cohen to do six more horror films in which hapless teenagers were terrorized by evil adults.
"I have always felt that most teenagers think that adults -- their parents, or their teacher, anyone who was older and who had authority -- were culprits in their lives," Cohen said in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Through his cult horror films, which included "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein" and "How to Make a Monster," Cohen put American International Pictures on the map and established himself as the "king of the drive-in horror movie," film historian Tom Weaver told the Times.
Cohen co-wrote many of his films, naming many characters after family members and friends and including cameos for himself, in the manner of Alfred Hitchcock.
The horror genre was a departure from Cohen's earlier work in the 1950s in mainstream films such as "Crime of Passion," starring Barbara Stanwyck.
The Detroit native began his association with motion pictures at 12, as an assistant to a movie theater janitor. He traded his services for free movie passes for himself and his family, the Times reported.
After serving in the Army, Cohen landed a sales job at the Detroit offices of Columbia Pictures.
He moved to Hollywood to work in Columbia's publicity department. In 1951, he earned his first screen credit as assistant producer of "Bride of the Gorilla."
Cohen stopped producing movies in the 1970s. He is survived by a brother and sister.
Father Geek back, Herman wasn't 100% horror genre, among others films in 1969 he produced a damn good Spagetti Western called DJANGO IL BASTARDO. Just Click Here To Find Out More About His Career.