Larry Cohen
USA 1990
91 min

A master of imbuing even the most absurd scenarios with subversive subtexts and sneaky satire, Larry Cohen’s films inhabit that grey matter zone in between the mainstream and the leftfield. In The Ambulance, comic book artist Josh Baker tries to pick up the woman of his dreams, but unfortunately she has a diabetic turn for the worse. Josh is calling an ambulance but as it turns out the woman has vanished without a trace. Josh soon starts to smell a conspiracy: Is it just a case of an obsessive and over active imagination or is there something more malevolent at work? Needless to say, several people are going home in an ambulance before the end of this particular mystery.
Eric Roberts stars as hyperactive Josh, and he gives a performance that, well, Eric Roberts would be proud of. There’s something of the naive Hitchcockian hero about Roberts’ Josh, and the film itself has been described as Cohen’s homage to North By Northwest. Certainly, The Ambulance has similarities: An “ordinary” man caught up in a scheme beyond his comprehension, a missing woman, an effective MacGuffin or two, deadly vehicular chases and a vertical climax. James Earl Jones is great value as Lt. Spencer, a gum-chewing detective fresh from a nervous breakdown, reluctantly investigating Baker and his conspiratorial claims. Spencer is a classic Cohen character, larger-than-life and twice as barking. Much more versatile than many critics give him credit for, Jones steals every scene he’s in, without breaking a sweat. (Graham Gough)

  • Eric Roberts - Josh Baker
  • Megan Gallagher - Sandra Malloy
  • James Earl Jones - Lieutenant Spencer
  • Red Buttons - Elias Zacharai
  • Richard Bright - Detective McClosky
  • Eric Braeden - The Doctor
  • Janine Turner - Cheryl
  • Stan Lee - als er selbst
  • Larry Cohen
  • Jacques Haitkin
  • Doug Reed
  • Claudia Finkle
  • Armond Lebowitz
  • Jay Chattaway
  • Sylvia Vega-Vasquez
Epic Productions Esparza & Katz Productions
MGM/Hollywood Classics
35 mm
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