"Telephones are the scourge of modern existence," Cohen tells TV Guide Online. "They bring this voice from nowhere into your life — that can be frightening. Anybody can call you.
"When I start to work on a script," he adds, "I take the phone off the hook and put it in a drawer until I'm finished working. I don't want my train of thought interrupted. Now that everybody's got a cell phone, there's no privacy or peace... [there's] people on phones in the car, in restaurants, even in public rest rooms! That's why I don't have a cell phone — I'm afraid someone might call me."
The 66-year-old veteran writer and director, whose maverick movies include the killer-baby picture It's Alive and The Stuff (about a lethal low-cal dessert), has a knack for finding the dark side of everyday things we take for granted. He hasn't yet worked up a script about T-Mobile Sidekicks, iPods or PDAs, but he's considering it. "They're a little too high-tech for me," he admits. "When I learn a bit more about the way those other things operate, I'll probably get around to them."
In the meantime, he's scripting two other telephone-related thrillers, one involving FBI wiretapping and the other about an answering machine that records murders. During his off time, he's busy cursing those pesky telemarketers who always catch you at exactly the wrong time. How about a movie about a serial psycho who targets them? "That would be a good idea," he wryly agrees. "Everyone would sympathize."