Friday, July 3, 2009

God Told Me To (1976)

God Told Me To

Written & Directed by Larry Cohen

Tony Lo Bianco .... Peter J. Nicholas
Deborah Raffin .... Casey Forster
Sandy Dennis .... Martha Nicholas
Richard Lynch .... Bernard Phillips

Is it religious horror? A straight detective story? Science fiction? It's all three, actually, wrapping Catholic imagery, urban grit and alien invaders all together in one big bizarre burrito.

NYPD homicide detective Peter Nicholas is investigating a killing spree perpetrated by a sniper perched atop a water tower. When asked why he shot down the 14 people on the street below him, the sniper confides in Peter, "God told me to." Immediately after which he leaped to his death.
Other murders follow: A customer stabs a slew of people in a local supermarket; a police officer inexplicably guns down innocent bystanders at the St. Patrick's Day Parade; a family kills his wife and children. And when asked why, they all give the same response. "God told me to."

The only link between the crimes is eye witness reports of an androgynous long-haired hippie talking to each of the killers just prior to the murders. Nicholas has to hunt the hippie down to find out his involvement, along the way confronting his own religious perspective and faith and perhaps learning a thing or two about his past.
I had heard nothing but good things about this movie and so decided to give it a shot. It's an early effort by the man now most well known for Phone Booth and it shows, both films capturing urban paranoia quite well. The acting was good enough and the concept was so out there (farther out there than you realize until actually watching the film) that I have to give Larry Cohen props for that. The soundtrack—which consists mainly of religious chants and loud instrumentals—is overwhelming at times, especially during crucial scenes. A lot could have been benefited by making clever use of silence. However, my main problem is that this film doesn't know what it wants to be. I'm all for genre-blending in movies, but the trick is getting those genres to melt together into one form and not battle each other for dominance.

This Blue Underground DVD features a widescreen presentation of the film, commentary by Larry Cohen, the original theatrical trailer, 7 television spots, a poster & still gallery, and a written Larry Cohen biography & filmography.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR: 22 deaths in the first 22 minutes; The carnival; Virgin births; Stabbed by a pimp; Buck naked in zero G's;

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Comedian and performance artist Andy Kaufman played the cop who began shooting at the parade;


View the trailer below!

Rated R
91 minutes
United States

God Told Me To is currently ranked #76,353 in DVDs at Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!


...and on a separate note, I would just like to say "Curse you, Blogger, and your untrustworthy scheduled posting feature!"

1 comment:

  1. I've been curious about this one for years. Thanks for the reviews. I will be sure to add it to the Netflix queue.



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