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God Told Me To
     

God Told Me To

Director: Larry Cohen, Mason Adams, Alan Cauldwell, James Dixon

Cast: Larry Cohen, Mason Adams, Alan Cauldwell, James Dixon

 

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Released theatrically as God Told Me To, this inventive film from "B"-movie auteur Larry Cohen was later re-named Demon after television distributors refused to air it under the original title. The convoluted, tabloid-flavored storyline (predating the kind of stories frequently featured on The X-Files) involves a series of motiveless murders

Overview

Released theatrically as God Told Me To, this inventive film from "B"-movie auteur Larry Cohen was later re-named Demon after television distributors refused to air it under the original title. The convoluted, tabloid-flavored storyline (predating the kind of stories frequently featured on The X-Files) involves a series of motiveless murders committed by various New York residents: a sniper picks off targets from a water tower; a mild-mannered father murders his entire family; and a cop (Andy Kaufman, of all people) opens fire during a St. Patrick's Day parade. The only consistent pattern to the crimes involves the perpetrators' calm admissions of guilt, explaining, "God told me to." While investigating the murders, devoutly-Catholic police detective Peter Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) is increasingly troubled by evidence of a Christ-like figure named Bernard Phillips (Richard Lynch) who appeared to each of the killers and can't seem to shake the feeling that his own fate is inexplicably linked to this mysterious being. As he comes closer to the truth, his worst fears are confirmed -- particularly after a telling conversation with Bernard's tormented mother (Sylvia Sidney), who reveals the horrifying secret of her son's unnatural birth. Cohen has often used the "B"-movie format to address rather lofty concepts, and this is certainly no exception -- tackling no less than the existence of God and the nature of human beliefs -- but clumsy editing and an outrageous FX-heavy finale tend to obscure this film's unique vision.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This may be the audacious film in Larry Cohen's filmography and, given that said filmography contains films like It's Alive and The Private Files Of J. Edgar Hoover, that is saying quite a lot. Despite the outlandish murder-mystery premise and the high body count, God Told Me To is a surprisingly thoughtful film that devotes much screen time to serious, surprisingly intense dramatic scenes where characters debate Catholicism, the role of religion in modern society and the concept of mankind misinterpreting aliens as gods. God Told Me To keeps this heady brew afloat thanks to Cohen's relentless approach - the finished product shows the usual rough edges and rushed scenes that pop up in his work but he follows through on his outrageous ideas without fear or hesitation. Along the way, he achieves a number of genuinely haunting moments: the best are a moment where a man under the spell of the villain calmly recounts how he killed his own family and the scene where Peter discovers the identity of his true parents. Moments like these are incredibly powerful because God Told Me To happens to be blessed with a stellar cast: the underrated Tony LoBianco gives one of his best perfomances as Peter, giving a human center to the unusual story by making the confusion and inner torment of the character painfully real. Deborah Raffin and Sandy Dennis add further dramatic weight as the strong, very different female figures (the campus intellectual and troubled surrogate mother-type, respectively) that he can't choose between. The combination of Cohen's approach and these skilled performances add up to a film that has greater power than its outlandish plot would hint at. In the end, some viewers might be thrown off by Cohen's rough-hewn style and the bizarre ideas but God Told Me To is ideal viewing for cult movie fans.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2015
UPC:
0827058116190
Original Release:
1976
Rating:
R
Source:
Blue Underground
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Time:
1:32:00
Sales rank:
54,750

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mason Adams Obstetrician
Alan Cauldwell Bramwell as a Youth
James Dixon Actor
James Dukas Doorman
Al Fann Actor
Tony Lo Bianco Peter Nicholas
Richard Lynch Bernard Phillips
Sylvia Sidney Elizabeth Mullin
John Heffernan Bramwell
Peter Hock Actor
Randy Jurgensen Detective Squad
Andy Kaufman Police Assassin
Harry Madsen Actor
Robert Nichols Fletcher
Bobby Ramsen Actor
Lester Rawlins Board Chairman
Dan Resin Actor
Watter Steele Junkie
Sherry Steiner Bernard's Mother as a Young Woman
Alex Stevens Actor
Vida Taylor Miss Mullin as a Girl
Harry Bellaver Cookie
Sandy Dennis Martha Nicholas
Robert Drivas David Morten
Mike Kellin Deputy Commissioner
Sam Levene Everett Lukas
George Patterson Zero
Deborah Raffin Casey Forster
William Roerick Richard

Technical Credits
Larry Cohen Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Frank Cordell Score Composer
Mike Corey Editor
Paul Glickman Cinematographer
Halston Costumes/Costume Designer
Chris Lebenzon Editor
Artie Mandelberg Editor
Steve Neill Special Effects
Robert O. Ragland Songwriter
Ralston Costumes/Costume Designer
J. William Waters Editor
Janelle Webb Songwriter

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