God Told Me To

God Told Me To

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Director: Larry Cohen

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

     
 

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When Blue Underground set out to release a Larry Cohen collection, they did it right, with the spotlight on the cult classic Q -- The Winged Serpent and the equally worthy but sadly underrated gems Bone and the quasi-religious alien tale God Told Me To. Available earlier on DVD from various bootleg companies (including two times by the kings ofSee more details below

Overview

When Blue Underground set out to release a Larry Cohen collection, they did it right, with the spotlight on the cult classic Q -- The Winged Serpent and the equally worthy but sadly underrated gems Bone and the quasi-religious alien tale God Told Me To. Available earlier on DVD from various bootleg companies (including two times by the kings of unofficial box sets, Brentwood) with shameful quality and means, God Told Me To thankfully has now been given a beat-down by this director-certified special edition. Technically, the print shows its low-budget grit and brilliant colors for all they're worth, while the audio is a knockout punch, which can only be expected from this genre-loving company. 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX and 6.1 DTS-ES tracks pound your speakers, while the standard Dolby 2.0 and Original Mono track fill the archival niche in the disc. Extras come fast and furious with the fluid and entertaining commentary with Larry Cohen and Blue Underground's main head honcho (and frequent collaborator), William Lustig. Long-time friends, these two expose the production's underbelly through various talk of casting troubles, camera techniques, and the director's infamous kamikaze approach. Just like the commentaries on the other Larry Cohen Collection releases, the talk is the highpoint of the disc and would undoubtedly make anyone's appreciation of the film grow after viewing. Also supplied are the original creepy theatrical trailer and an amazing array of seven TV spots, seething with incredible '70s exploitation advertising schtick (including a couple with the alternate title "Demon!"). Posters and stills are next, and are chock-full of images from the film in the way of various posters, novel artwork, publicity stills (one of which ended up mysteriously on their Q disc!), behind-the-scenes stills, the U.S. press book, and finally a couple of VHS and laserdisc covers. An in-depth Larry Cohen bio awaits those who notice, while an Easter egg uncovers an interesting fan-filmed Q & A session with the director at a 2002 screening of God at New York's Lincoln Center. From menus to cover art, each detail of the disc exudes the class that the flick, and Cohen himself, deserves.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.

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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:
08/26/2003
UPC:
0827058101998
Original Release:
1976
Rating:
R
Source:
Blue Underground
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Digital Theater Systems]
Time:
1:32:00
Sales rank:
54,366

Special Features

Audio commentary with writer/director Larry Cohen; Theatrical trailer; TV spots; Poster & still gallery; Larry Cohen bio

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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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Program Start / Main Titles [1:35]
2. Shooting Spree [1:56]
3. Water Tower Sniper [2:12]
4. A Mother in Denial [2:22]
5. A Detective's Awakening [3:40]
6. The Ex-Wife [2:53]
7. John the Stabber [1:04]
8. St. Patrick's Day Parade [5:42]
9. Investigating Bernard Phillips [3:17]
10. Mrs. Phillips [2:26]
11. Virgin Birth [1:37]
12. Family Murderer [5:54]
13. The Abduction [8:44]
14. Crooked Up [3:40]
15. The Chosen Ones [1:19]
16. Take Me to Your Master [4:07]
17. Alien God Creature [3:54]
18. The Immaculate Conception [2:40]
19. Peter's Women [9:50]
20. Revenge at the Drug Hole [7:02]
21. The Glow of Evil [4:20]
22. "I Can Bear Your Child" [3:39]
23. "God Told Me To" [3:07]
24. End Credits [1:12]

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