God Told Me To(1976)(Review)[Flashback Friday]
Updated: Nov 10
Larry Cohen is one of the most beloved horror directors of recent memory, and he had passed away from cancer in March 2019. With him being such a big name writer-director however (for projects such as 'The Stuff', 'Q: The Winged Serpent', and 'It's Alive'), it's weird that I've personally never seen any of his films. So for Flashback Fridays today, I wanted to tackle one of his earlier pieces as my debut viewing into the world of Cohen Cinema.
'God Told Me To' is his 5th directed film. His guerilla style of filmmaking brings us to NYC in the mid 70's, where we follow police detective Peter J. Nicholas (played by Tony Lo Bianco) who is attempting to solve a string of sporadic murder sprees throughout the town. What begins as an unexplainable mass shooting only begins the trek of more degradation and mass homicides. When detective Peter is able to confront the perps in action, their only reasonable response for why they are doing these crimes is simply "because God told me to."
From here we go on a goose chase to find out what exactly these people mean, and who exactly is this God in question. Is it the Christian God? A Hassidic God? Or even one who we've never been introduced to before?
It's a tense noire-styled film that contains violence and philosophical queries as we attempt to piece together what's going on. And as always, understanding the reasonings is only the beginning. We go on a trek for religious understandings, terrestrial interference, and cultural collisions. And once we begin to get some answers, we are only halfway to understanding the bigger picture.
For my very first voyage into Cohen territory, this was certainly a fun time. It's an obviously low budget film that holds a rather high concept and is able to stick the landing. It has gotten me very excited to see his other work, which I will be watching 'The Stuff' very soon.
Although the film is only 44 years old, it is a seminal introduction to what an excited filmmaker is capable of. And since he had achieved such grand status amongst the horror community, it only seemed right to dedicate this weeks flashback post to him.
"God Told Me To" is currently available for streaming on Shudder.
Have you seen this film? Which Larry Cohen film is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
'Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra