‘Warning: This film contains scenes of violence and intense horror’
God Told Me To – also released as God Told Me to Kill and Demon – is a 1976 science fiction horror film written and directed by Larry Cohen (It’s Alive; The Stuff; Q – The Winged Serpent). Like many of Cohen’s films, it is set in New York City and incorporates aspects of the police procedural.
The movie stars Tony Lo Bianco (The Honeymoon Killers), Sandy Dennis, Sylvia Sidney, Sam Levene, Robert Drivas, Mike Kellin, Richard Lynch, Deborah Raffin (The Sentinel; Grizzly II; Scanners II: The New Order) and George Patterson (I Drink Your Blood).
In New York City, a sniper perched on a water tower opens fire on the crowded streets below, killing fifteen pedestrians. Peter Nicholas (Tony LoBianco), a Catholic NYPD detective, arrives at the scene and approaches the sniper as police officers surround the building. Before jumping to his death, the sniper, Harold Gorman, tells Nicholas that God had told him to commit the murders.
Nicholas investigates a series of murders being committed by various random, seemingly normal assailants, who claim that God told them to kill. Nicholas finds that the murderers have been influenced by a religious cult leader, Bernard Phillips (Richard Lynch) whose origins are a mystery…
‘Yes, the narrative starts to get progressively nuttier (virgin births! alien vaginas!), but there’s a things-fall-apart vibe in the film’s scenes of random violence that’s genuinely unsettling — a fear of being snuffed out simply because you’re there.’ Rolling Stone
‘ …there’s a slick and gross Cronenberg-esque body horror precursor in the form of an unnatural vagina, and the abduction scenes are coolly retro, which makes them all the more creepy because we can almost see America’s “golden age” being perverted right before our eyes … God Told Me To is a disturbing piece of work that thrives on an invasive, penetrating style that burrows right into your skin with an intriguing mystery before slowly peeling it off with its different reveals.’ Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!
‘This movie takes so many unexpected and almost completely incongruous twists and turns that you just have to sit back, go with the flow, and enjoy the ride. If you’re not willing to completely suspend all disbelief and just trust that Cohen is going to get us to a satisfactory conclusion by the end, no matter how bizarre what’s going on may seem at the time…’ Ryan C, Trash Film Guru
‘There are too many implications and insinuations for one movie to handle, and no one angle is pursued as far as it ought to be. But there is no sign here of the usual marks of the cheaply made independent movie. The acting is solid, especially considering how little time the movie spends on character development, there is nothing slipshod about the production values, and some of the scenes– particularly the shootout at the parade — are simply ingenious.’ 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
‘There were times when I thought the projectionist was showing the reels in random order, as a quiet joke on the hapless audience. But, no, apparently the movie WAS supposed to be put together this way, as a sort of 52-card pick-up of cinema. The story’s so random, indeed, that by the time Sandy Dennis made her second appearance, I’d forgotten she was in the film.’ Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times