Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God Told Me To

God Told Me To (1976)
Dir: Larry Cohen (Black Cesar/Hell Up in Harlem/The Stuff/It's Alive)

New York is stricken by a series of horrendous unexplained murders all committed by seemingly upstanding citizens with no real connection other than that all of the suspects state that God told them to do it....The opening scene is a shocking sight as several innocent people are gunned down by a sniper on top of a water tower in the middle of rush hour in New York City. Due to all of the ruckus it takes a few hours for Police to finally reach the shooter and Detective Peter Nicholas arrives and decides to try and talk with the shooter. Upon making contact with the gunman he seems completely peaceful and calm and the two discuss there pasts and get to know each other while Peter tries to pry information on his motives and all he can say is "God told me to". Immediately after making that statement the gunman jumps off the water tower to his death. We then follow peter as he questions several other murder suspects all claiming the same higher power lead them to commit these heinous acts. We meet a man who killed his two children and wife in their home with a shotgun, A man who attacked people with a knife in a shopping mall and After the Police office receives a anonymous tip that it will happen again during a St. Patrick's day parade we see Andy Kaufman playing a cop open fire on several spectators. None of the killings detailed in this movie are shown other than the opening scene and the parade attack but this really does not take away from the all around eerie feel of the film because the acting is portrayed so well. Upon further investigation Peter finds one common link between all of the murders and that is a young man who no one seems to be able to describe other than that he has long hair and walks around barefoot , who all of the murderers seemed to have run ins with prior to the attacks. Peter does some research and finds it is a 24 year old man named Phillip who has seemingly no background and apparently was birthed to a virgin mother through a sort of immaculate conception.The film from here turns into more of a religious sci-fi if there is such a thing and takes a turn for the strange once we learn of the link between Peter and the young man.If I go any further into this sub plot it would truly spoil the ending so I will just say this, Apparently Phillip is not the only prophetic figure in this film as he has a relative close by at all times. Director Larry Cohen has quite a resume behind him and I have seen many of his films not knowing he was behind them and all of them I enjoyed, This film is one of his Lesser known earlier works and I believe his first take at the horror genre and it shines to his brilliance as a director. Before this film he was mainly a Blaxploitation film maker , Behind the camera of two of the greatest in the genre in Hell up in Harlem and Black Cesar. As I said before this film is not gory at all so if that is what you are looking for you will be disappointed in this one and I was honestly expecting allot more sense reading the description of the film but this film just goes to show that on screen violence does not always make a better horror film because there are parts of this film that are downright creepy just because of the scenery and you never quite know what to expect due to the randomness of the attacks, Much like George Romero's The Crazies where anyone could be out to get you at any given moment.I can see allot of horror fans being bored or disappointed with this one due to the lack of gore and strong foundation on story over body count but that is their loss because this one in my mind after viewing it is honestly a lost classic of the genre.If you want more splatter Cohen has some other offerings out there to enjoy in films like Maniac cop and others and he is the mind behind one of my childhood favorites The Stuff and The It's Alive series. So in my eyes Cohen scores big again with this one, I highly recommend people check this one out because it is highly slept on and I can't figure out why.
4 out of 5

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