GOD TOLD ME TO (1976)
Article 4905 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Larry Cohen
Featuring Tony Lo Bianco, Deborah Raffin, Sandy Dennis
What it is: Religion-tinged horror
A police detective (who happens to be a devout Catholic) investigates a rash of serial killings from different people, each of whom reveals that they performed the killings because “God told them to”. He investigates a man who was seen talking to all of the killers in order to find the truth, but the truth hits closer to home than he suspects…
If there’s one thing I’ll hand to Larry Cohen, it’s that he’s not afraid to take a difficult theme and handle it in as interesting a fashion as he can. He’s also not afraid to court controversy; the concept that drives the movie will certainly upset Christians, and the various Christ parallels in the movie will only add fuel to the flames. The movie is a bit on the muddled side; there are moments where you have to read between the lines to figure out what’s going on, and it sometimes wanders off into side issues that it leaves unresolved. Still, it does make for some fascinating viewing, and there are touches here and there that make it feel a bit like the work of David Cronenberg as well. Quite frankly, I look forward to seeing some of Cohen’s other movies. The movie slips into science fiction before it’s all through, and the cast also includes Sylvia Sidney and (in his first movie role) Andy Kaufman.