God Told Me To
|God Told Me To|
DVD release cover
|Directed by||Larry Cohen|
|Produced by||Larry Cohen|
|Written by||Larry Cohen|
|Starring||Tony Lo Bianco|
|Distributed by||New World Pictures|
God Told Me To (released in some theatrical and video markets as Demon and God Told Me to Kill) is a 1976 science fiction/horror film written and directed by Larry Cohen. Like many of Cohen's films, it is set in New York City and incorporates aspects of the police procedural.
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. A traumatized Nicholas is left to wonder how Gorman could have aimed accurately at his distance with a mail order rifle.
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.
- Tony Lo Bianco as Det. Lt. Peter J. Nicholas
- Deborah Raffin as Casey Forster
- Sandy Dennis as Martha Nicholas
- Sylvia Sidney as Elizabeth Mullin
- Sam Levene as Everett Lukas
- Robert Drivas as David Morten
- Mike Kellin as Deputy Police Commissioner
- Richard Lynch as Bernard Phillips
- Sammy Williams as Harold Gorman
- Andy Kaufman as Police Officer
Bernard Herrmann, who had scored Cohen's earlier film It's Alive, was originally assigned to score God Told Me To as well, and Cohen claims on the DVD commentary track that Herrmann saw the first cut of the film immediately after completing the recording sessions for his score to Taxi Driver and made notes on how he believed it could be scored. However, within the next 15 hours, Herrmann died. Cohen then asked composer Miklos Rozsa to score the film. Rozsa turned it down, saying "God told me not to". Frank Cordell composed the score heard in the released version of God Told Me To, and both it and Taxi Driver were dedicated to Herrmann.
The 'alien abduction' sequence, where a naked woman is drawn up into the cavernous interior of an extraterrestrial spacecraft, features (manipulated) generic stock model footage from Gerry Anderson's science fiction TV series Space: 1999.
Andy Kaufman appears as a possessed policeman who goes on a shooting rampage at the Saint Patrick's Day parade — it was Kaufman's first role in any film, and the same footage was later used for the finale of a documentary called The Passion of Andy Kaufman, in a segment called "Thus Spake Zarathustra", with music by Eumir Deodato. Sylvia Sidney appears as the detective's traumatized mother.
In the early 2010s, Time Out conducted a poll with several authors, directors, actors and critics who have worked within the horror genre to vote for their top horror films. God Told Me To placed at number 94 on their top 100 list.