Sunday Matinee: God Told Me To

Writer/director Larry Cohen passed away this weekend at the age of 77. Cohen started his career writing for television in the 1960s before moving on to directing movies in the 1970s.

He directed such blaxploitation films as Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem in the early 1970s before moving on to b-horror movies. In 1974 he made the excellent but cheesy It’s Alive. He would make two sequels to the series. He also directed the very entertaining Q.

In 1976 Cohen wrote and directed God Told Me To. Starring Tony Lo Bianco as a religious cop who finds himself investigating a series of mass murders. The first is committed by a gunman on a water tower shooting into the crowd below. When Lo Bianco confronts the gunman, the killer tells him that “God told him to” and then commits suicide.

Several other mass murders occur with each killer proclaiming the same thing. Lo Bianco tries to get to the bottom of it but his superiors don’t want the public to know the religious connections. The investigation leads Lo Bianco to a cult with a religious leader named Bernard Phillips (Richard Lynch) and it also leads him to some troubling facts about himself.

The movie was made like a lot of Cohen’s films. Low budget, shot in New York and at times made guerrilla style. No permits, etc. And like most of his movies, the plot is pretty ridiculous but it’s a lot of fun.

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Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.