God Told Me To (1976)
Director: Larry Cohen
Starring: Tony Lo Bianco, Deborah Raffin, Sandy Dennis, Richard Lynch & Mike Kellin
Released by: Blue Underground
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
From Director Larry Cohen (Bone, It’s Alive), God Told Me To takes place on the streets of New York City where random acts of mass homicide are committed with the killers insisting God advised them to. As NYPD Detective Peter J. Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco, The Honeymoon Killers) investigates the bizarre crimes, the repressed Catholic uncovers an underworld of twisted faith, corruption and supernatural occurrences hellbent on damning mankind. Deborah Raffin (Death Wish 3), Sandy Dennis (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), Sylvia Sydney (Beetlejuice), Richard Lynch (Bad Dreams), Mike Kellin (Sleepaway Camp) and Andy Kaufman (Taxi) co-star.
As citizens of the Big Apple were overwhelmed with fear as the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, reigned his own terror, Director Larry Cohen would return to his beloved city to helm one of his most memorable films. Incorporating the harsh realities of senseless murder, God Told Me Topulls no punches with its grizzly opening of a rooftop sniper picking off innocent pedestrians. Estranged from his wife and committed to a new girlfriend, NYPD Detective Peter J. Nicholas (Lo Bianco) attempts to make peace with the mild-mannered shooter when asking for his homicidal motive. Before willingly leaping to his death, the shooter claims God himself told him to kill, chilling Nicholas to the core. In the wake of the horrific incident, more God-advised killings take place including, a loving father blowing his family away with a shotgun and a fellow cop (Andy Kaufman in his debut film appearance) heading a shooting spree during the city’s iconic St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Determined to crack the case, Nicolas spearheads an investigation that will open doors connecting him to the godless violence plaguing the city. Realistically violent and gorgeously capturing New York City’s less than savory appearances, God Told Me To is a molotov cocktail of exploitation entertainment. Tony Lo Bianco’s performance as the conflicted Catholic detective is played with terrific pathos and the proper gruff to believably sell a seasoned cop with the experiences to back it up.
Blending the worlds of the police procedural and the occult, God Told Me To never allows the viewer to get too comfortable before switching gears once again. Dirty cops, the religiously unbalanced and interdimensional beings with a penchant for impregnating virgins sends this cult classic in countless directions with consistently pleasing results. With his own faith waining, Nicholas zeroes in on his verdict to reveal a grim ending destined to leave a lasting impact on its audience. Supported by a cast of respected cult stars, God Told Me To is a disturbing slice of real world terror meets the supernatural, orchestrated by 42nd Street legend Larry Cohen who glorifies the 1970s wasteland of New York City like few filmmakers can.
Blue Underground proudly presents God Told Me To in 1080p, sporting a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Newly transferred in 4K from the original uncensored negative, Larry Cohen’s cult classic shines like never before. A filmic layer of grain is well intact with a nearly spotless appearance making way for added appreciation of warm skin pigments and sharp detail. Dimly lit sequences are vastly improved over the previous DVD release with visibility all the more enhanced. Unquestionably, God Told Me To arrives with its definitive transfer and one of Blue Underground’s most noted accomplishments to date. Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, God Told Me To sounds strong with audible dialogue levels and an impressive balance of authority during crowded city scenes and sharp gunshots. In addition, optional Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mixes have been included for your listening pleasure. Ported over from its previous DVD release, an Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Larry Cohen, moderated by Blue Underground’s Bill Lustig, has been included. In addition, newly added bonus features, produced by Red Shirt Pictures, include, Heaven & Hell On Earth: Interview with Star Tony Lo Bianco (11:27) with the lead actor reminiscing on the film’s shoot and his fond memories of his late fellow co-stars and Bloody Good Times: Interview with Special Effects Artist Steve Neill (9:09) finds Neill providing a brief career retrospective and his various collaborations with Larry Cohen. Plus, other new supplements include, God Told Me To Bone: New Beverly Q&A with Larry Cohen (21:14) and a Lincoln Center Q&A with Larry Cohen (8:06). Finally, two Theatrical Trailers (2:07), seven TV Spots (3:30) and a Poster & Still Gallery (42 in total) round out the disc’s impressive bonus offerings.
Amongst an abundance of cult favorites including, Q: The Winged Serpent and The Stuff, Director Larry Cohen’s God Told Me To is a crowning achievement of exploitation filmmaking. An entertaining blend of genres carried out by a wickedly talented cast and doused in a disturbingly somber tone, God Told Me To is an unholy alliance of drive-in staples. Blue Underground’s gorgeous 4K transfer and first-class supplements not only solidify the film’s place on home video but, marks one of the distributors finest releases to date. Forewarned on its artwork to contain scenes of violence and intense horror, God Told Me To makes good on its promise, deeming this jaw-dropping Cohen concoction an essential piece of exploitation.
Available now from Blue Underground, God Told Me To can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.
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