God Told Me To (1976)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Atmospheric and interesting concept

Missed opportunities and a garbled ending sequence

Movie Info

Movie Name:  God Told Me To

Studio: New World Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  November 1976

MPAA Rating:  R


God told me to…

A series of crimes is occurring in New York City.  Average people are becoming sharp shooting snipers and knife wielding maniacs and they all say the same thing when they die…“God told me to”.  When Detective Lt. Peter J. Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) begins to investigate the connections, a strange long haired man is spotted at the scenes of the crimes.  Nicholas tracks the man who seems to have been born through a virgin birth…and question why he wants to kill.

Written and directed by Larry Cohen, God Told Me To is a religious horror detective film and has a small, cult following.  The movie frequently makes “Best Of” lists of under-seen horror films and features the first film role for Andy Kaufman as a possessed officer who goes on a shooting spree.  The film is also sometimes referred to as God Told Me to Kill or Demon.


Let the laughs fly!

I’ve seen other films by Larry Cohen and many are a bit more schlocky than this film.  Movies like It’s Alive and The Stuff are horror but also a lot of a laughs.  I wasn’t sure what to expect going into God Told Me To since you don’t hear about it much, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The concept of the story is much better than the story itself and that is an unfortunate aspect of the film.  The set-up of people claiming God as their inspiration for acts of evil was interesting and then the twist that it could actually be the Antichrist was another spin (and popular at the time with films like The Exorcist and The Omen making big bucks).  The last twenty to thirty minutes of the movie however kind of undermine the great build up.  The alien abduction storyline and Nicholas’ powers vs. Bernard Phillips (played by Richard Lynch) seemed like a bit of misstep and led to a confusing “What just happened?” ending.


Seriously…I’m not possessed. You’re just shining a light in my eyes

Tony Lo Bianco does a nice job holding the picture as the street tough detective who is deeply spiritual.  It is hard to see what side of the line he is riding at some points but it is a pretty good performance for what could be considered a B-Actor.  There is a nice small role by Sylvia Sidney as a woman confronted by Tony Lo Bianco as his possible mother.  I also always find Richard Lynch creepy and could have used more of his saintly Bernard Phillips.  You also have to like the “serious” role by Andy Kaufman who of course went on to being a comic genius.


That’s right…I’m a golden god

The film has that nice, gritty ’70s feel to it that probably just comes from cheapness but cannot be recaptured by directors trying to imitate it.  The “light” creature of Lynch is an interesting way to shoot the ending, but the vagina-esque thing growing out his chest (to mate with Tony Lo Bianco) is just another reason that the movie stumbles.

I really wish that this movie had been tweaked and edited.  It could have been a real interesting social commentary if it had stick with the religious themes instead of introducing the alien aspect to the story.  I could have seen this movie being like something like Frailty plotwise if it had just been worked over a bit more.  I still enjoyed the film for what it was and do recommend it if you think you’ve seen all that horror has to offer.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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