GOD TOLD ME TO aka DEMON (1976) Reviews and overview


‘Don’t let it control you’

God Told Me To is a 1976 science fiction horror film written, produced and directed by Larry Cohen (It’s Alive; The Stuff; Q – The Winged Serpent). Like many of Cohen’s films, it is set in New York City and incorporates aspects of the police procedural. Also known as God Told Me to Kill and Demon!

The movie stars Tony Lo Bianco (The Honeymoon Killers), Sandy Dennis, Sylvia Sidney, Sam Levene, Robert Drivas, Mike Kellin, Richard Lynch, Deborah Raffin (The Sentinel; Grizzly II; Scanners II: The New Order) and George Patterson (I Drink Your Blood).


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.

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…



“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.” Basement Rejects

“The storyline is unpredictable, engaging, and entertaining.  There may be unintended laughs at some of the more extraordinary scenes, but they come with a realization that this movie could have easily turned into camp had it been produced by far less capable hands.  Effects are dated, and there is some content that has not aged well.” Culture Crypt

“The characters and performances are not up to par with Cohen’s other horror films, but the script is still wholly captivating, with more plot twists than a Dario Argento Giallo. The developments of the religious angle are continuously surprising as are the secret alien inseminations, colliding into one singular plot that few horror films would attempt before or since.” DVD Drive-In


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” …there’s a slick and gross Cronenberg-esque body horror precursor in the form of an unnatural vagina, and the abduction scenes are coolly retro, which makes them all the more creepy because we can almost see America’s “golden age” being perverted right before our eyes … God Told Me To is a disturbing piece of work that thrives on an invasive, penetrating style that burrows right into your skin with an intriguing mystery before slowly peeling it off with its different reveals.” Oh, the Horror!

Tony LoBianco
Tony LoBianco

“Yes, the narrative starts to get progressively nuttier (virgin births! alien vaginas!), but there’s a things-fall-apart vibe in the film’s scenes of random violence that’s genuinely unsettling — a fear of being snuffed out simply because you’re there.” Rolling Stone

“This movie takes so many unexpected and almost completely incongruous twists and turns that you just have to sit back, go with the flow, and enjoy the ride. If you’re not willing to completely suspend all disbelief and just trust that Cohen is going to get us to a satisfactory conclusion by the end, no matter how bizarre what’s going on may seem at the time…”  Trash Film Guru

Andy Kaufman

“There are too many implications and insinuations for one movie to handle, and no one angle is pursued as far as it ought to be. But there is no sign here of the usual marks of the cheaply made independent movie. The acting is solid, especially considering how little time the movie spends on character development, there is nothing slipshod about the production values, and some of the scenes– particularly the shootout at the parade — are simply ingenious.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“There were times when I thought the projectionist was showing the reels in random order, as a quiet joke on the hapless audience. But, no, apparently the movie WAS supposed to be put together this way, as a sort of 52-card pick-up of cinema. The story’s so random, indeed, that by the time Sandy Dennis made her second appearance, I’d forgotten she was in the film.” Roger Ebert


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Choice dialogue:

Deputy Commissioner: “You know, people who are too god-damned religious make a lot of trouble for everybody.”

demon larry cohen UK VTC VHS

demon larry cohen VTC VHS sleeve

God told Me To DVD

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God Told Me To aka Demon Larry Cohen



Cast and characters:

Tony Lo Bianco … Peter J. Nicholas
Deborah Raffin … Casey Forster
Sandy Dennis … Martha Nicholas
Sylvia Sidney … Elizabeth Mullin
Sam Levene … Everett Lukas
Robert Drivas … David Morten
Mike Kellin … Deputy Commissioner
Richard Lynch … Bernard Phillips
Sammy Williams … Harold Gorman
Jo Flores Chase … Mrs Gorman
William Roerick … Richards
Lester Rawlins … Board Chairman
Harry Bellaver … Cookie
George Patterson … Zero
Walter Steele … Junkie
John Heffernan … Bramwell
Alan Cauldwell … Bramwell as a Youth
Robert Nichols … Fletcher
Andy Kaufman … Police Assassin
Al Fann … Detective Squad
James Dixon … Detective Squad
Bobby Ramsen … Detective Squad
Peter Hock … Detective Squad
Alex Stevens … Detective Squad
Harry Madsen … Detective Squad
Randy Jurgensen … Detective Squad
Sherry Steiner … Mrs Phillips as a Girl
James Dukas … Doorman
Mason Adams … Obstetrician
William Bressant … Police Officer
Armand Dahan … Fruit Vendor
Vida Taylor … Miss Mullin as a Girl
Adrian James … Prostitute
Leila Martin … Nurse Jackson
Michael Pendry … Attendant
Dan Resin … Wall Street Executive
Sandro Mancori … Wall Street Executive (as Alexander Clark)
Marvin Silbisher … Wall Street Executive
Harry Eno … Medical Examiner

Technical details:

91 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Mono


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