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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

God Told Me To aka 'Demon' [Blu-ray]

 

(Larry Cohen, 1976)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: New World Pictures

Video: Blue Underground

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:29:34.410 

Disc Size: 31,695,733,787 bytes

Feature Size: 24,294,027,264 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Chapters: 15

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 24th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3815 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 3815 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital EX Audio English 640 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1298 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1298 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, None

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer/Director Larry Cohen
Heaven & Hell On Earth - Interview with star Tony Lo Bianco (11:26)
Bloody Good Times - Interview with Special Effects Artist Steve Neill (9:09)
God Told Me To Bone - New Beverly Q&A with Larry Cohen (21:14)
Lincoln Center Q&A with Larry Cohen (8:06)
God Told Me To Advertising - Theatrical Trailer and five TV Spots (3:42)

Demon Advertising - 1 Trailer + 2 TV Spots (2:09)
Poster & Still Gallery
(:43)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A rooftop sniper guns down 14 pedestrians on the streets of New York City. A mild-mannered dad takes a shotgun and blows away his wife and children. A cop goes on a sudden shooting spree at the St. Patrick's Day Parade. And each of these unlikely killers makes the same dying confession: "God told me to." Now a repressed Catholic NYPD detective (Tony Lo Bianco of THE HONEYMOON KILLERS and THE FRENCH CONNECTION) must uncover a netherworld of deranged faith, alien insemination and his own unholy connection to a homicidal messiah with a perverse plan for the soul of mankind.

Written, produced and directed by Larry Cohen (Q - THE WINGED SERPENT), this critically acclaimed cult classic remains one of the most disturbing and thought-provoking horror films of our time. Deborah Raffin (DEATH WISH 3), Sandy Dennis (A COLD DAY IN THE PARK), Sylvia Sidney (BEETLEJUICE), Mike Kellin (SLEEPAWAY CAMP), Richard Lynch (BAD DREAMS), and Andy Kaufman (TAXI) co-star in this one-of-a-kind chiller, now featuring a brand-new 4K High Definition transfer from the original uncensored negative along with exclusive new Extras created especially for this release!

 

 

The Film:

Released theatrically as God Told Me To, this inventive film from "B"-movie auteur Larry Cohen was later re-named Demon after television distributors refused to air it under the original title. The convoluted, tabloid-flavored storyline (predating the kind of stories frequently featured on The X-Files) involves a series of motiveless murders committed by various New York residents: a sniper picks off targets from a water tower; a mild-mannered father murders his entire family; and a cop (Andy Kaufman, of all people) opens fire during a St. Patrick's Day parade. The only consistent pattern to the crimes involves the perpetrators' calm admissions of guilt, explaining, "God told me to." While investigating the murders, devoutly-Catholic police detective Peter Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) is increasingly troubled by evidence of a Christ-like figure named Bernard Phillips (Richard Lynch) who appeared to each of the killers and can't seem to shake the feeling that his own fate is inexplicably linked to this mysterious being. As he comes closer to the truth, his worst fears are confirmed -- particularly after a telling conversation with Bernard's tormented mother (Sylvia Sidney), who reveals the horrifying secret of her son's unnatural birth. Cohen has often used the "B"-movie format to address rather lofty concepts, and this is certainly no exception -- tackling no less than the existence of God and the nature of human beliefs -- but clumsy editing and an outrageous FX-heavy finale tend to obscure this film's unique vision.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

A delirious mix of sci-fi, pseudo-religious fantasy and horror detective thriller, with Lo Bianco as the perfect existential anti-hero - a New York cop and closet Catholic, guiltily trapped between wife and mistress. His investigations into a bizarre spate of mass murders lead right to the top: Jesus Christ, no less, is provoking innocent citizens to go on a murderous rampage. The wonderfully insane plot - involving spaceships, genetics and police corruption - builds to an ambiguous climax: a 'gay' confrontation which suggests an outrageous alternative to anal intercourse. God Told Me To overflows with such perverse and subversive notions that no amount of shoddy editing and substandard camerawork can conceal the film's unusual qualities. Digging deep into the psyche of American manhood, it lays bare the guilt-ridden oppressions of a soulless society.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guiide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

God Told Me To comes to Blu-ray from Blue Underground. This is advertised as a 'brand-new 4K High Definition transfer from the original uncensored negative'. The dual-layered visuals with high bitrate look fabulous. There is substantial grain and a high level of detail notable in the film's many close-ups. Depth is apparent. The 1080P has impressive contrast and realistic colors exporting some solid depth. This Blu-ray image is excellent producing a strong HD image, with no damage or marks, and a pleasing, consistent video presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Blue Underground use a 3 robust options including a whopping DTS-HD Master 7.1 at 3815 kbps bump that sounds quite impacting for the film's effects and Frank Cordell riveting score. There are also a Dolby Digital EX 5.1surround and another DTS-HD Master but in 2.0 channel at 1298 kbps. The latter is an important inclusion being the most authentic, if flatter with not as much range. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

I thoroughly enjoyed the audio commentary with writer/producer/director Larry Cohen sharing multiple anecdotes about the production and performers. He is quite a character and offers a lot of interesting details regarding making God Told Me To including how Robert Forster was cast and shot for 2 days before Tony Lo Bianco as well as Cohen's own inventive, thinking-on-his-feet filmmaking prowess including being his own casting director. I appreciated hi comments on Sylvia Sidney. There are some new Blue Underground - Red Shirt production featurettes including a dozen minutes interview with star Tony Lo Bianco entitled Heaven & Hell On Earth and ten minutes with special effects artist Steve Neill. The piece is called Bloody Good Times. God Told Me To Bone has Cohen at the New Beverly in a Q&A for 20-minutes. We also get 8-minutes with Cohen from 2002 at the Lincoln Center for another Q&A. Lastly, are some God Told Me To advertising - trailers and TV spots as well as for Demon and some poster and stills gallery.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Wow - what a hoot! - Often I watch these 'marginal' horror-cum-exploitation flics and am left somewhat unsatisfied. This is one of the very best encapsulating all the superior attributes of cheese, suspense and science-fiction. Bravo to Larry Cohen! The Blue Underground Blu-ray is a wonderful way to embrace this charismatic, nostalgic achievement - a unique video that evokes such vivid impressions and recollections of past classics. I was genuinely impressed. Strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

February 12th, 2015

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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