Posted in 3.5 Star Films, Blue Underground, Cult Films, Original Films, Sci-Fi Horror Films with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2009 by Dave Surber

Don’t let it control you!

“A rooftop sniper picks off pedestrians on the streets of New York City. A mild-mannered dad takes a shotgun and blows away his wife and children. A cop [played by Andy Kaufman!] goes on a sudden shooting spree. And each of these unlikely killers makes the same dying confession: “God told me to.” -Netflix

Written, produced, and directed by cult-filmmaker Larry Cohen, “God Told Me To” (aka “Demon aka “God Told Me to Kill) is 1976 sci-fi horror film starring Deborah Raffin, Sandy Dennis and Tony Lo Bianco.” Tony plays Peter Nicholas, a badass and street-smart homicide detective. The film is set in the awesomness that is motherf*ck’n 1970s NYC.

The film opens on this dude that’s cap’n people with a deer rifle while up on one of those old-school wooden NYC water towers. He smokes like 14 people from up there. Of course detective Nicholas doesn’t like that much. He intervenes and asks the sniper, “why?” WHY?!” Sniper dude says, “god told me to.” He then dives drunken-sailor style off that tower and splats all over the street below.

A few days later, a possessed NYC cop (played by Any Kaufman!) goes on a murderess-shooting spree while in a Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Nicholas catches this dude too and just before the cop dies he tells Nicholas “god told me to”.

Soon after, detective Nicholas finds himself investigating multiple murderers who after being caught claim the exact same thing; “god told me to.” After some fancy detective work, Nicholas discovers that there seems to be a crazy cult that’s influencing these murderess kats. Not only that, but he himself is an instrumental part of their plan. But who are these cult figures? What do they want? Better yet, how can Nicholas bust some crazy-cult-mofo ass??!!

Honestly, I really wanted like this flick more. It’s original, stylish, and from the 70s- Nough said. And, without giving the film away, the film’s premise/storyline is pretty amazingly weird. However, this film suffers from some poor direction and editing which causes the film to lag at times. Don’t get me wrong it has some rad moments, but those moments are few and far between. I wanted the film to be either so bad it’s freak’n awesome, or just plain badass. It was neither. All that said, I still enjoyed the movie and I’m glad I got tha chance to see it- if for nothing else to see Kaufman play a berserko cop!

Dave’s rating for “God Told Me To: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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TENEBRE (1982)

Posted in 4 Star Films, Giallo Films, Italian Horror Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2009 by Dave Surber

Terror Beyond Belief!

When American writer Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) takes a business trip to Rome to promote his latest book entitled “Tenebre”, he finds himself surrounded by a series of brutal murders that mirror those contained within his novel. With the help of his literary agent Bullmer (John Saxon), Detective Germani (Giuliano Gemma), and Detective Altieri (Carola Stagnaro) Peter sets out to stop the killer! Bring on tha crazy killz you crazy killer you!

Written and directed by Dario Argento, Tenebre (aka Tenebrea) is a solid addition to the “giallo” film genre. Like most giallo films, it is highly stylized, has fantastic cinematography, and contains extremely graphic scenes of violence. That is not to say the film is mean spirited. Au contraire! It’s artistic, quirky, and entertaining (albeit those sensitive to gore will most likely not like Tenebre or Argento’s films for that matter). Simply put, Tenebre is more of an ultra-stylish-80s-radical-who-done-it thriller than your standard slasher pic.

Like all of Argento’s films, Tenebre has a strong “visible-filmmaking” style to it. What I mean by this is that the film presents itself as an artistic film rather than a depiction of reality. Everything from Luciano Tovoli’s cinematography, to Franco Fraticelli’s editing, to Giuseppe Bassan’s production design is extremely apparent and original. All of these cats not only knew how to make a visually stunning film, but they knew how to depict the style of the early 80’s as well. Props.

Some will find the acting and directing in Tenebre to be ridiculously melodramatic, but I think it adds to the film’s overall charm and eccentricity.  Like much of Argento’s work, Tenebre is an odd film that contains a lot of unexplained events, paranormal activity, and outlandish death scenes.

Undoubtedly some of you recognize Tenebre’s self-titled theme song, “Tenebre” that appears on the film’s trailer from Justice’s (a French electronic music group) album entitled †. That’s because Justice heavily sampled “Tenebre” for their songs “Phantom” and “Phantom pt. II”. The soundtrack to Tenebre was composed and performed by former members of the rock group Goblin. If you are not already familiar with the collaboration between Argento and Goblin you should look into it. They worked on many films together and churned out some bad-ass art.

Dave’s rating for Tenebre: 4.0 out of 5 stars

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In case you are unfamiliar with Justice,  I’ve embedded two videos below featuring music from Justice’s “Phantom” and “Phantom pt. II”.

Justice – “Phantom”

Justice – “Phantom pt. II”