FRIDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS: God Told Me To - The Whisper Cut

In a lot of ways 1976′s God Told Me To remains the quintessential Larry Cohen film. A “genre film” in a truest sense, it blurs the lines between other kinds of exploitation films as only Cohen seemed to do. What starts as a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller about a roof-top sniper, quickly turns into a horror movie, then sci-fi, incorporates a corrupt cop subplot, all before crescendoing in a trippy super-powered freakout. Yet Cohen guides it along a simple organic narrative evolution — all set in the guerilla-shot vérité New York City that he became famous for. When Cohen was putting the film together, it was originally to be titled Whisper, and was to be scored by Bernard Hermann. In order to get a special tax credit, Cohen needed to do an advanced screening. So he produced a 35mm print and screened it for one week in one theater in Oregon. Then, as the story goes, Bernard Hermann died tragically less than 24 hours after the screening, unable to score the film. Frank Cordell was hired to score the film, it was recut, and eventually titled God Told Me To — leaving this original 35mm print a strange anomaly for a movie that never was. Never released on any format or screened again, Cohen has dug up this mystery print (“The Whisper Cut”) for a very special show.

Dir. Larry Cohen, 1976, 35mm, Approx. 90 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!