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In New York, several people you never would expect it from -
among them a policeman (Andy Kaufman) during the St Patrick's Day Parade
- go on a killing spree, & their only motive for doing so is "God
told me to".
Peter Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) who investigates this case, soon
realizes these are not just your average loonies, because there are a few
too many of them to call it coincidence, & he looks for a link, any
kind of link, between the killers ... & soon he finds out they were
all friends with a certain Bernard Phillips (Richard Lynch), a hippie-type
guy whose face, strangely enough, noone seems to remember ... but for the
killers, he seems to have been some sort of messiah - which does somehow
upset Nicholas, as he's a religious man himself.
Eventually, he finds out that Phillips' mother (Sherry Steiner) has
given virgin birth to Bernard, & has claimed to have been abducted by
But by then, Phillips seems to be after him too, sending people out to
dessuade him from continuing the investigation, or even kill him, but
instead, Nicholas can convince one of them to take him to Phillips.
Phillips seems to be an ethereal being, every bit as weird as you
would expect from te offspring of a human mother & an alien father ...
but for some reason Phillips just can't kill Nicholas ...
But why ?
Nicholas has to investigate his own past of which he knows very little
since he was given away for abortion right after his birth, but he manages
to search out his real mother (Sylvia Sidney) &, not revealing his
true identity, questions her about his birth ... & his worst suspicions
are confirmed, that his mother as a young girl (then played by Vida
Taylor) was also abducted by aliens who impregnated her without taking her
virginity, a fact that subsequently destroyed her whole life ... & now
it might destroy his life as well.
Nicholas realizes that he must have the same powers as Phillips, &
first uses them to the worst of ends, when he through mindcontrol makes a
few drugpushers kill each other.
Then he meets up with Phillips again, who invites Nicholas to join him,
now that he has had a taste of the incredible powers ... instead though,
Nicholas sets Phillips appartment on fire, thus killing him. He himself is
soon arrested by the police, but takes it calmly, & when reporters ask
him about his reasons he tells them "God told me to !"
Another of these mean, wicked Larry Cohen films which might be best
described as thinking man's pulp. On the surface this might be just
another sci-fi-serial killer film, only the whole premise is way cleverer
than n your standard fare: What if killers who claim that God told them to
are not just loonies, but there really is a God who tells them to ...
only this God is an evil alien? & the film thinks its premise further,
how can you fight such a thing ? & if you had the powers, could you
resist them ?
But all this Cohen puts into the context of a film that never forgets
its main raison d'être is not a philosophical discourse, but a movie that
is supposed to entertain its audience.