I am a fan of Larry Cohen. From Black Caesar, Hell Up in Harlem, the It’s Alive series, and Q: The Winged Serpent, the man has developed a diverse body of work, and most of it is at least worth watching. Somehow, Gold Told Me To had eluded me up until Blue Underground released it to Blu-ray. This was not at all what I expected it to be, and may have become one of my favorite Cohen films. Fans of offbeat cinema should take note, this is one of this year’s Blu-rays that you’re not going to want to miss. I say “offbeat” because from the outside looking in, this just looks like your typical New York City thriller, where people are being terrorized by an unknown murderer. In reality, this is a Sci-Fi tale at its very core, and ventures into even stranger territory before it’s all over.
Casual genre fans may find it to be somewhat off-putting, for the very reason that I find it to be refreshing when compared to somewhat similar films. If you know absolutely nothing about God Told Me To before going in, the way in which the film transitions between different genres will grab your attention. From Crime/Thriller onto horror, and then again from Science Fiction, even dipping into Blaxploitation near the end, Cohen tried a “Kitchen Sink” approach to genre storytelling, and manages to pull it together extremely well. Another thing I really liked about God Told Me To, is that you really do have to pay attention. If you leave the film playing while grabbing a snack from the kitchen, you may return to an entirely different film, and have no idea what happened. There are a lot of moving parts here, so in a way, it’s like a brain game, only in the form of a late Seventies exploitation film.
Blue Underground, as usual, have put together an impressive release of Cohen’s film. There is a generous portion of bonus content, including a commentary, several interviews, a Q&A session with Larry Cohen from a screening of the film at the New Beverly, TV spots and more. The sound quality is nearly perfect. You have three audio tracks to choose from, including a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track which is the original mono recording, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track for good measure. During the feature, I switched back and forth between the 7.1 and 2.0 tracks. For the type of film this is, I much preferred the original 2.0 mono track, but both exemplary.
With a new 4K transfer, I highly doubt that Larry Cohen’s God Told Me To has ever looked better. In fact, I’d wager to say that, at least until the new 4K resolution players/displays become the standard, it may never look better than Blue Underground’s presentation. The images is remarkably film-like, with a healthy grain structure. Exterior scenes are absolutely gorgeous, but the well-lit interior scenes are almost as impressive. Even if the film itself wasn’t so engrossing, its presentation is so beautiful that I would highly recommend this disc to any proponents of film restoration. We’re treated to a ton of genre fare on the Blu-ray format, now that we have several competing boutique labels battling it out for licenses on bucket list titles, and God Told Me To is Blue Underground showing us the proper way to Blu-ray.