Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 249: Thu Sep 6

Q: The Winged Serpent (Cohen, 1982) & God Told Me To (Cohen, 1976):
Roxy Bar & Screen, London Bridge, 7pm
This is screening as part of the Scala Beyond, a six-week season celebrating all forms of cinema exhibition across the UK, from film clubs to film festivals, picture palaces to pop-up venues. You can find more details here at the website.

Welcome back to the much-missed Exploding Head Film Club.

The Exploding Head Film Club's introduction to tonight's entertainment: Larry Cohen’s work as a writer-director – from blaxploitation classics like ‘Hell Up in Harlem’ to his groundbreaking ’70s-’80s horror movies – combines the satirical wit of George Romero, the genre nous of John Carpenter and the madcap thrills of the Corman school. Tonight’s event pairs two Cohen classics, both shot on the sleaziest streets No-wave era New York had to offer. ‘Q’ (aka Q: The Winged Serpent, 1982) explores what happens when an Aztec God returns to wreak havoc on the city, and stars Cohen regular Michael Moriarty as a scat-singing hoodlum. ‘God Told Me To’ (1976) is Cohen’s masterpiece, a gender-bending religious freakout in which Jesus comes to Manhattan to commit a series of bloody murders. There’ll also be a prime selection of era-defining NYC sounds and an intro by Time Out film writer Tom Huddleston.

Time Out review of Q - The Winged Serpent:'A plumed serpent ('Whaddya mean? That fuckin' bird?') is nesting in the top of the Chrysler Building, from where it swoops and gobbles up hapless New Yorkers. Cop Carradine and robber Moriarty form an uneasy alliance to flush out the beast. This is the kind of movie that used to be indispensable to the market: an imaginative, popular, low-budget picture that makes the most and more of its limited resources, and in which people get on with the job instead of standing around talking about it. Cohen knows there isn't the time or money to question the logic of anything, so he keeps his assembly so fast and deft that we're prepared to swallow whatever he tells us; and his script has much droll fun with a plot that keeps losing things ('Maybe his head just got loose and fell off'). He also gets great performances from Carradine as the cop who treats it all as part of a day's work, and (especially) Moriarty as the jittery criminal whose 15 minutes of fame ('I'm just asking for a Nixon-like pardon') leave him wondering if on some days it's better just to stay home in bed. We have no hesitation in awarding Oscars all round.'Chris Peachment

Here is the opening scene

Time Out review of God Told Me To:
'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.'
Steve Woolley
Here is the trailer

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