Film (1976; vt Demon). Larco. Produced and directed by Larry Cohen. Written by Cohen. Cast includes Sandy Dennis, Tony Lo Bianco, Richard Lynch and Deborah Raffin. 89 minutes. Colour.
It is as well that Larry Cohen has his own production company, Larco, since it is impossible to imagine any other company taking on so eccentric a project. This is perhaps the most baroque sf movie ever made. A devout Catholic detective (Lo Bianco) investigates separate instances of mass murder linked by the assassins' confessions that God had told them to do it. Another link is the enigmatic Bernard (Lynch), revealed only at the end to be the hermaphroditic product of a virgin birth – he has a vagina – fathered by a sort of cross between an Alien from a flying saucer (see UFOs) and a pentecostal fire. Now a Messiah, he is responsible for the various murders, having used Psi Powers to programme the murderers. He offers to bear a child to the (childless) detective, who has only recently learned, to his dismay, that he himself is also the product of an alien-fathered virgin birth. Other directors faced with this bizarre material would have concentrated on the monstrous Bernard; Cohen typically turns it around into a study of the detective's feelings of religious guilt. For all its sophisticated religious symbolism, the film is structured as if it were a conventional policier. [PN]
see also: Cinema; Gods and Demons.
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