Released theatrically as God Told Me To, this inventive film from B-movie auteur Larry Cohen was later re-named Demon after television distributors refused to air it under the original title.
The convoluted, tabloid-flavored storyline (predating the kind of stories frequently featured on The X-Files) involves a series of motiveless murders committed by various New York residents: a sniper picks off targets from a water tower; a mild-mannered father murders his entire family; and a cop (Andy Kaufman, of all people) opens fire during a St. Patrick's Day parade.
The only consistent pattern to the crimes involves the perpetrators' calm admissions of guilt, explaining, God told me to.
While investigating the murders, devoutly-Catholic police detective Peter Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) is increasingly troubled by evidence of a Christ-like figure named Bernard Phillips (Richard Lynch) who appeared to each of the killers and can't seem to shake the feeling that his own fate is inexplicably linked to this mysterious being.
As he comes closer to the truth, his worst fears are confirmed -- particularly after a telling conversation with Bernard's tormented mother (Sylvia Sidney), who reveals the horrifying secret of her son's unnatural birth.
Cohen has often used the B-movie format to address rather lofty concepts, and this is certainly no exception -- tackling no less than the existence of God and the nature of human beliefs -- but clumsy editing and an outrageous FX-heavy finale tend to obscure this film's unique vision.