Inventory book excerpt: No, seriously, you’re next! 15 movies where the crazies are right

13. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Although the first Terminator movie ended on a hopeful note, with Linda Hamilton destroying the robot sent back in time to kill her and the unborn son destined to protect humanity from a future machine revolt, it didn’t solve the biggest problem—there was still going to be a nuclear war, and billions of deaths. Director James Cameron brilliantly picked up that loose plot thread for the sequel, in which Hamilton discovers that knowing the future is a curse if nobody believes you. Obsessively driven to survive the coming apocalypse, she winds up locked in an asylum, where her shrink treats her outlandish stories of time-traveling murderous skeleton robots with the seriousness they seem to deserve.

14. God Told Me To (1976)
B-movie auteur Larry Cohen begins his creepiest film with a sniper on a New York City water tower firing randomly and with deadly accuracy at the crowd below. When city cop Tony Lo Bianco corners him, the gunman smiles beatifically and explains, “God told me to.” He seems like a lone psycho—until similar murders break out across the city, with no apparent connection beyond “God” causing ordinary citizens to develop a homicidal religious mania and send their loved ones to heaven the hard way. (In God Told Me To’s most infamous sequence, a beat cop played by Andy Kaufman begins shooting wildly during the St. Patrick’s Day parade—a scene filmed guerilla-style during the real parade.) Lo Bianco is horrified to discover that the prime mover is a sinister Jesus-meets-Jim-Jones cult leader whose brainwashing powers come from the UFO that kidnapped and forcibly impregnated his virgin mother. The God story sounds sane by comparison.

Originally published on Nov. 16, 2009 as part of a group-written Inventory feature; I wrote the sections on Terminator 2: Judgment Day and God Told Me To. Read the complete article.

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