TV Guide Online - December 2005

Ian Allen, 2005

Our rating: (out of 4)

God told me to

Ian Allen's silent, tongue-in-cheek B&W remake of a 1922 anti-Mormon exploitation film of the same title (often called the REEFER MADNESS of Mormonsploitation) was produced by the lewd, rude, Washington D.C.-based theater troupe Cherry Red and is aimed at a select audience. If you're a member, you'll need little convincing to sample this perverse oddity. Pretty, sheltered Nora (Emily Riehl-Bedford) lives with her parents (Catherine Aselford, Tony Greenberg) and is engaged to Jim (Brent Lowder), a sailor who's often away. Though Nora's loved ones are all vehemently anti-Mormon, she falls under the spell of sinister LDS preacher Isoldi Keane (the marvelously named drag king Johnny Kat), who persuades her to bring her girlfriends from work to hear him speak. They too are won over by Keane's piercing gaze and promises of salvation. Keane asks Nora to be his bride, and knowing that her parents would never allow such a thing, Nora falls in with his plans to deceive them: Keane's sister, Sadie (Monique LaForce), poses as a woman of means who needs a companion to accompany her to the Netherlands. Knowing that the Dutch have no patience for Mormons, Nora's parents agree but Nora and Sadie instead go to London, where Keane puts the women up in a Mormon-owned hotel and takes Nora to a decadent jazz club. But even after a well-intentioned stranger surreptitiously warns Nora about the Mormons' history of exploiting young women like herself, she can't imagine the depths of depravity to which she is about to be exposed. Allen's hipster tribute to intolerance past largely rejects the camp excesses of, say, Reefer Madness: The Musical (2005) in favor of playing it (almost) straight. But casting male impersonator Kat as Isoldi Keane has the curious effect of throwing into doubt the gender of almost everyone else in the cast. This persistent uncertainty lends an off-kilter air to an otherwise faithful re-creation of the look and feel of silent-era filmmaking, while also paving the way for Allen's more outrageous embellishments on conventional anti-Mormon slanders. The product of this ingenuity is a slight spin on an obscure motion-picture artifact, but it's surprisingly artfully done.  — Maitland McDonagh

Country of Origin:
Color or b/w:
Black & White
Production Co(s).:
Cherry Red Productions
Released By:
Jeff Goode Entertainment
MPAA Rating:
Parental Rating:
Cautionary; some scenes objectionable
Running Time:


Johnny Kat
Isoldi Keane
Emily Riehl-Bedford
Nora Prescott
Monique LaForce
Sadie Keane
Tony Greenberg
Mr. Prescott
Catherine Aselford
Mrs. Prescott
Richard Renfield
Elder Kayler
Mark Osele
Elder Marz
Brent Lowder
Marcus Lawrence
Judith Baicich
Melissa-Leigh Douglass
Danielle Drakes
Rhonda Key
Andy Kuester
Dallas Miller
Paul Morton
Antonio Ordonez
Emily Rems
Brandon Thane Wilson
Jennifer Ambrosino
Jay Barber
Fiona Blackshaw
Dana Edwards
Elizabeth Engel
James Engel
Gabriel Fry
Dave Guess
John Horn
Brian Laycock
Dee Ann Lehr
Marisa Molnar
Lynette Morris
Erik Morrison
Glee Murray
Adrienne Nelson
Sica Nielsen
David Patrician
Todd Peterson
Karen Joan Topping
Paul Vodra
Allyn Weber

Elizabeth Engel
Tony Greenberg
Declan Murphy
Mark Osele
Eric Simpson
Exec. Producer
Neal T. Turtell
Mark Fontenot
Jeff Goode
Frederic Harwood
Tom Klamer
Pete Miller
Ian Armstrong
Ian Allen
Ian Allen
Chris McKenzie
Musical Composer
Tom King
Richard Renfield
Set Decorator
Kim Deane
Rabbi Weiss
DJ Lobster Boy
Melissa-Leigh Douglass
Rhonda Key
Chris McKenzie