Directed by John Frankenheimer
Written by David Seltzer
Produced by Robert L. Rosen
Music by Leonard Rosenman
Cast: Talia Shire, Robert Foxworth, Armand Assante, Richard Dysart & Victoria Racimo
1979/102 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 2.0
2.35:1 Anamorphic/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Paramount DVD
1979 was a good year for horror films. Underwater zombie's were biting sharks in Fulci's ZOMBI 2, evil little bastards were attacking folks in Cronenberg's THE BROOD, Coscarelli brought us the "tall man" in PHANTASM, and even WHEN A STRANGER CALLS brought back the whole urban legend thing after the Canadian film BLACK CHRISTMAS successfully executed the same topic five years prior. This was a time when horror was booming, so fittingly John Frankenheimer had the idea to make a horror film that contained a moral backbone - in addition to having a gigantic deformed mutant bear.
When local Aboriginal people rally against a lumber company destroying their forests, Caucasian-afro ridden Dr. Robert Verne (Robert Foxworth) travels to their land to be an unbiased medium between the two parties. Verne arrives with wife Maggie (Talia Shire) and in no time they become witness to abnormal occurrences that are a regularity to the Indians everyday life. They just accept the fact that things grow bigger there. Things seem to flourish in (what the locals call) the Garden of Eden, but contradictory to the flourishing of the land, people are dying every year, and children are born deformed.
The local pond seems to feed into the water of the paper mill, and once a study of the water from the mill returns Verne realizes that the water has been contaminated with a substance called Methylmercury which causes chromosome corruption, and freakism, "Freakism, that's what's been going on out there. That's why there is a goddamn salmon five-feet long and a tadpole the size of what a bullfrog should be."
PROPHECY is a film that portrays the adverse effects of pollution on the environment. Unlike many films today (especially of the horror variety) PROPHECY attempts to bring these environmental situations to life while making an entertaining monster flick. This one really is an oddity though. The overall storyline is serious but once the legend of Katadin, (a creature with "parts of all things created" that supposedly protects the people of the forest) turns out to be a pissed off guy in a latex monster suit playing an out of control retarded bear, it becomes a truly strange entity. I would expect a film such as this to have lesser acting than the film contains, but surprisingly the actors competently perform their tasks. I love cheesy latex puppets, and what better than a life-size latex puppet? For some reason during the creature's screen time I couldn't help but recollect the GODMONSTER FROM INDIAN FLATS.
Back during the time this film was made it seems the MPAA was a lot more merciful with their ratings system - PROPHECY being rated PG is a prime example. Although not an extremely graphic film, it does contain some gruesome effects, and monster make-up including a decapitation and an abundance of exploding squibs in the finale of this now 18A Canadian rated film. A notable sequence follows a camping family sleeping peacefully in the wilderness to be disrupted by the creature. One unsuspecting child bundled up to the head in his banana-colored sleeping bag quickly becomes a mass of feathers when he is rocketed into a boulder by the Werebeast. Another more artistically driven shot of cinematography contains a boast of classical music as the camera lingers by bodies splattered across the rocky ground surrounding a serene lake. You gotta love it.
The lovely folks at Paramount present PROPHECY in a crystal clear 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This film looks fantastic as if released yesterday with vibrant colors and black blacks while containing its original faint film grain. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 and does the job, and mainly resides in the front channels. I would have loved to see this film as a special edition with a bountiful of extras but instead you'll have to settle for 'Interactive Menus' and a 'Scene Selection'. As noted on the back of the packaging the 'special features are not rated', so be warned kiddies. The joke's on us I guess.
No points were allowed since there is no extra(s).
This Film Features:
Review by Chris Mayo. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©