Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Prophecy, A New Look at a 1970s Disappointment

1979's "Prophecy" opened as a can't miss horror film....then missed badly. In it's favor, this monster film was directed by the great John Frankenheimer (The Train, French Connection 2), starred Talia Shire (Rocky, The Godfather), and was written by David Seltzer (The Omen).  The undoing? The creature looked like a giant, melting ice cream sundae, the characters were not likable, and the preachy nature of "Prophecy" turned off movie audiences looking for a diversion to the President Carter Era malaise.
A paper mill is dumping mercury into the Maine rivers causing mutations and poisoning the Indian population.  Rob (Robert Foxworth) is an idealistic doctor sent there by the EPA to assess the environmental impact of the mill on the forest. Rob is very grouchy, perhaps because Talia Shire is cast as his wife Maggie, and not Cheryl Ladd.   Maggie has morning sickness throughout the entire film.  After meeting Isely (Richard Dysart), the paper mill boss, he meets angry Indians (the film's term, not mine) lead by John Hawkes (a very European Armand Assante).  Later in the film, when Hawkes goes after the creature with a bow and's almost too much.
As the Indians battle the paper mill goons, Rob yells at everyone and our monster appears, gooey and tall.  Futile points regarding respecting nature and poisoning native peoples are referred to, usually yelled out by Rob.  The mega- hot fudge sundae goes through the characters like crap through a goose, and our warring parties must get along to survive.  Oh yes, pregnant Maggie has been drinking the poisoned water....will her newborn be a mutant?
A huge disappointment to audiences remembering "The Omen" and earlier Frankenheimer films, "Prophecy" was quickly forgotten about.  However, in 2016, this film has an appeal which can be a lot of fun.  Watch this movie with two friends and treat it as the films of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." The intentions of "Prophecy" may have been noble, but were horribly carried out.  Though not intended, a modern viewing will provide lots of laughs. "Prophecy" is available in great quality on YouTube.

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