I was 8 years old when PROPHECY hit the theaters. I remember seeing a picture of the monster in one of my parent’s magazines and begging the adults in my life to take me to see it. Of course none of them would siting, “You’ll get nightmares!” Monster kids will note that this was the “You’ll shoot your eye out kid,” line handed to us with consistent regularity. It would be a full decade when, in my teenaged years, I’d finally be able to see the film on VHS. In my opinion, it was well worth the wait.
The film centers around Maggie (Talia Shire) and Rob (Robert Foxworth), a couple living in the city. Rob is a super liberal whose work in the inner city has shown him the darker aspects of humanity, thereby not wanting him to add to the world’s population issues by bringing another into this world. This is a bit of a dilemma to his wife, Maggie, who discovers that she’s pregnant and doesn’t quite know how to break the news to her sanctimonious hubby.
Rob’s expertise leads him to being sent from the urban jungle of New York City to the lush state of Maine where he’s asked to help settle a depute between a logging corporation and a group of Native Americans. Unbeknownst to anyone, the logging plant is causing a lot more issues than just cutting down too many trees. Their use of the chemical mercury to treat the fallen trees, while plopping them into the waterways has created all kinds of unwanted mutations in the local wildlife. This includes super-sized fish & tadpoles, a raging raccoon, and the star monster of this attraction – a towering behemoth that looks like a bear crossed with THE TOXIC AVENGER.
While the 1950’s saw a big screen world dominated by giant insects due to the Atomic-age, the 70’s was more Eco-conscious regarding their man vs nature films. Animals such as ants, bees, and spiders retained their original size while still proving formidable against man for causing pollution, habitat loss, and overall meddling. I always had a special place in my heart for this one, however, for taking that premise and giving it more of a monster embellishment. When avoiding full body shots, the beast looks pretty damn scary and even his less-than-lovable offspring will make you shudder.
Nothing like your childhood Teddy Bear
The film does have some unintentional humor to it, my favorite being the scene where the beast knocks a young camper in his banana sleeping bag against a rock with enough force it explodes like a mortar, amid a sea of fuzzy down feathers! Color me morbid, but I’ve yet to watch this movie without rewinding that particular scene at least twice before continuing on.
For younger horror fans who are accustomed to CGI creatures that look like rejects from a video game, I strongly urge you to grab some friends and watch this one. Its a lot of fun and, no, I still won’t forgive my parents for preventing me from seeing it on the big screen!
7 thoughts on ““Prophecy”…A sleeping bag won’t save You from a Mutant Bear!”
Dave – I LOVE this movie, though it seems to be very much overlooked these days. I was fortunate enough to see it in the theater when it was first released. Like you said, this one harkened back to the monster movies of the 50’s, but with pollution and ecological damage being the culprit, rather than atomic radiation and fallout. I had an old VHS copy for many years, which I’d just about worn out. Luckily, a couple years ago around Halloween, I spotted a DVD copy at WalMart for $5.00, and snapped it up I only just watched it for the umpteenth time a couple of weeks ago, so it’s still pretty fresh in my mind. Like you, I also find the sleeping bag scene to be hilarious (though cringe-worthy), but overall, the creature attack of the family campsite in the middle of the night is pretty darn scary. This movie had some great kills, without being overly gory, and the whole trek through the forest in the latter part of the movie is real edge-of-your-seat stuff, as far as I’m concerned. Great flick! Thank you for writing about it, and focusing some much-needed attention on an all but forgotten classic monster movie from the late 70’s.
Thanks for the comment Richard! I’m so glad I’m not alone in my reverence of this film. It must have been so cool seeing this one the big screen. I agree with what you said about the infamous camping scene…other than the unintentionally funny sleeping bag moment, it was pretty darn creepy!
I saw this back in the drive-in when it was released and have watched it a few times since..
It harkens back to the 70’s with the guy with disco permed hair etc.
Prophecy is one of my favorite horror films! I agree with your review entirely, especially about the bear looking good in closeups and not so good in full body shots, that brought it down a bit but overall it was an intense horror movie. I thought it looked perfect during the finale when it picked up Robert Foxworth, those massive arms lifting him looked great. I remember having the VHS for a while and it was so dark that I couldn’t even see Katahdin during the sleeping bag scene, but when I got the DVD I jumped a bit when I saw him in clear picture. Despite being a barebones DVD, I was quite impressed with the transfer.
I really want to see this one uncut when it hits Blu-Ray (it better!) , Frankenheimer said that the gore scenes he cut out contained the best effects of the movie. Shame.
Dustin – Thanks so much for your comments! I’m really excited to hear that there are some PROPHECY treasures out there and, like you, will be keeping my fingers crossed that a future Blu-Ray release will bring them into the lite. A director’s cut PROPHECY? Let’s start a campaign!
My dad worked in a movie theater around the time they made this movie, and he always tells me about the time that he got an Untitled work print of this movie, that was ten times the gore, and even more frightening. I’m 22, and I’ve spent the last 7 years searching the internet for one of these film reels that may have survived.
Evan, this is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing but, when you find it, PLEASE let me know.