Old 05-01-2004, 04:17 PM
Prophecy: The Monster Movie (1979)


Plot: The dispute between a local group of Native Americans and a sawmill looks like it’s going to turn deadly and the forests well being is at stake. But that’s not all, it seems toxic waste has turned up a fig bucking inside out bear with a bad attitude! Will the local fish out of water be able to save the forest and survive the hair raising, rubber monster?

There’s nothing quite like starting your movie out with something a little different, something that is a subtle potion weird, silly, and downright horrifying at the same time. Frankenheimer (I’ve already stopped taking this movie seriously), director, does this action quite nicely as three men and some hunting dogs whisk through the night forest. This is just the set up for our profound visual punch line, of course, because as the men start to lose control of their mutts, one runs at full speed straight off the cliff… the next instant, our poor canine is hanging by his neck limply. Now, I wonder why the dog would do such an idiotic thing. I have never seen a dog or any other domestic animal run straight off a cliff for no apparent reason, even less so for hunting dogs (you can’t have a dumb hunting mutt can you?). So the only answer, a fairly obvious one at that, must be that the dog was attempting to commit suicide.

Were the hunters that bad? Did they abuse the dog? Well, it wouldn’t matter much anyway because our nameless fodder goes down a cliff, or falls for that matter, and is munched by big rubber denchers. Hey, this guy could be a spokesman for PITA or something, “abuse your dogs and you’ll answer to more than a salad taco.” (Pita? Get it?) But with all joking aside, I am happy to report there was one survivor, one of the dogs, who we see air lifted by chopter later on, gurney and all. A happy ending.

Congratulations are in order for The Prophecy because it managed to be entertaining for over two minutes before we set into our real plot: Save the environment. Ugh. Okay, I like the environment and if I wasn’t so lazy and immoral I would help too, but for goodness sakes the theme almost never makes an amusing 90-minute feature. The only thing worse are religious movies (sans Q), I will never denounce religion but for the lord knows as much as the rest of us that the Left Behind movies were the equivalent of watching a twenty hour Lifetime channel movie marathon. But what was I to do? I paid to see an inside out reptile/bear/fish/crawdad and dammit, I was going to see it.

I will give credit where credit is due; I was engrossed by The Prophecy’s performances. The characters were stiff and acted like they were advertising on a billboard; however, they seemed to fit the dark and chaotic atmosphere the movie put forth. Still, I could have used a musical interlude with the “Save the Earth” song from Godzilla vs. Hedorah. The almost inhuman feel to everything about this movie stuck with me and furthered the descriptive plot, detailing the horrors of pollution and the character sub-plot of having a child. The morals would seem like they need a compassionate side, but the glazed persona’s of everyone gave a preoccupied and dwelling sensation on all of the horrors that lie within the same time and place.

About now is a good time to point out that this feels a lot like a Larry Cohen movie (my hero!), only not as well managed and less bizarre. There are several in depth stories going on at once, and like Cohen’s monster movie Q, the Winged Serpent we see The Prophecy shove the monster antics further in the background. However, Q didn’t make the monster an after thought of other themes nor did Cohen see the need to become an unbiased party in the film. The Prophecy is a wiz about making 85% of everything impartial to the sensitive issues at hand (you would have to see it, but the most emotional person is the spokesman-guy from the mill).

Now throw in fifteen minutes of solid rubber bear/lizard/frog/Tony Robins and you have a complete and unabridged view of this film… well, I guess I forgot the chainsaw/axe fight near the beginning of the movie (after the dog on the gurney). But that doesn’t gather attention does it? Oh…

These back burner elements are what can make a movie about religion or the environment really entertaining and give it impact or transform the movie into “just another crack pot idea.” That’s where the real damage comes in; the monster elements are just not good enough to make them credible in the situation. What’s even worse (but obviously for the best) is that The Prophecy cannot avoid these moments; it’s intricate to the plot. Although, the exploding sleeping bag scene wasn’t but that’s what we call comedy… it’s also the best scene in the movie, so relevance is no longer an issue.

When the monster portion of the film, the finale, finally does come around, I felt more in my home court (bad monster movies), but I missed the “meaningful” undertones, the rest of the movie doesn’t sustain a strong balance of it’s themes, making most of the movie seem worthless. Larry Cohen wouldn’t make this happen, Frankenheimer should remember that!

Even with its mish-mashed finale and inconsistent script, I deem The Prophecy to be worth a look for adventurous fans of trash cinema.


“WWLCD, What would Larry Cohen do?”
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:28 PM

I seem to like this flick a hell of a lot more than most.

Granted, the INSIDE OUT BEAR is a great deflator of any pretension, but it seemed that Johnny tried to make a serious horror picture and I think he did quite well.

The cello playin' wife offered a really cool angle with her whole thannnng and I thought that really endearing. She reminded me of Shelly Duvall, without the fucked up underbite.
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Old 05-21-2004, 11:27 AM
Silly me, I forgot about this review altogether. I like the movie, it just isn't as good as it could have. As I said, some movies can utilize very little monster action and be successful, some of my favorite movies do this, but the monster action has count that much more.

What we got was a twisted flick that manages to be some what compelling, if only for a the duration of it's running time.

And I still can't believe that poor dog just ran off that cliff
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Old 10-16-2008, 07:09 PM
I like the movie except for the fact that the bear monster looks fake and sounds like a T-Rex or something. It does have alot of jump scenes and creepy music but I think it would be better if the bear thing was shown less/masked in shadows. It's also kindof slow, but it is effective at times.

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Old 10-17-2008, 07:53 PM
I actually own this film, because of all the talk of it on these boards.

I thought it was fun, but not incredibly scary...more of a drinking with friends flick.

*waits anxiously for skweemkween and her 'inside out bear' talk*
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:51 PM
This movie would have been scary as hell if the monster was shown less or if they had a different looking monster altogether, its the only thing wrong with the movie in my opinion. It looks cool in closeup shots but when you see its full body it looks hilariously bad...shame, as the movie is pretty suspenseful and creepy at times. I'd love to see a remake.

Edit : Ha, didn't realize I already posted in this thread. Oh well.
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