The Prophecy II (1998) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

Christopher Walken, Jennifer Beals, and Brittany Murphy star in the DTV sequel The Prophecy II. So WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

The episode of WTF Happened to This Horror Movie? covering The Prophecy II was Written by Mike Holtz, Narrated by Adam Walton, Edited by Jaime Vasquez, Produced by Andrew Hatfield and John Fallon, and Executive Produced by Berge Garabedian.

In 1995, Gregory Widen, writer of Backdraft and Highlander set out to tell a story about the darker side of angels with The Prophecy, formerly known as Daemons and God’s Army. The story involved an archangel named Gabriel, played by the absolute legend that is Christopher Walken, who had become jealous of God’s love for human beings. Or as he referred to us… monkeys. Does that make Ross from Friends our daddy? I knew some ladies (and men) in the 90s that would have totally been into that LOOK, WE’RE GETTING SIDETRACKED. The hurt was so deep for Gabriel and these fallen angels that it caused a Civil War in heaven between the obedient angels and the rebellious ones. Meanwhile on earth, a very bad man dies and his soul is so evil that whichever side retrieved it would completely alter the ESPN win probability rate in their favor. So, Gabriel comes to earth to retrieve it and turn Heaven into Hell by doing so BUT has his plot foiled by some good folks and Lucifer who’s probably a less good person but did happen to be wearing Viggo Mortenson. So, that’s cool. The film was an extremely cool idea with a killer cast that included everyone from Pulp Fiction’s Eric Stoltz to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s Elias Koteas but also suffered from pacing and heady exposition. The one thing everyone could agree on was that Christopher Walken playing a blood thirsty evil angel was a stroke of pure genius. In the end, the film doubled its $8 million dollar budget and as you would typically expect was resurrected and brought back for a sequel that re-casted Christopher Walken in the titular role again and was released straight to… home video? Wait, what? That’s right folks. This was a DIMENSION FILMS property….and this is WTF happened to… The Prophecy II.

Look, I’m going to be honest with you, this movie is somehow a ghost in the machine. For a movie produced and distributed by a film studio where the stories are never ending, there’s simply not a lot out there about The Prophecy II (watch it HERE), which is a shame because it’s an insanely weird and entertaining movie. What we do know is that for whatever reason, original creator Gregory Widen would come back as writer in “characters written by” status only and would be replaced in the director’s chair by a man who’d just impressed Dimension Films executives with his work on their other direct to video property Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering. Yes, someone was impressed by Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering. Don’t make me say it a third time, I’m hanging on by a thread as it is, man! That man was Greg Spence and The Prophecy II would be the last movie he directed to this day. Don’t feel bad for him however as he went on to be a Producer of projects like Game of Thrones and The Last of Us TV series. He’s doing just dandy. Spence would go on to tell Cinefantastique that he was “quite happy with the experience” of directing The Prophecy II for the executives at Dimension Films in the mid-nineties which will definitely make you question whether or not he was being held at gunpoint. Blink twice if you’re in danger, Greg.

The Prophecy II (1998) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

Spence was teamed up with Matt Greenberg (who would go on to write Halloween H20, 1408 and the Pet Sematary remake among other things) and they were told that the Weinstein’s wanted Walken back as Gabriel and also wanted the archangel Michael added into the fray. The crew then dug into Genesis in the Bible and came up with a story that not only tied into the original film but also amped up the entertainment factor. As Spence put it himself “we were interested in seeing the interesting elements of mythology kept, but making the film a little more genre, a little racier and maybe a little more scary than the first one”. They undoubtably succeeded in making The Prophecy II fit the trappings of the horror genre at the time. The deeply serious tones of the original (which were sometimes welcome and other times boring) are replaced here more action, Walken one liners and a faster paced storyline with a brisk hour and twenty-three-minute running time (GOD I miss those). Walken was as entertaining as ever and it wasn’t by accident. Spence says, “We had a lot of fun with Walken’s lines” and they purposefully infused a fish out of water storyline for the character of Gabriel. Here is this guy who’s ultra powerful, blood thirsty and scary as Hell, an evil archangel who has been around so long he’s literally the one who told Mary she was pregnant with Jesus…..and he’s completely bested by… MS DOS computer in a Dry Cleaners office. It’s genuinely hilarious and entertaining. Walken knows exactly what we want and he’s not afraid to give it to us; Vulcan-angel pinching humans left and right with a tap on the head and a “SHUSH” as they drop immediately to the floor as he floats by them with the seriousness of a man shopping for potato chips but he’s also capable of carrying the same vengeful tenacity he had during his scariest moments in the first film. Walken puts quite a show in what is dare I say his most underappreciated performance. The entire film has many similarities to its predecessor but is a whole heck of a lot quicker and infused with a lot more fun. It’s almost reminiscent of an Evil Dead to Evil Dead 2 type of scenario where the film feels the same only…..slightly drunk and much more care free.

Even the plot is alike in many ways. Where the original story was about Gabriel coming to earth to steal an evil soul, The Prophecy II focuses on Gabriel being kicked out of Hell with Lucifer claiming that Hell wasn’t “big enough for the both of them”. It’s like that movie Houseguest with Sinbad! Only its Satan and it’s actually nothing like that at all.

If you’re like me, you’re imagining Satan kicking Gabriel out like Uncle Phil would Jazzy Jeff in Fresh Prince of Belair. The front gate to Hell opens and Christopher Walken comes flying out with the devil slamming the door behind him. It’s not, unfortunately, but it is the next best thing when it decides to shamelessly borrow from James Cameron’s The Terminator. Here, Lucifer kisses his fingertips in a very uncomfortably close shot of his lips so that you can’t tell that Viggo Mortenson was re-cast, then wipes them across the pavement of the street like a cop about to taste the bad guys cocaine to make sure it’s real. We all know why you do it, guys. Come on. Next thing you know there’s lightning everywhere, the street opens up volcano style, a CGI car melts into it and out of it crawls a butt naked Christopher Walken, covered in goo and all I can think in this moment is ….if he’s not got any clothes or pockets? We all know where he’s keeping that pocket watch.

However you want to slice it, Gabriel is back on earth and once again, he’s on a mission. This time, it’s to stop a Nephilim from being born. Which, in this case, is someone who doesn’t rewind their video tapes before returning them to the video store. Actually, it’s a half baby/half angel that would eventually be the bridge to peace between the angels holding a Jerry Springer marathon upstairs. This was all prophesized by Thomas Daggett who is now played by Re-Animator’s Bruce Abbott instead of Elias Koteas because it’s the 90’s baby! There are no rules!

Gabriel goes on the hunt for Sarah Connor, I mean, nurse Valerie (played by the wide eyed and game for anything Jennifer Beals) who moments before had just experienced the reverse version of that scene from Don’t Be a Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, where Dashiki sleeps with Loc Dog and realizes she’s pregnant two minutes later. After sleeping with an angel after accidentally hitting him with her car. This what dudes had to do to get dates before the internet, people! So, the angel she slept with, Reece, I mean Danyael go on the run to protect the angel monkey in her stomach as the T-1000, I mean, Gabriel hunts them down. I think you get the point I’m trying to make here.

The Prophecy II (1998) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

This movie is more influenced by the Terminator than that kid from Halloween 2018 was influenced by girls feeding him guacamole in all those sexy kinds of ways. I’m not complaining. It’s a blast! Gabriel is once again on the warpath as he finds Thomas from the previous film (once again, now a totally different human being) and drops a haunting one liner on him before lighting him on fire. Which, is something he’ll do multiple times throughout the film. Still yet, the Terminator franchise comparisons don’t stop as The Prophecy II goes as far as borrowing from the “fish out of water” storyline from Terminator 2… and to great success. Gabriel realizes quickly that he doesn’t know how to use computers, guns, cars or even walkie talkies and brings back to life a young girl who’s just committed co-suicide with her boyfriend by smashing their car into a concrete wall so they could be together forever in the afterlife. This absolute shot of 90’s life is Izzy, played by the forever unforgettable Brittany Murphy in a role that was perfect for her. Gabriel tells Izzy that he’s not going to let her be with her boyfriend in the afterlife until she helps him complete his mission.

Think the plot explanation ends here? THINK AGAIN! Our hunter/prey storyline ends up in Eden from the Bible where the archangel Michael first makes his appearance played by none other than karate angel Eric Effin’ Roberts. The Best of the Best indeed! Danyael and Valerie came here looking for solace but found it to be less Eden-ey and more THE LITERAL STEEL WAREHOUSE FROM THE TERMINATOR.

The explanation for Eden becoming a Freddy Krueger boiler room is that it became an “industrial wasteland” due to everything going on with wars of Heaven (cough, convenient for the budget, cough). Whatever, Eric Roberts is here and he’s badass! Gabriel shows up and he and Michael have one hell of an archangel to archangel Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro dining room Heat moment before Gabriel continues his chase that leads to both Danyael and Izzy dying. This all leads to Arnold Schwarzenegger being slowly leveled into a pit of volcano juice with his thumbs up- Oh wait sorry, got my lines crossed again. It ends with Gabriel and Valerie on a moving steel apparatus that seems like something out of one of the dungeon levels from Super Mario Bros. Here, she reveals to Gabriel that God may not speak to him….but he does speak to her. Oh, snap. “He’s busy, bro”. Overcome with pain and jealousy in yet another great acting moment for Walken, he asks her what God says to her. She says “jump” before she grabs him and they both plummet to the ground where Gabriel is impaled on a spike but she is left unharmed. That’s some Scream VI character level luck right there! Good for you Valerie!

The film comes to a halt with Michael turning Gabriel into a human being as punishment for being such a world class prick. We last see him begging for change on a street corner across from a payphone and ranting. This sets us all up perfectly for another sequel of Walken/Gabriel badassery. Valerie decides to raise the child alone and the film leaves us with a powerful statement about how you can’t let the fear of the future stop you from raising your kids with love. The exact place we all knew the horror movie about rage filled angels was going to lead us!

It’s really an amazing accomplishment that this direct to video sequel manages to be so quickly paced and full of fun and action. So much is going on in this hour and twenty-three minutes that we haven’t even yet mentioned that in the most random of all movie cameos, Glenn Danzig of The Misfits and well, you know….Danzig (MOTHAAAA!) plays an angel named Samayel who dies in a street fight that’s a direct call back to the first Prophecy film. It’s the one where they smell each other like Schwarzenegger smelling bad guys coming downhill in Commando and leap out of windows multiple stories high to meet midair just to hug violently and fall back to the ground. I’m not sure why we felt the need to do this exact scene again but why not? Let’s run it back only this time we’re going to use Danzig and he’s going to get his heart ripped out of his chest. Just for funsies. Who wants a margarita?

Somehow, someway, Dimension Films, Greg Spence and Matt Greenberg teamed up and managed to get not only an even better performance out of Walken than the first time around but gave the film an entirely new spirit by casting the charismatic and loveable Brittany Murphy, even if Izzy is a total… to borrow a phrase from Brad Pitt’s Detective Mills in Seven… “Nut-bag, movie of the week” who keeps trying to shoot herself in diners so she can be with her boyfriend in the afterlife. It’s provocative! It gets the people going!

Dimension couldn’t bring back everyone but they did some nice cast finagling to get around the departure of Viggo the Luciferian and Elias Koteas. Actually, the only returning star besides Walken was the scene stealing Steve Hytner as the morgue doctor who does his own entertaining version of the “You’re all doomed” guy from Friday the 13th here.

In the end, The Prophecy II is a direct to video sequel that may be an afterthought due to the circumstances but really shouldn’t have been. The film clearly features a director, writer and cast who were very invested even as they worked the dusk until dawn schedule six nights a week while filming. Still, the director said, “it was a great bunch of people to stay up all night with” and I think you can tell by everyone’s engaging performances just how game everyone was for this wild little movie. Who wouldn’t have fun with this bat-shit crazy story that involves Christopher Walken walking around melting people’s faces literally and physically? And that my friends, is WTF happened to The Prophecy II. Thanks for watching! What’s your favorite Christopher Walken performance of all time? It’s impossible to choose for me but I’ll certainly tell you the weirdest you’ll ever see… 1989’s Communion. Walken being probed by aliens. Or is he probing them? Thank me later! Have a great day!

A couple of the previous episodes of WTF Happened to This Horror Movie? can be seen below. To see more, head over to our JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.