Friday, March 19, 2010


One of my lasting memories was as a five year old kid and seeing a billboard for PROPHECY on the way back from visiting my late uncle and aunt in Pembroke Pines. That’s pretty terrifying artwork for that age and I was so freaked out and excited by it that John Frankenheimer’s eco-horror misfire has occupied a space in my brain ever since.

Cut to a few years later and after seeing it on TV, I can’t say I was impressed. And I was probably 7. This means I was pretty impressionable. Whatever, one more horror film down, 109,456 more to go.

Fast forward to 2010. I still have PROPHECY on the brain and decide after 20+ years, its time to revisit the old girl.

I’m still not impressed.

But I looooove this fucked-up movie.

Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire play doctor and musician. Foxworth is a doctor who specializes in social justice while Shire plays the day away with a local orchestra. She’s pregnant and he doesn’t want kids in this crappy world. By sheer movie luck, Foxworth gets a break from a politically connected friend to investigate a logging factory in Maine for the EPA. Why the EPA would trust such a sensitive job to one lone general practioner who specializes in treating ghetto denizens for rat bites on the whim of a federal flunkie is beyond me, but hey, it was 1979.

So up to Maine we go. There FoxShire (for brevity) run into a dispute between the local Native Americans and the corporate logging company. The company is poisoning the land and the Indians, led by everybody’s favorite Irish-Italian Armand Assante are practicing non-violent protest, even while they’re having chainsaws thrust in their faces.

Foxworth teams up with Assante and gets aggressive about what’s being dumped in the waters of the forest and lo and behold, mercury is showing up in the muck of the bank. And that is creating huge monster fish, crazy ass raccoons and mutant bears. Here's the killer raccoons by the way.

And since Shire’s been eating mercury tainted fish, there may be a mutant baby in the future. That's another movie all together.

Until that happy day, we only have the killer mutant momma bear and a couple of mutant baby bears terrorizing the forest and a Talia Shire that cries and stays silent a lot and while the kills are minimal, the movie makes up for it with hammy acting and out-of-the-ordinary shoddy tech work from the man who made THE TRAIN and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. But it contains one of the best kills ever committed to celluloid. So goddamn goofy, I’m going to include it here. It’s a definite spoiler so if you’d rather watch it within the larger context of the film, don’t watch this.

Did you watch it? Was that fucking fantastic?

The movie itself never lives up to the dizzying awfulness of that clip but there’s something here that compels you to watch. Like maybe somewhere this movie is going to gel into something so bad it’s awful but save for the final 10 minutes or so it’s pretty much a bore fest. Yet I can’t recommend it enough. Maybe you had to be on the couch with me.

Or maybe it’s just good old nostalgia.


Ant said...

hey there,

loving your site muchly. We seem to share very similar tastes. In fact every single post is something of a personal fave.

i think we may have mutual friends in Austin too.

Its amazing to think PROPHECY came from the guy who directed LUCAS?!


Serious Exploitation said...

The kind words are very much appreciated. I'm still new to Austin so I've yet to get out much and mingle other than the Alamo. But then what else do I need! Well, maybe a drive-in.

David Seltzer does have quite a weird career. I wonder what his script for STRANGERS ON A TRAIN is like.

Nick Cato said...

GREAT piece---I saw this when it was released---I was 11 at the time. Such a great, fun monster flick. Nice blog here, BTW.