Prophecy (1979)

prophecy poster 1979 movie horror
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 2/10

Sleeping bag death is unintentionally hillarious, some real issues

Story breaks down when it becomes a chase, horrible effects

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Prophecy

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  June 15, 1979

MPAA Rating:  PG

prophecy baby bear monster

Don’t you hate when you spend a whole bunch of time trying to save a mutant baby bear and it isn’t very appreciative?

EPA agent Dr. Robert Verne (Robert Foxworth) has been given an assignment to investigate claims of pollution in a land argument between Native Americans and a logging company in Maine.  Travelling to Maine with his wife Maggie (Talia Shire), Robert and Maggie learn that the situation is much direr than originally explained with the manager of the company Bethel Isley (Richard A. Dysart) almost at war with the “Opies” or Original People led by John Hawks (Armand Assante) and his wife Ramona (Victoria Racimo).  The Opies have a legend of Katahdin who will cleanse the land…and something lurking in the woods could be even more horrifying than the Opies, the Vernes, or Isley ever expected.

Directed by John Frankenheimer, Prophecy is a man-vs-nature environmental horror movie.  The film was released to poor reviews but gained a cult following over the years.

Prophecy was rated PG, and as a result, I saw it pretty early on.  Despite the PG rating, the film is pretty much a standard horror movie which would probably be considered R-Rated by today’s standards simply due to the bloodshed in the film (though I’m sure that they would try to get a PG-13).  The movie is not a good movie, but it is a fun watch.

prophecy manbearpig katahdin monster bear

ManBearPig is getting really pissed off!

The problem with Prophecy is probably a bit of a combination of story and visuals.  On the story front, the movie tries to cover a lot.  It looks at the battle between indigenous people and those taking their land and the rights surrounding it (which seems more and more relevant considering contemporary battles like that of the Keystone Pipeline).  There is also a strong theme of motherhood (through the bear and Talia Shire’s character).  It combines this rather serious environmental story and moral story with a rather ridiculous monster movie that completely takes over the plotline.  The monster movie is kind of fun, but it does a disservice to the environmental story.

The second problem with Prophecy is the monster.  While the film locations looks great (it was shot in Vancouver and is largely considered one of the first films of the “Hollywood North” boom which continues today), the monster doesn’t necessarily invoke the terror it is meant to.  It kind of looks like a giant hairless rat and even the producers of South Park mocked (or paid homage to the movie…depending how you look at it) through ManBearPig which is modeled after Prophecy’s Katahdin mutant bear.

prophecy ending manbearpig monster

There is…another!

The movie does have a rather strong cast.  Both Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire are better than you’d expect in this movie and I also like Armand Assante and Victoria Racimo as the Native Americans that they are trying to help.  Richard Dysart plays the corporate lackey but turns out to be ok…he just wanted plausible deniability (which he of course pays for).

I will always be on the side of Prophecy and almost any man-vs-nature horror films.  I think environmental horror adds a wildcard to horror movies that can’t be predicted as well as a normal killer (even if he or she is psychotic).  Even if you don’t want to see Prophecy it is worth going to YouTube and checking out the classic sleeping bag scene…which I know my friend and I rewound and watched over and over again during the glory days of VHS.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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