Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
John Frankenheimer updates the mutant-monster films of the 1950s with a modern environmental twist in this well-meaning but cliché-ridden late-'70s horror film. Robert Foxworth is so earnest it hurts as a rabble-rousing gh... more »
Maybe this bear was supposed to be Plan 10 from Outer Space?
Holly Apollyon | The Overlook Hotel | 07/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been watching this horror film epic a lot more lately, and I have accordingly removed it from the 'bad crap' list onto the 'good crap' list, because it has begun to grow on me. Prophecy has the virtue of presenting the fakest monster I have ever seen: Horribly transformed by a mutagenic agent derived from mercury-exposure, a bear has become a thundering and bloodthirsty 25 foot-tall monster!
At the beginning of the movie, a sanctimonious EPA investigator is recruited and dispatched to a local forest region to help calm a skirmish between the Indian populace and a draconian lumber mill outfit. Almost immediately, the EPA guy, Dr. Robert Verne, and Verne's wife Maggie (worried because she's pregnant and is afraid to tell her husband) are exposed to the reckless tactics of the Indians firsthand; one such tactic involves stringing a chain across the only road to the lumber mill. A much more effective tactic, in the long term, is the gigantic mercury-spawned bear, a violent and horrifying entity whom the locals have named Kataden. Kataden has recently set about the task of stalking the lumber mill workers and tearing them apart; early on an entire scout party is ambushed and massacred in the blackness of night. It should be noted, meanwhile, that Kataden, despite being a cardboard-stiff gigantic latex rubber bear puppet, despite the fact that she seemingly always walks erect, is 80% faster than even the most desperate human victim and can evidently cover eighty miles in less than twenty minutes.
Dr. Verne and Maggie, along with representatives of both the the lumber mill and the Indian Tribe, are stranded miles deep in the woods and left completely vulnerable to Kataden's predatory wiles. Eventually the small desperate remnant of the group reaches a lakeshore with the intention of reaching the cabin on the lake's far side. The idea, I guess, is that Kataden can't swim?
The group begins cutting across the black, mist-topped lake. Kataden hovers momentarily at the lakeshore and then matter-of-factly wades in; in the process of advancing towards the lake's center the giant bear submerges for maybe 32 seconds. Dr. Verne, automatically assuming that Kataden must have drowned, begins howling and cheering---"Whooooh, yeah, baby, whoooh, yeah. Choke on that, baby!!!"---although even the other cast members are staring at him like he's an idiot. Five seconds later Kataden simply reemerges with her original course completely intact. Verne and the others run inside the cabin and begin fortifying it against the now-furious Kataden. With the single swipe of a mighty paw, Kataden removes the cabin's entire roof. Now it's killing time, and it's screaming time for the few humans left in Kataden's bestial thrall. However, the spirited and blood-crazed Verne manages to kill Kataden by stabbing her with an arrowhead about two or three times. Man, that was a close one!
It is my theory that Kataden was actually listed as "Plan 10" in the conquest notebook of the same Ed Wood-spawned aliens portrayed in the science fiction epic Plan 9 From Outer Space. Plan 10, however, seems to have been as much of a failure as Plan 9. Either way, don't worry, because just before the movie's closing credits---when Verne and his wife (Maggie now ostensibly carrying a mutagenically-tainted child in her womb) are being evacuated via emergency helicopter---another slavering snapperhead monster, at ground level, lurches into frame. I'm holding out for the sequel, oh yeah, baby, oh yeah.
What?s that Huffing Sound in the Woods?
J. Hardy IV | Snohomish, WA United States | 02/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw Prophecy as a 10 year old in 1979 and it scared the ** out of me and caused nightmares for a few months. Looking back after seeing it again today, the shambling mutant bear doesn't pack quite the same punch effects wise; but this is still a decent horror flick. The Mambo King plays an Indian and Adrian is the weak pregnant wife along for the ride as a inner-city class conscious doctor attempts to study the environment in Maine and gets wrapped up in a tribal dispute with the local paper mill who has been logging near the village and yes, dumping mercury into the water supply for the last 20 years. This of course has an adverse affect on the flora and fauna, not the least of which is the 12 foot bear that is now chomping down on would be hikers. The exploding sleeping bag w/ feathers floating down is still an image that stays with you, as is the bear slowly sinking across the foggy water trudging towards its victims. The woodland setting is beautiful and Dysart makes a nice company man villain. A nice afternoon time killer."
Attack of the killer 70s!
Staci L. Wilson | USA | 02/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's Gentle Ben as imagined by Clive Barker in this cautionary tale about what can happen when pollutants get into the forest animals' water supply. One big bear, in particular, is very angry about the whole thing and tries to eat Armand Assante, Talia Shire, and Robert Foxworth in one bite. A notable scene includes a vicious attack by some cute little raccoons.
Cheesy fun that drags a little too much, but is saved by a bang-up finale.
Staci Layne Wilson
Eco-Mayhem As 'Issues Awareness' Moviemaking Meets 'Great Ho
Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 10/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1979's "Prophecy" (not to be confused with the "The Prophecy" series that started in the mid-90s) is an 'envirornmental destruction'-based horror movie that does a fine job of being both an 'issues film' and a great horror stories. It's set against the backdrop of deep forest territory where a logging company and the land's traditional Native American inhabitants are at odds over who really owns the land, and where tensions are fast mounting towards violence. A husband-and-wife team sent in to do an envirornmental assesment - more as an effort on the part of the authorities to stall and give things a chance to cool down than because they want any more studies - serve as the main point-of-view characters. Severely heightening the stress are a couple of unsolved disappearances in the woods over the last couple of months, which the company is openly accusing the natives of being responsible for.
It's readily apparent that something more than a couple of renegade protesters is behind the disappearances, but "Prophecy" doesn't rush right into it, letting its story and characters play out in other directions for a while before bringing in the more frightful elements when the time is right. Some would probably say the portrayal of the tribe is stereotypical; I really don't think it was. If it moves a tad in the direction of generalizations once or twice, it can be overlooked because its intentions are clearly in the right place. It's a sincere depiction of a group being squeezed more and more out of the picture due to economic considerations, and it paints a sympathetic and well played-out picture of the group without going so far as to have every member of the band both a saint and a super-shaman (although there is a lot of traditional folklore and some touches of mystism that I thought worked very well). As a whole, the movie is slanted more towards the native band than big industry - its 'issues' angle is one with a definate point of view and makes no apologies about it, and I think it did a great job.
The monstrous angles come in with great force and a sense of sympathy toward the movie's 'antagonists'. The creature effects are impressive and generally realistic; there are a couple of brief instances where you can 'see the wires', so to speak, but they're over quickly enough that it wasn't a big detraction for me. One thing worth remembering is that this was filmed in the 70s when special effects technology wasn't nearly as developed as it is today, and what was there was very expensive and thus often inaccessible to horror movies of the day because, while they were making a lot of money, studios were often reluctant to put much of it back in (a problem that's re-occured a few times over horror movies's history); as a result a couple of glitches occasionally snuck through. Overall, "Prophecy" was very well made - the visuals were great 95% of the time, good acting, very effective cinematography, solid drama, explosive action, genuinely frightening. Highly recommended."