Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Prophecy (1979)

Billed as "The Monster Movie," Prophecy strives to be just that.  Alas, the effects don't quite live up to the hype, but this bold creature feature still manages to entertain.  This is largely due to the presence of several quality performers  and a terrific director.  Prophecy also boasts a nifty plot, so while the creature design is a bit of a disappointment, the movie itself is easy to recommend.  Besides, it's not the worst creature design ever, and there's enough fright and suspense in the mix to keep horror fans rooted to their chairs until the gruesome finale.  Now, director John Frankenheimer wasn't exactly at his peak here, but he still managed to generate a lot of intensity and dread with Prophecy.  There are also a few pertinent themes interwoven with the screaming and the bloodshed, to include ruminations on humanity's crimes against the environment and futility born of bureaucracy, but Frankenheimer doesn't let these elements get in the way of a good time.  The cast, including Talia Shire, Robert Foxworth, and Armand Assante, among others, make the most of the material.  Surprisingly enough, the three capable leads I just mentioned offer up some of their best work in a movie that requires them to square off against a dude in a rubber suit in the closing reel.  The score is perfect for a horror flick like this one and there's a lot of gore sprinkled throughout the proceedings.  True story: I have a crazy uncle (doesn't everyone?) who has dubbed Prophecy his favorite movie.  Now, I can't go nearly that far, but I do enjoy it and I'm certain that anyone else who responds to phrases like "creature feature" or "monster movie" the way that I do will have fun with this one as well.  Truthfully, if Katahdin (the beast of legend/freakish mutation that hunts our merry band of heroes) was a bit more convincing, this movie might have achieved epic status.

Final Grade: C+
Despite being a beast born of folklore, Katahdin is having a less than stellar day.

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