Prophecy: The Monster Movie
Prophecy is one of the more hysterical and stupid of the ‘Revolt of Nature’ horror films that achieved major prominence in the years following Jaws (1975). On paper at least the talents behind this $12,000,000 Paramount Pictures production are easily a match for Spielberg’s aquatic opus. In the directors seat was veteran John Frankenheimer, a filmmaker of some repute who had distilled the paranoia of cold war politics to such devastating and conspiratorial effect in The Manchurian Candidate (1962), and who had interrogated questions of identity in the little seen Seconds (1966). The writer was David Seltzer who had achieved enormous prominence with his apocalyptic exploration of the return of Satan in The Omen (1976). For the themes of Prophecy however the more important Seltzer film is The Hellstrom Chronicle, a frantic and panic-stricken documentary about the possibility of humanities dominion over the planet being challenged by insects. Having explored this territory before with some measure of success one would assume that with Prophecy Seltzer was about to make a major ecological statement. It does make a statement, but the manner in which this proclamation is made is both preachy and pretentious. This is the worst type of Hollywood film, one that assumes its audience has the attention span of a goldfish and the intelligence of plankton. With films that have a ‘message’ to convey, the most important thing becomes the way in which that ‘message’ is delivered, and it is in its delivery that Prophecy fails miserably.
© Shaun Anderson 2010