Prophecy

Tagged: Film

Film (1979). Paramount. Directed by John Frankenheimer. Written by David Seltzer. Cast includes Armand Assante, Richard A Dysart, Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire. 102 minutes. Colour.

A mercuric fungicide used by a Maine pulp-mill under the directorship of Bethel Isely (Dysart) has mutagenic effects, bringing Minimata disease and miscarriages to the local Native Americans – who are led by John Hawks (Assante) – and creating gigantism among the area's wildlife (see Great and Small). The prime example is the local Monster responsible for many human deaths, identified by the Native Americans as the vengeful forest spirit Katahdin roused by logging activity, but in fact an unpleasantly diseased Mutant bear-creature. All this is discovered by the crusading Doctor Robert Verne (Foxworth) and his pregnant wife Maggie (Shire), on an assignment for the US Environmental Protection Agency.

A surprisingly poor film from Frankenheimer – muddy photography, risible monster, eco-Cliché script, wooden performances, stumbling action sequences – Prophecy is a rather crass example of the many revenge-of-Nature films (see Monster Movies) made from the mid-1970s onward to cash in on the increase in the community of legitimate concern for Ecology. The novelization is Prophecy (1979) by the film's screenwriter David Seltzer. [PN/DRL]

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