Prophecy has been one of those films that sat on my virtual shelf for years, waiting to be bought and put into the player for a spin. Finally, now that Scream Factory is releasing the movie on Blu-ray, I had the chance to sit down with the film. My expectations might have been too high for what I saw, but the result was still an enjoyable experience.
First off, let me set the record straight. Prophecy does feature a giant mutated bear, but that bit of plot is saved until about three-quarters of the way through the film. Instead, we focus on character Rob (Robert Foxworth) and his pregnant wife Maggie (Talia Shire), moving to the wilderness of Maine to do an environmental report on whether the paper mill is contaminating the forest, and whether or not the local natives should keep claim over the land. Because this movie is a warning about environmental issues and concerns, we know the paper mill are the bad guys, and we find that out when we learn that the water contains a very high level of mercury from the mill. This is causing all sorts of mutations with animals, plants, and humans in the area. One such mutation is the giant bear that roams the woods, feasting on humans.
Prophecy can run a bit on the slow side, especially during the middle portion of the film where we are slowly figuring out what is happening to the area. There isn’t much mayhem and death to contend with during these scenes, and if you’re an impatient viewer, you are going to be squirming in your seat for some action. Thankfully, the action and horror eventually come and we get treated to some truly memorable scenes. One death in the film involving a sleeping bag may steal the title of “Best Sleeping Bag Death” away from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. My jaw dropped when I saw the scene. Some other stuff going for Prophecy is the skillful direction from John Frankenheimer and the acting from everyone involved. Even when things get to a farfetched point, everyone is still playing it seriously, and it helps sell what we are witnessing.
Scream Factory doesn’t list Prophecy as a Collector’s Edition, but it might as well be one as they have loaded the disc up with all sorts of new special features. We have six new interviews. Two are with main cast members Talia Shire and Robert Foxworth. We have an interesting interview with writer David Seltzer, who is more than happy to discuss his issues with the film (the only feature on the disc to give the views expressed disclaimer). The next three interviews focus on special effects, with one interview highlight being with Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives director Tom McLoughlin who played (alongside Kevin Peter Hall) the mutated bear. Rounding out the features is a Trailer, Radio Spots, and Still Gallery. All in all, we are looking at roughly 114-minutes of features.
There isn’t much information out there from Scream as to what transfer they are using, but I assume it may be the HD source that Paramount Pictures is providing to streaming services like Amazon. The quality of the source is quite nice, with no issues of dirt and debris popping up. Colours tend to pop, especially when we see the ugly mug of the bear. Audio is 2.0 DTS-HD MA, and I had no issues with dialogue and action scenes drowning each other out. That weird mutated bear sound deep in the woods comes through nice and clean.
NEWAll Of Our Sins – An Interview With Talia Shire (HD; 18:59)
NEW Bearing Up – An Interview With Actor Robert Foxworth (HD; 10:02)
NEW Bear And Grin It – An Interview With Writer David Seltzer (HD; 13:14)
NEW Hard To Bear – An Interview With Special Make-up Effects Designer Tom Burman (HD; 19:34)
NEW Prophecy Prodigy – An Interview With Special Make-up Effects Artist Allan Apone (HD; 21:14)
NEW Beneath The Bear – An Interview With Mime Artist Tom McLoughlin (HD; 21:51)
Theatrical Trailer (HD; 1:06)
Radio Spots (2:28)
Still Gallery (7:11)
Prophecy might not be all mutated bear on the loose all the time, but it does give us a story that has even more of an impact nowadays than it probably did back then. We are ruining the planet, and maybe all it takes to fix things is a big giant mutated bear on a rampage. Scream Factory releases Prophecy on a Blu-ray that would be worthy of the collector's edition title. Pick it up!