Blu-ray Review: PROPHECY

PROPHECY was directed by John Frankenheimer from a screenplay by David Seltzer and stars Robert Foxworth, Talia Shire, Armand Assante, Victoria Racimo and Richard A. Dysart.

In Prophecy, Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire star as a doctor and his wife who travel to Maine to research the impact of the lumber industry on the local environment. They begin to investigate a succession of mysterious and terrifying events: ecological freaks of nature and a series of bizarre and grisly human deaths. Something unimaginably horrible waits in the woods … something unwittingly created by man, that will become an uncontrollable, merciless machine of destruction. 

The story for this 1979 sci-fi horror cult classic centers around Dr. Robert Verne (Robert Foxworth) and his wife Maggie (Talia Shire) who are hired by the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate a fued between a paper mill and the local Native American tribe that calls the rural area that’s located in upstate Maine their home. Upon arrival, they immediately notice that this is a heated dispute between the two parties but there’s a lot more to the story. It doesn’t take long for the husband and wife team to find out that there’s something much more sinister going on and it’s extremely deadly because people are dying some gruesome deaths. They learn about the legend of Katahdin, the mutated bear that protects the land and they’re about to encounter it.

What happens is, Robert discovers some mutated bear cubs in the contaminated lake (one is dead but the other one has survived) and he takes it to use as evidence that the paper mill is polluting the area and harming all living things around it. This is when the terrifying creature behind the carnage finally reveals itself and begins to chase the small group as it slaughters them one by one. It’s a showdown in the end where Robert has to come up with the courage to counter attack the mutated mother bear after it’s injured and he’s able to find a way to drown it. Robert and Maggie are able to walk away from this nightmarish ordeal even though this experience leaves them changed forever. In the end, even though they find a way to kill Katahdin, it’s teased that there’s another killer predator lurking in the woods.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. The Blu-ray disc features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release and were really good. There’s some grain in some of the darker scenes but that’s to be expected. I didn’t really have any major issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I had a blast revisiting Prophecy and it had been a really long time since I’d seen this 1979 creature feature. This is a great monster movie with an interesting story that deals with polution and the harmful consequences and side effects that come with it. I guess we can say it was ahead of its time in a way. The cast did a great job with their characters but lets face it, the real star here is the big bad mutated mother bear that’s actually two men who share time in this suit. It’s cheesy but it works! This is a creepy cool looking monster and you can tell that it was once a bear that mutated into this terrifying creature that’s out for blood. There’s also some impressive puppeteering that brings some of the smaller creatures to life. It’s all old school practical effects and it’s very well done. Surprisingly, it’s also just a PG rated movie. John Frankenheimer directed a number of classics during his career but he decided to do something a little different and helm this creature feature that would ultimately earn cult status over the years. Maybe it wasn’t a big box office hit when it first released back in the late 70’s but Prophecy has aged very well and it deserves a nice release like this that old school horror fans and new ones can enjoy. Prophecy is celebrating its 40th anniversary and will finally be available on Blu-ray on November 26th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 102 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include six new interviews with some of the cast and crew, theatrical trailer, five radio spots and a still gallery.

  • NEW All of Our Sins – an interview with Talia Shire (18:59)
  • NEW Bearing Up – an interview with actor Robert Foxworth (10:02)
  • NEW Bear and Grin It – an interview with writer David Seltzer (13:14)
  • NEW Hard to Bear – an interview with special make-up effects designer Tom Burman (19:34)
  • NEW Prophecy Prodigy – an interview with special make-up effects artist Allan Apone (21:14)
  • NEW Beneath the Bear– an interview with mime artist Tom McLoughlin (21:51)
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:06)
  • Radio Spots (02:28)
  • Still Gallery (07:11)

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