The film “Prophecy”

by Cynthia Zeiden on February 20, 2009

in film, Green21, pollution, waste

My Green21 partner, Jennifer Thompson, wrote a great blog entry about the film Slumdog Millionaire. If we go back exactly 30 years ago, the film Prophecy forewarned of how humankind’s abuse of our natural resources have horrible effects on the environment. My Dad took me to see this bit of bio-horror when it came out in the theatres in 1979, I was 11 years old at the time. Directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Talia Shire and Robert Foxworth, Prophecy is about how a lumber company’s pulp mill plant used a chemical process in which methyl mercury was dumped in a lake to process the cut lumber. The eating of the fish in this lake caused mutations in the birth of all the local wildlife and even the Native Americans who live in this Maine wilderness. The upshot of this is that a mutant bear kills a lot of people when trappers kill one of its mutated cubs in a net and the surviving cub is rescued by our protagonists (that is until it bites Talia Shires’ neck in a chase scene across a lake).

Seeing this film brought an awareness of environmental issues to me for the first time. Even though the film is a B-movie rip off of Jaws, it has some unique messages about how nature can go very wrong when it is disturbed by our destructive activities. This film had a lasting impact on my impressionable years and it unfortunately really serves as a “prophecy” of sorts to us 30 years later, our abuses have consequences that will ultimately hurt us.

Green21’s first episode, Welcome to the 21st Century, includes an interview with Dr. Susanne Moser, co-author of Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change, where she discusses how difficult it is to communicate to the public about climate change issues because people feel fear and guilt about being part of the cause, they are not able to focus on empowering themselves and the planet with solutions. They become paralyzed with fear. That kind of reminds me of the victims in the film Prophecy.

One thing that is really fascinating about Propehcy is that it is based on a real incident in Minamata, Japan, it was called the Minamata Disease and it was caused by methyl mercury dumping.

Please write a post if you remember Prophecy or know of other bio-horror films.

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