Monday, December 22, 2014

Walken On Sunshine

How is it possible that I’ve gone nearly twenty years without seeing a movie that features Viggo Mortenson as the devil?

I disappoint myself.

Quick Plot: Young Thomas (The Other Chris Meloni, aka Elias Koteas) is just a prayer away from becoming an ordained Catholic priest when he's struck with visions of angels battling violently. It's enough to turn him away from the church and right towards the police force, where some time later, he takes on the investigation involving a dead body of true mystery.

The body, you see, has both female and male genitalia, unformed bones akin to that of an aborted fetus, Hebrew tattoos correlating with ancient biblical text, and no eyeballs. The coroner (played by Seinfeld's Bania, sans the Ovaltine) has no explanation, but Thomas can't ignore the evidence that just might suggest there are angels afoot.

Following a lead left in the hermaphrodite angel's apartment (nothing like casual Friday in the '90s), Thomas heads to a small town in Arizona to see what a recently deceased war veteran has to do with the action. Just ahead of him is the angel Simon (Eric Stoltz), who has some soul cup-in-ball action to do with a young Native American girl named Mary.

I haven't even reached the point where Christopher Walken shows up as Gabriel, a war mongering angel with shoe polished jet black hair and a handy human assistant who'd rather be dead (literally: Gabriel grabbed his soul in limbo following a paused suicide). Virginia Madsen joins the action as a friendly if underdressed elementary school teacher and just for good measure, Viggo Mortenson is a smooth-talking Satan with a hunger for rose petals.

I'm not going to lie: saying all of these things about a single movie kind of makes me want to explode.

In a good way.

I've made no secret that after my husband, Viggo Mortenson is tied with Clive Owen and Michael Shannon as 4th Sexiest Man Alive. You would think, perhaps, that Mr. Mortenson threatening to "lay you out and fill your mouth with your mother's feces" would bump him down a spot. You, good reader, know nothing.

Written and directed by Highlander's Gary Widen, The Prophecy is further proof that the 1990s was a strange, strange decade for horror. Like many a Miramax release, this one sat on the shelf for two years before it landed in theaters in 1995, surpassing any expectation by being a sleeper hit. Between Walken's nutty performance and the film's fairly grand premise, I can understand why.

Who DOESN’T want a film where Christopher Walken plays an angry angel who stops to cheekily tell schoolchildren to study math? The same film that has Not Christopher Meloni opening a lockbox to find a whole bunch of tanned human faces piled up like a businessman’s tie collection? Heck, by the time you toss in Amanda Plummer as--HOLD THE PHONE--an unbalanced psychotic, how can you want anything more?

High Points
I don’t know that it all fully comes together (I guess that’s what the bevy of sequels exists for), but it sure is fun to have such a grand, somewhat ridiculous story that makes God rather morally ambiguous happening about a good old fashioned horror movie

Low Points
Even if he IS played by Viggo Mortenson, there is something ultimately a little pushover-ish about Satan, eh?

Lessons Learned
Contrary to popular thought, getting a suicidal limbo-stuck slave to do your bidding is not easy

Like a movie theater and 7/11, Hell is indeed open on Christmas

Arizona teachers shop from the same clothing catalogs as farmers' wives

Freezers are for bodies, not beer

I don’t know what took me so long to finally catch The Prophecy, but I’m pretty darn satisfied that I finally did. The performances are zany fun, the plot is over the top, and the roses are eaten by Viggo Mortenson playing the devil. The film is streaming on Instant along with a few of its sequels, so I think it’s fair to make a prophecy that I will indeed be seeing more Prophecies in my future.

See what I did there?


  1. I didn't know it sat on a shelf for a while before release... but that explains some of my confusion about it.
    I read about the movie (based on a book?) early on, thought it sounded cool... and then forgot about it... until I saw Prophecy years later and, thinking it was new, got to wondering what happened to that OTHER movie I'd read about years earlier.
    Minor mystery solved!

  2. Yup, it was one of those orphans during what I think was a Weinstein/Miramax mini-chaos. Similar to what befell Cabin In the Woods and Mandy Lane.Also, there are apparently at least 5 of them in total, the first three of which star Walken!

  3. Ugh! This one I found kind of a confused mess which is such a shame after that awesome opening fight in which Stoltz is not only kicked out of a window but then crushed with a car! I mean it also has the always wonderful Walken which makes me wish I could like it more. However after the headache this one gave me trying to figure out the plot I can't say I was dashing out to see the sequels.

  4. I won't argue that it's well-plotted. I wasn't always quite sure what was going on, but I just found the randomness of the cast and Walken's commitment powered me through it where I forgave a lot.

  5. And there's a 4 in 1 DVD of the movie and it's 3 sequels; now I guess I'll have to buy it.

    1. I mean, you're LEGALLY OBLIGATED to do so. Otherwise Walken will have to do more live NBC musicals! (which wouldn't be terrible...)