Since his first onscreen role in 1953, Christopher Walken has showcased his exceptional talent in countless films and television shows, solidifying his status as a cinematic legend. Among his vast repertoire, his role in the 1995 thriller The Prophecy stands out as one of his most iconic performances. As the spooky season approaches, now is the perfect opportunity for both longtime fans and newcomers to experience or revisit this chilling tale currently streaming on Paramount+.
Christopher Walken’s overlooked horror franchise started with The Prophecy in 1995 but is now available on Paramount+.
The Prophecy delves into the fascinating realm of angels and their hidden wars. The narrative reveals a celestial conflict wherein a faction of angels, resentful of humans, sparks a second war in heaven. Christopher Walken brilliantly portrays Gabriel, a rebellious archangel leading the dissident faction, who descends to Earth in search of a dark soul that can decisively end the conflict in his favor.
As the story unfolds, Thomas Dagget, a former seminarian now turned police detective, stumbles upon a mysterious biblical prophecy concerning the war. Dagget becomes a pivotal figure in the battle through a series of events, allying with a school teacher and a young Native American girl. Together, they strive to thwart Gabriel’s mission, ensuring the safety of humanity from the impending celestial chaos.
Christopher Walker leads the cast, and his characteristic style blends eerie calmness with unpredictable intensity, perfectly matching an angel gone rogue. Surrounding Walken is a stellar ensemble of supporting actors, including Elias Koteas as the ex-seminarian turned cop, Thomas Dagget, Virginia Madsen as Katherine, Viggo Mortensen as Lucifer, and Eric Stoltz as Simon, another angel with a more protective demeanor towards humans. Each actor brings depth and authenticity to their respective roles, making the movie’s world both fascinating and eerily believable.
Behind the camera, The Prophecy was under the astute direction of Gregory Widen, who was also responsible for penning its intriguing screenplay. Widen, known for his work on Highlander, showed adeptness at blending fantasy and reality, creating an atmosphere that was both mystical and grounded. The film’s memorable score by David C. Williams also enhanced its moody and suspenseful ambiance.
Interestingly, before starring in The Prophecy, Christopher Walen exhibited a similar persona in Madonna’s “Bad Girl” music video from her Erotica album
Filming for The Prophecy spanned from late September to early November 1993. Widen aimed to portray angels not as mere benevolent beings serving humanity but as complex characters with motivations akin to those in the Old Testament. Widen envisioned Christopher Walken for the role of Gabriel, and fittingly, Walken was the first actor to commit to the project.
Interestingly, before starring in The Prophecy, Christopher Walen exhibited a similar persona in Madonna’s “Bad Girl” music video from her Erotica album. Portraying the Angel of Death, Walken shadowed Madonna’s character as she succumbed to her lifestyle. In the video, his silent demeanor, slicked-back hair, pale complexion, and dark attire eerily mirrored his later portrayal of the Archangel Gabriel.
Critically, The Prophecy received a mixed response upon its release. While some critics lauded the performances, especially that of Christopher Walen, and appreciated its unique take on angelic mythology, others found the narrative occasionally muddled.
However, as is often the case with cult classics, audience reception is where The Prophecy truly shone. Fans embraced the movie’s dark, theological undertones and its unique spin on familiar Judeo-Christian narratives.
The Prophecy holds a score of 46 percent from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, while audiences rated it higher at 64 percent. Much like the critics’ opinions, everyday viewers widely celebrated Christopher Walken’s portrayal of Gabriel. This role remains one of his most memorable to date.
Despite its compelling storyline and Christopher Walken’s stellar performance, The Prophecy had a modest showing at the box office. It grossed around $16 million worldwide against a budget of approximately $8 million. While not staggering, it was enough to spawn four direct-to-video sequels.
The Direct-To-Video Sequels
Christopher Walken reprised his role as Gabriel in The Prophecy II and The Prophecy 3: The Ascent, bringing the same chilling charisma to the characters. While these sequels didn’t necessarily achieve the same level of acclaim as the original, they continued to expand on the rich lore set by the first film. Both The Prophecy: Uprising and The Prophecy: Forsaken were released in 2005, but without Christopher Walken’s involvement.
The original The Prophecy stands out as the series’ pinnacle, delving hauntingly into worlds beyond ours. With its meld of theological intrigue and thrilling narrative bolstered by remarkable performances like Christopher Walken’s, it’s a must-watch or a delightful rediscovery. For fans of heavenly battles and mysterious angels, The Prophecy is available on Paramount+.