The opportunity missed by "Prophecy" was to commission a song for our times called "If Pollution Don't Get You, Then Mutation Will."

You would expect nothing but the most modern of monsters in a monster movie that has for its hero one of our very own Washington Public Health Service doctors, detailed to the Environmental Protection Agency to write an environmental impact statement. The prophecy is that if we don't clean up our environment this minute, the next generation of human beings, arrested at various slimy stages of fetal development, is going to be big, bad yucky things out to kill us all.

It's a hype that tends to make real concerns seem trivial and comical, though it does freshen up the horror formula. There are several laughs, particularly local laughs, such as references to "Georgetown, where the rats are rich" and the O.P. (who turn out to be Indians - the Original People), but laughs are not helpful to a scary movie. And silly scares are not helpful to a cause movie.

Take the foolish misuse here of the question of abortion. The heroine, played by the ubiqutous, sour-faced Thalia Shire, is pregnant, presumably with a freak. Her husband, Robert Foxworth's doctor-hero role, is a card-carrying liberal. And yet, as in the soap operas, abortion would be too simple a plot solution, and so, going not only against her character but against any moral consistancy - if she opposes abortion as murder, why does she not oppose the killing of the adult monster? - she dismisses the possibility.

Or maybe she's just looking ahead, and wants to have a child who will be able to adapt to the ruined enviroment.

PROPHECY - AMC Academy, Dale Cinema, K-B Baronet West, K-B Janus, Landover, Roth's Americana, Roth's Quince Orchard, White Flint.