Deep in the Amazonian jungle a sinister curse is loose. Soon this curse makes it’s way to the Museum of Natural History in Chicago where it becomes something far more treacherous. As more and more mysterious and gruesome murders take place, the museum is forced to consider a shut down. But not before the next gala for the museums new exhibition. Will the night be a crowning achievement for the museum or instead be a human buffet for something lurking in the shadows.
The Relic is a 1997 horror film directed by Peter Hyams and is based on a novel titled Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Our lead is Dr. Margo Green, played by Penelope Ann Miller. Miller is known for her movies like 1990 Kindergarten Cop and 1994’s The Shadow. The film also includes Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt and the late James Whitmore; most known for his amazing role as Brooks from 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption. The monster effects were designed by legendary Sam Winston and then used CGI for the more mobile shots. The film received minimal approval by critics and grossed forty eight million at the box office, much less than it’s sixty million budget. This may have been a result for it’s R rating and severe moments of gore.
All You Have To Know
We follow Dr. Margo Green, an evolutionary biologist working at the museum in Chicago. She’s trying to get a grant so she can further fund her studies. Hopefully getting her funding at this gala the museum is throwing. The exhibition is all about superstition and is responsible for the monster being in this museum. The monster kills a security guard which causes a conflict with the Lt. Vincent D’Agosta (Tom Sizemore) and the plans for this party. The night of the party takes place and D’Agosta discovers the secret of the monster too late. The Kothoga attacks and the museum goes into lock down with many guests trapped inside. The beast devours this one portion of the human brain that contains hormones in order to live. So the deaths are intense head decapitations.
On This Day
Since we had 1989’s Leviathan on day six, I figured why not do another forgotten monster film of the same caliber. The Relic is exactly like that, a monster on the loose kind of movie that goes on a feeding frenzy. It might be a film that resembles 1978’s Alien. Described by some as ‘Alien meets Jurassic Park.’ This is impartially due to the Kothoga monster being a large scale beast that has mandible style jaws and is roaming around a dark enclosed maze-like museum.
Hyams himself pays homage to Alien in the movie by using dripping water and rattling hanging chains. There’s even a cliche cat scare much like Mr. Jonesy. But it’s diverse enough to set it on it’s own. You know what! This is bull crap! The movie is it’s own film. So is Leviathan! I’m sick of this comparison and I’m not doing it anymore!
Just One Thing
Although the one thing I do have to point out and that is in this scene. This one individual scene that I discovered and it’s really the only thing that bothers me about this film. Watch below.
If you noticed, at about 1:37 in this clip when the Kothoga kills Dr. Lee; his scream is a stock horror clip. This clip is the same scream used in the 90’s Nickelodeon animated cartoon Aaahh! Real Monsters theme song! Watch it below and try to tell me they’re not the same!
Gosh you have to love that scream. From what I know it’s actually called the “Howie” scream and it’s a popular sound clip in the Hollywood sound library. Much like the Wilhelm scream, the Howie is used all the time and is easily identified by it’s gut wrenching falling to the pits of hell raspy bellow. But yea, the Howie scream was used and there’s no doubt about it. I mean, how hard is it to get a descent original scream? Was the guy that was playing Dr. Lee not able to bellow out something good enough? So they left it up for sound production to fill it in. For a budget of 60 million, even back in the 90’s; they could have produced something original. This is why the movie performed poorly! I know it has to be this scream! Get yourself in order!
Thoughts To Think
Although The Relic performed poorly in theaters and has a low Rotten Tomatoes score. Yea, because Rotten Tomatoes is the determining factor in all movie rating systems! Personally I don’t like rating movies. Either you like something or you don’t. That’s what I try to do here. There is no A, B, C or D scale. Just “watch this movie because!” Why would I listen to a bunch of people that make a profession on rating movies be a factor into what I like or don’t like? Most of those jack offs don’t even like horror films. They’re probably people that think toxic masculinity is real, count their black friends! Screw that site and screw anyone that uses it to make up their mind!
You know what it is, Rotten Tomatoes is like the Kothoga monster! It feeds on the human brain because it wants to dictate what movies you should like. You have no way of forming your own ideas because Rotten Tomatoes has sucked out that part of the brain that can process stuff like that. This way, they control the market and then those stupid ass clown, fart smelling, kid touching market research people in Hollywood see the “tomatometer” (gosh what a stupid concept for a name!) and then make decisions based upon their collected data. GOOD JOB ROTTEN TOMATOES! You’re the reason 2017’s The Mummy hired that Scientology guy that can’t stop running from his gayness!
Anyways, The Relic is a great film. It has enough blood for you gore hounds out there and a concept to a monster that I think works. It’s not too corny although there are moments that I recall that might constitute as much. For instance when Margo Green gets serious at one point, she does so by taking off her heals and looking pissed off. Eh, it’s dumb but I get it. D’Agosta might be a little annoying in the film. Personally I don’t care for the tough foul mouthed Chicago cop gimmick. But all-in-all, it’s a great little monster movie that gets you through in a well paced manner. I never feel bored or non-involved because there are climactic scenes that don’t reveal too much but offer a good sense of terror and mystery. We don’t get a monster reveal until deep into the film which is a rule you should never break.
The tone of the film is dark. Dark as in, hey the lights went out and I need a flashlight to see who’s touching me kind of dark. Even though it creates a mysterious and somber style atmosphere; it can be a little tough watching this movie on a small screen or well lit room. Just forget it if the sun is shining all it’s glory through your living room windows. The first time I re-watched this movie, it was around one in the afternoon. I had to turn the movie off and wait for night so I could actually see what I was watching. Regardless, the darkness is a good touch. I imagine in a theater it would have been much scarier. But it sets a nice murky tone for the film. The flashlights create natural solar flares and give you enough information to get a clear understanding of where they are and where the monster is.
The Kothoga monster is an exceptional monster and is one of my favorites of Sam Winstons. It reminds me of something a group of kids come up with because it has these huge mandible jaws with long sharp teeth protruding from it’s mouth. He has a bulky shape with a long tale. Honestly, he does resemble Predator mixed with the monster from 2006’s The Host. But he wheezes very heavily like he has asthma so it’s a good trigger for when you’re watching the movie. Oh man, here comes Wheezy from To Story 2, everyone look out! In the book (yes I read the book) the creature is smaller and resembles a gecko. It kills more stealthily and moves not as a bull like in the movie. I think the monster was made larger because Jurassic Park set the stage with the T-Rex. Large monsters were ideal and it was probably a good call.
The Relic will certainly get the juices flowing for any new viewers. It’s well made movie and I wish it could have gotten more recognition. It’s a good romp with everything expected from a monster film. The deaths are gruesome and the effects aren’t really that bad for 1997. The movie still stands up for today’s standards. It’s much better than those made for television films featuring a Tara Reid taking on CGI sharks.
I wish there could have been a little more of a message in this film. For instance, the book underlines the responsibility that museums break by taking ancient artifacts and laying claim to them. All for the profits of the museum. I’m not against museums but it’s an interesting statement that could have been made. At the very least the monster could have been someones fault for a nice “This is your fault you bastard!” kind of moment. The only “he had it coming” death was Dr. Lee and even then, he wasn’t really a bad guy. Just a douche that gets it. I always like seeing a jerk getting whats coming in these movies.
I remember being in middle school when this movie was released and I wanted to see it so badly! The trailer was always played on basic cable so every time it came on, I would get real pumped. But it was rated R and that wasn’t something my parents approved going to see. I probably could have talked my dad into going with me, there’s no sexual content in the film so he would have let it pass.
I love the monster running a muck kind of films and The Relic is a good example of that genre. You’re just routing for the monster to eat as many people as it can before it’s inevitable demise by the end of the film. Kill counts matter with these films, and The Relic has a high one. However, it does have a good outcome in that not everyone in the museum is eaten. People do live to tell the tale which is good. All I do know is that at that age, the monster would have had me smiling ear to ear because even today I enjoy watching this movie. That’s why it is a recommended installment for Horror Movie Marathon 2018!