Wednesday, October 9, 2013

THE RELIC (1997)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
A homicide detective and an anthropologist try to destroy a South American lizard-like God, who's on a people eating rampage in a Chicago museum.

This one goes out to my buddy, Lee. After briefly discussing this flick along with other horror nerds, he requested that I review it. Now, I don't usually do older film reviews unless I've just recently seen them for the first time. However, I've only seen "The Relic" once before, back when it came out on VHS. So, watching it again would be like watching it for the first time. That's my logic, anyway.

Now, one thing that always comes up when ever this film is the topic, is the book by Douglas J. Preston. I've never read it, but apparently it's even better than the movie. And from what I understand, has a lot more depth and more characters. Even when watching the film, I can see areas that I think are going to be touched up on more. Such as Margo and Dr. Greg Lee's rivalry. 

The one thing that I remembered about the film going into it again was how little you see of the Kothoga. Although it works, because less is more, it's a shame there just wasn't some really bright lights on this Chimeric beast if only for a brief period. I like the quality of darkness kept to set the mood, even if it does deprive us of a great visual creature. The late Stan Winston's masterful skill and genius gave birth to yet another one of the best designed movie monsters ever.

Watching this again was like experiencing it for the first time, I had forgotten so much. The heavy footsteps the Kothoga has, and how eerie it's breathing is, sounding like an old man wheezing. The ferocity and viciousness make it a truly terrifying creature.

Now, on with the plot. Very suspenseful, there's many scenes where nothing happens and yet you're on edge. The mystery behind the Kothoga, and where it could be at any and all times adds a strong sense of paranoia whenever a scene is dark. I also like that it takes place in a museum. It's like the last bit of "Jurassic Park" (1993), only more terrifying than fun. Although this film is entertaining, it does suffer from not enough interactions between characters, there's not really any character development.

The acting is surprisingly well done. Tom Sizemore does very good at playing a really likable character. It really is a shame what's become of his career. Anyway, the performances all around are strong, especially Penelope Ann Miller and James Whitmore. I just wish we had more time to see the characters grow, and really get to know them. For this reason, I am very much excited to read the novel. 

The scenes with the Kothoga, are downright scary. It has a seriously intimidating presence, and I genuinely felt scared for the people who got close to it. I knew it wasn't going to end well. This thing pulled the heads off of humans like it was opening a beer! The gore isn't overdone, but used very properly to push the realism.

There's good story development, and a solid little twist at the end. Overall, I think this is a really well done and underrated motion picture. Completely original, and it delivers as a horror movie. What else can you really ask for? Although it's not a perfect film, and needed more room to grow, it's very effective and memorable. But, I think the studio execs should have let this have an extra 20 minutes, at least.

As a matter of fact, after seeing this film again, I've decided to buy a collectible from it for my mancave. The paint job isn't quite right, but I know people who can fix that.


  1. I love The Relic! I definitely recommend giving the book a read, you wouldn't believe the sheer amount of seemingly random changes they made. There's also a sequel to the book that's really good called Reliquay.

    1. See, I did not know that! Thanks for the info!

      Next month when I start going hard on reading again, I'll be purchasing both on Amazon.

  2. Excellent, been meaning to re-watch this one again, as, like you, I saw it when it first hit video. A really cool monster film from the 90's, which is a rare thing. I remember thinking the creature design and effects were excellent, but no surprises considering the Winston connection. Thanks for the reminder on this one.

    1. No problem! After this review I've had several people tell me they're going ot rewatch it!

      It's funny how forgotten and lost this film has become, when so many people like it. Very underrated movie.

  3. Oh my god, I forgot all about this movie. I used to LOVE this flick as a kid. Nice review here. So cool that you're a fan.


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