The Relic (1996) - Peter Hyames

The Relic was recommended to me by some one over at, who says that this is one of their favorite horrors. So Techatomon this one is for you. This movie stars Tom Sizemore and Penelope Ann Miller (doing her best Dana Skully, impression) and they both don't do too bad of a job. That is saying quite a bit for Tom Sizemore, who hasn't been decent in anything since... well since this I suppose. I am not too familiar with Penelope Miller's work. However, she does well in this.

This movie is about a evolutionary biologist (Miller) and police detective (Sizemore) that are both investigating a mysterious shipment from Brazil. The shipment was bound for a museum in Chicago, and when it arrives it is clouded in mystery. The boat that it arrives on is sans-living people, everyone that was on the ship has died. Now the museum that the shipment is being housed in is finding that people are dying left and right from something. What is killing people in the museum? How are the killings linked to the mysterious shipment? Why is whatever is killing people, removing glands from their brains? Those are the big questions here.

The movie preys on peoples fear of superstition. Hell, the museum that is holding the Relic is having an entire presentation on superstitions. Namely superstitions of different tribes. This movie has found some new life in the eyes of cult-movie goers all over. The movie has classic horror elements, however it hearkens back to the good old days of monster movies. Keeping the actual antagonist hidden from the camera for the majority of the film. The blood and guts are plentiful and they don't skimp when it comes to that. Most of the victims in the movie are decapitated in an extremely brutal fashion.

This movie actually boasts a pretty decent cast. Besides, Sizemore and Miller, we have veteran actor James Whitmore and Linda Hunt rounding out the faces on-screen. These four don't really have terrible roles, they are however forgettable. The special effects are pretty decent as well. All of the be-headings and mauling that take place are pretty gruesome. They have really taken the Monster Movie aesthetic and added some hard edges.

This movie is fun and I think that it fits really well in the 31 Movies of Halloween. This movie is great for parties or for a good scary date night. Most of the horror movies that came out around this time were pretty forgettable. Its nice that this one didn't stay by the wayside.

"I heard your wife got custody of the dog. Were you late on your ALPO payments?"
  • Stan Winston and his effects team made the creatures for this movie.
  • Based on a 1995 best selling novel, Relic. 
  • Harrison Ford was Peter Hyames' first choice for Lt. Vincent D'Agosta. The role eventually went to Tom Sizemore.