The stories are true!
It’s a great poster, right? It gives you the tone, but reveals very little of the plot.
So, what does it tell you? Well, clearly this movie is set in a museum, the Chicago Natural History Museum to be exact. What else? Something has been brought back that shouldn’t have been brought back…some sort of Relic. Alright, I’ll stop dictating what you already know.
What’s interesting about this film is how I stumbled upon it. Usually movies get to me through the internet, advertisements, or word of mouth. In this case, fate led me to it. I’ll explain:
Many years ago, around about 1998 or so, I was hanging out with a childhood friend of mine. As a kid I was fascinated by horror films, mostly because I wasn’t able to watch them. They terrified me but, as with everything in life, the most dangerous things are also the most attractive. Age restrictions, however, were my nemesis and I sought out every potentially scary movie I could in a myriad of deceptive ways. Now I watch horror movies religiously and even want to embark on a career making them. Let that be a lesson to everyone; suppress it completely – and it’ll only resurface later in life tenfold.
Anyway, so my friend tells me about this really really scary movie that really really scared him and that he thinks i should really really see. It’s called The Relic.
Alright, I’m intrigued. He describes it as an obscenely gory and devilishly frightening creature film with a terrifying monster at the heart of it. Since I’m no older than ten, my immature response is of course “What does it look like?”. He attempts to describe it, but fails miserable, mentioning something about “loads of claws and teeth and stuff!”. Thank’s dude, you really are a poet. Regardless, I vow that one day I shall gaze upon its glory!
Fast forward a couple of years, probably around about 2000 or 2001, and I’m aimlessly walking around a second-hand book sale at my school. The local library was getting rid of boxes upon boxes of unwanted literature, selling it all for a cheap-ass price. I’m flicking through this genre-heap of abandoned paper, when suddenly my finger lands on…
“Relic! That’s what he said it was called, right? And the monster, is that it?”
“I think it is! Wow, it looks like a weird dinosaur-human-monkey thing. Nothing like what my friend described at all…but then again it wasn’t exactly the best eye witness account.”
So I take it to the counter and ask how much it costs. “25 Kroner”, the guy says. By the way, I’m from Norway, so our currency looks like this:
I need 25 of these suckers to buy the book. I search through my pockets and find…50 Kroner! I know, you were all expecting the perfect amount to make it all “magical”, right? Sorry, but hey…I could afford the book, so I bought it! As I read it, the plot revealed itself to be thus:
“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.”
A people – eating – rampage! How great is that? I loved it. It’s impeccably well written and wonderfully descriptive, but does it describe the creature in any sort of detail? No! So the picture on the front cover is clearly some random artist’s rendition. It therefore doesn’t give me a clue as to what the creature in the movie is like. I need to just…see it!
Another 2 or 3 years go by. One day my mother and I are looking through the nearest rental store for some movies to rent and BAM! …
There it is. I mean there it fucking is!
Finally after so many years I’m going to not only see this movie, but also get a definitive look at the monster. Just out of interest, who designed it? Oh, it’s only…
The man behind almost every fantastic practical makeup and robotic effect ever! Which doesn’t exactly dampen my spirits. So…I watched it…
The Relic (1997) trailer
Amazing. It’s everything I could have hoped for and more. No, I’m not going to describe the monster for you. You have to watch it yourself. I urge you to grab a copy anywhere you can and let me know what you think. Sorry about the long story, but hopefully it helps you appreciate my feelings about this one.