MonsterVision's Joe Bob Briggs reviews:

The Relic (1997)

Scifi Channel's description:
A mysterious collection of ancient South American relics are delivered to the Natural History Museum in Chicago after being transported on a ship where all the crew have been found horrifically slaughtered. Evolutionary biologist Margo Green (Penelope Ann Miller of The Shadow, again playing someone named Margo) and police Lieutenant D’Agosta (Tom Sizemore) become unlikely partners when the slaughter continues at the museum. They try to establish the connection between the cargo and the murders and soon realise that this is no ordinary murder case. It quickly becomes clear that a supernatural creature with a hunger for the human hypothalamus gland – taken directly from its victim’s brains – is on the loose. Look out for cool dude Clayton Rohner (Good Vs Evil) as a good cop doing his best to prevent people from being splattered by the bloodthirsty beast. Linda Hunt is also in the cast.
Now here's Joe Bob Briggs with those drive-in totals:

Joe Bob's Drive In Review for June 22, 1997
by Joe Bob Briggs

This week's flick is "The Relic," which is just about the TALKIEST horror movie ever made. I counted nine separate discussions of genetic DNA, including one in the last 20 minutes when the giant half-beetle/half-lizard galloping humanoid has already eaten most of the supporting cast and is closing in on Penelope Ann Miller.

This is one of those Snappy Patter movies. Everybody talks in Snappy Patter. The cops bark Snappy Patter at one another. The scientists in the Chicago natural history museum talk in nerdy Snappy Patter. Even the mayor has his own form of obscene Snappy Patter. These are Clever People. Cool People. Excuse me while I barf all over a polo shirt.

The idea is that a big-deal anthropologist goes down to Brazil and drinks some jungle acid with the Amazon Indians, and pretty soon he gets turned into either a reptile or an insect or a fungus or SOMETHING, and then an empty ship turns up on Lake Michigan with a bunch of gooey bodies inside. And Tom Sizemore, as the tough snappy-pattered police lieutenant, finds out that all the bodies have the rear part of their brains eaten away because the creature feeds on the hypothalamus gland. The reason I remember it's the hypothalamus gland is that they refer to the hypothalamus gland about 97 times before the movie is over. "Hmmmmm...missing hypothalamus? I thought so."

Meanwhile, down at the museum, Penelope Ann Miller just wants to do her molecular biology projects in peace. She really doesn't have time for a 3-ton jungle creature to go galumphing through the museum cocktail party, eating extras and slurping stuff out of their cranial cavities.

The only reason the movie exists really is so we can see the last half hour of Stan Winston special effects, with this toothy. crab-headed Lollapalooza Lizard partying through Chi-town. Will we be forced to watch another hour of poorly lit scenes featuring cops with flashlights leading tuxedoed guests through sewer tunnels in a vain effort to escape, or will Penelope Ann be able to do the proper computer work in time to figure out What It Is and How To Kill It? While we're waiting to find out, a wheelchair-bound James Whitmore, as the crusty old museum curator, becomes Hamburger Helper while grinning ear to ear at the majestic sociological implications of it all.

They actually tried to make a horror movie with a goldurn MESSAGE. Please. Don't let it happen again.

Seventeen dead bodies.
One dead dog.
No breasts. (Shame on you, Penelope Ann.)
Jungle drugfest.
Flesh-eating beetles.
Slimy beetle-smashing.
Headless-body iron-spike impalement.
Multiple decapitations.
Giant-lizard face-licking.
Exploding creature.
Gratuitous Linda Hunt.
Heads roll.
Fungus fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...
Chi Muoi Lo, as the oily museum researcher who steals other people's grant money.
Tom Sizemore, as the wisecracking detective who sizes up a crime scene and orders "a full splatter pack."
And Penelope Ann Miller, as the feisty little molecular biologist who really CARES ABOUT PEOPLE.
Two stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.
You can write to Joe Bob Briggs, at P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221. You can also fax him at (213) 462-5982 or e-mail him at

© 1997 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved. For this and other movie reviews by the artist formerly known as the host of MonsterVision, go to Joe Bob

Relic availability on video and on DVD from

No relation to the TV-series Relic Hunter (1999-2002)
Description from Internet Movie DataBase:
Sydney Fox is a professor but primarily a globe-trotting "relic hunter," looking for ancient artifacts to return to museums and/or the ancestors of the original owner. She's aided by her linguistic assistant Nigel, and occasionally by her somewhat air-headed secretary Claudia. She often ends up battling rival hunters seeking out artifacts for the money. (66 hour-long episodes)
Cast List
Tia Carrere ... Sydney Fox
Christien Anholt ... Nigel Bailey
Lindy Booth ... Claudia (1999-2001)
Tanja Reichert ... Karen Petrusky (2001-2002)
Episodes available on DVD from in a 5-disc set:
Disk 1: Legend of the Lost, Last of the Mohicas, Fertile Ground, Gypsy Jigsaw, Three Rivers to Cross
Disk 2: Lost Contact, Cross of Voodoo, Roman Holiday, Diamond in the Rough, The Reel Thing
Disk 3: The Book of Love, Out of the Past, Eyes of Toklamanee, Etched in Stone, Run Sydney Run
Disk 4: M.I.A., Love Letter, A Good Year, Nothing But the Truth, The Last Knight
Disk 5: Possessed, Memories of Montmarte, Bonus Material (Interviews with Tia Carrere & Christien Anholt, 'Making of', photo gallery & trailers)

And then there was Lara Croft, Tomb Raider - a movie series based on the Lara Croft Tomb Raider videogames

Fun fact: the kid who fights an evil troll in the 1980s drive-in movie of the same name with help from the good witch who lives upstairs (June Lockhart/Anne lockhart) is named Harry Potter in the movie and his dad, Harry Potter Sr., is played by Michael Moriarity of It's Alive

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