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This Day in Horror: THE RELIC Premiered in Theaters

Released today in 1997: The Relic

Based on the novel Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, The Relic follows a shipment of relics from a South American tribe to the United States. When the shipment arrives via boat, the entire crew is dead. Anthropologist study the shipments, but discover too late that a fungus in the packages has mutated into an insect/lizard creature that feeds on humans. The creature gets loose in the museum during the premiere of an exhibit, and runs amok among the patrons.

The novel was set in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, so the film intended to be set there as well. The museum, afraid the movie would scare kids away from the museum, declined to allow production to shoot the film there. The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago loved the premise, and the film shot there.

Stan Winston and his team created three creatures for the film, each requiring two people to work the head, as well as a team running the electronics to make the creatures move. A computer-generated creature was used for scenes in which the monster was running or jumping.