Penelope Ann Miller in ‘The Relic’ (1997)
*Personal Opinion: A lot of people didn’t care for this particular film – the reviewer for example. I thoroughly disagree with the his assesment that it is a cheap knock-off of ‘Alien’. Monster films are what they are – Monster films – and this one didn’t come from outer-space so the comparison somewhat eludes me. The creature in this film craves the human hypothalamus; and being a bit of a science geek, I like that it isn’t a mindless eating machine, but a ‘thing’ of purpose. Yes, some of the scenes border on the ridiculous, but it’s a horror flick, not ‘Pride and Prejudice’. (now there’s some genuine crap, if you’re interested)
Side note: I love the book this film is loosely based upon. It’s the first in the Special Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Though I will readily admit the movie doesn’t do it justice by any means.
Film Synopsis: (allmovies.com)
A mythological creature stalks the halls of a museum during a society fundraiser in this cheap sci-fi horror genre knock-off of Alien (1979). Penelope Ann Miller stars as Dr. Margo Green, an evolutionary biologist at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History who receives a shipment of artifacts from a colleague performing fieldwork in Brazil. Among the contents are leaves containing a rare fungus that, unbeknownst to Green or anyone else, attracts the palate of a rapidly mutating, lizard-like monster called Kothoga that has stowed away on a Brazilian freighter and has found a subterranean route into the museum from Lake Michigan. Before long, several museum employees have become decapitated snack food for the beast, which prefers to dine on human hypothalamuses and pituitary glands. Despite dire warnings from the museum staff, a gruff coroner (Audra Lindley) and the investigating detective, Lt. Vincent D’Agosta (Tom Sizemore), the Windy City’s oblivious mayor orders a black-tie museum fundraiser to proceed. During the event, the building’s high-tech security system locks Green, D’Agosta, the mayor, and many chi-chi party guests in with the hungry animal, forcing everyone to attempt an escape through an underground waterway with which Kothoga is all too familiar.
Short Bio: (wikipedia.org)
Penelope Ann Miller (born Penelope Andrea Miller; January 13, 1964), sometimes credited as Penelope Miller, is an American actress. She began her career on Broadway, and starred in several major Hollywood films, particularly in the late 1980s and early 1990s in which she appeared in Biloxi Blues (1988), Big Top Pee-wee (1988), The Freshman (1990), Awakenings (1990), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Other People’s Money (1991), Year of the Comet (1992), Chaplin (1992) and Carlito’s Way (1993) and has continued to appear in supporting roles in both film and television including The Relic (1997) and The Artist (2011).