Meridian Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Full Moon Entertainment
Directed by Charles Band
Written by Dennis Paoli
1990, 85 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on October 24th, 2016
Sherilyn Fenn as Catherine
Malcolm Jamieson as Lawrence/ Oliver
Charlie (Spradling) as Gina
Hilary Mason as Martha
Phil Fondacaro as Dwarf
Alex Daniels as Beast
Vernon Dobtcheff as Priest
Catherine Bomarzini returns to Italy when she inherits the family castle and is elated to find her former nanny Martha still in attendance. Better still, Catherine’s longtime friend Gina is working at a local art museum as a conservator. The two reunite for what promises to be a fun-filled weekend. A travelling carnival puts on a show and Gina is captivated by Lawrence, the leader of the troupe. The carnies manage an invitation to dinner at the castle and throw a spirited party. The next day, Catherine lacks full memory of the previous night’s activities. Things soon take a strange turn once visions of ghosts and monsters plague the lady of the castle. Something peculiar is going on and it involves an unexpected love triangle. Not really a spoiler, but Lawrence has a twin brother named Oliver who loves Catherine and needs her to help him lift an ancient curse. Martha knows what is going on but is unable to assist Catherine, as she insists the knowledge must come on its own to be truly appreciated.
Meridian is a beautifully shot film directed by Charles Band (Trancers) and written by Dennis Paoli (From Beyond). The contemporary spin on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast takes an erotic turn with a lot of slow-motion romance and a generous amount of nudity, which is uncommon in most Full Moon features. The castle location is beautiful, as are the grounds, and the wardrobe is also eye-catching. Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks) and Malcolm Jamieson (The Scarlet Pimpenel) are well cast in the leading roles and Greg Cannom’s make-up effects are top notch. All that being said, there is still something repulsive about this film.
The story starts on a sour note when our heroines are drugged and raped by the carnies. The scene is beautifully staged with passionate kisses in front of a fireplace and a large bed filled with fluffy pillows. The music swells and the passion ignites the screen into an erotic frenzy. Except for the fact that these women are being raped. I know it’s supposed to be romantic, but even though neither Catherine nor Gina fights back against their attackers, they are still drugged into having unwanted sex with these men. There is no further mention of what happened, as the women’s memories are fuzzy the next morning. Catherine confides to Martha tearfully that she fears something terrible happened. She is later approached by Lawrence, who ties her to the bed and attempts to rape her again, albeit more forcefully this time since she is fully conscious.
I love Charles Band’s work and can see where the erotic market appealed to his sense as a business man, but come on Charlie. Dennis Paoli does his best to keep Lawrence and Oliver engaging and even sympathetic, but you know – rape. I want to like this movie and could easily recommend it for the performances alone, but when I think back on it, I am immediately reminded of that scene. Making matters even worse as this is a Beauty and the Beast fable, the rape transforms into bestiality halfway through. It makes for a striking image, but – ew.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the transfer is quite pleasing for an early ‘90s erotic fable. Colors are strong and there is a nice level of detail, particularly in close-ups that offer surprising clarity.
A Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is joined by a 2.0 stereo presentation with the latter appearing somewhat murky. The surround mix fares better for dialogue levels and some expanded music cues, but remains primarily a center channel showcase.
A brief making-of featurette, Meridian: Kiss of the Beast (5 minutes) offers a look behind the scenes at the making of the film and includes brief interviews with Band and Fenn, among others.
A trailer gallery featuring previews of additional Full Moon releases does not include anything for Meridian.