Meridian, aka Kiss of the Beast is the latest of Full Moon’s films to be restored for a Blu Ray release. For some reason this one never built up much of a reputation over the years, which is a shame because it’s actually a well made variation of Beauty and the Beast.
Catherine (Sherilyn Fenn Twin Peaks, Raze) inherits a castle in Italy and promptly invites best friend Gina (Charlie Spradling Twice Dead, Wild at Heart) who’s in Rome working on restoring paintings. Also coinciding with her arrival is the appearance of a traveling carnival, Fauvry’s World of Wonders. The girls attend and an attraction immediately forms between Lawrence (Malcolm Jamieson Wild Geese II). He promptly drugs the two women so that he and his twin brother Oliver can have their way with them. Oliver, while a good person in human form is cursed to become a beast. The women find themselves dealing with ancient curses and prophesies as well as matters of the heart and of the flesh.
It doesn’t take much to see the big problem with the script, it’s a love story that starts with the heroine being drugged for sex, not exactly something that makes you sympathetic to the male leads. The script tries to work around it since it was the evil twin who did it, but the “good” one was willing to take advantage. And yes it’s linked into the prophesies at the story’s core but it’s still off putting.
But then, this film’s target audience was never female anyway, it was lonely adolescent males who couldn’t get a date, they could rent this and see Fenn and Spradling frequently get naked instead. And they certainly do show off plenty of skin, indeed that was really about all I had remembered from seeing it back when it was released. There’s actually a lot more to like here. A lot of the best behind the camera talent Full Moon had worked on this, Charles Band directed it himself from a script by Dennis Paoli (Re-Animator, Castle Freak), the score was by Pino Donaggio (Tourist Trap, Dressed to Kill), Mac Ahlberg (Pale Blood, Re-Animator, Beverly Hills Cop 3) shot it and in one of his last editing gigs before becoming a full time director himself, Ted Nicolaou (Subspecies, TerrorVision) cut it. Effects were by Greg Cannom (Without Warning, Blade and so much more) Shot in an Italian castle the sets are beautiful and atmospheric as well.
While it’s never really scary it is entertaining and never really gets boring even if it occasionally drags a bit. There are a few good plot twists and surprises along the way. For those that can get past the drugging, (or at least not find it a deal breaker) it’s a good watch. Full Moon Entertainment will be releasing it on Blu-Ray October 24.