30 August 2011
Flick Picks 24: Meridian
Hello Again, Streakers! Boog here, with part two of a four part review series, focusing on horror film company Full Moon Entertainment. From 2006, we go back to 1990, and one of Full Moon's first feature films, Meridian. Also called Kiss of the Beast. Warning: The trailer link, while not showing any naughty bits, still features nudity, as the film has a good amount of nudity in it. Also, SPOILERS! Now, I must say, as someone who has seen a few Full Moon features, I will admit that there is only one of the four films I'm reviewing for this series that I have seen previously (Demonic Toys), and that one I watched once about 6 years ago. This film, is far better than most Full Moon pictures, as it has somewhat decent acting talent, a great locale, and some decent behind the camera work, especially in the music department. However, this also one of the deplorable films I have ever had the displeasure of watching. Seriously. This film, based on one scene, made me want to actually hurt something. Then, this film had the balls to try and make that scene a freaking plot point.
Okay, so the film opens on cheesy mid 80s black title cards with a white font out of every other movie from that era with a budget of more than $5, intercut with some closeups of some kinda creepy statues, the last couple of which get glowing eyes for no real reason, as they are never actually relevant, or even brought up. Then we get a kinda trippy slow motion sequence of a bunch of circus sideshow folk parading one at a time from a backlit giant stone mouth. We don't get any context for this for about 25 minutes. Of an 82 minute movie. What does happen for that 25 minutes? Well, first we get a young boy child taking a painting to a church, leaving as a donation from some lady from a nearby castle. This is done primarily to cement the fact that this film takes place in Italy. The priest at first dismisses it as worthless, but one of the other people in the church notes that the frame is very old, and so there should be an equally old painting underneath the rather crappy pastoral landscape it currently houses. The priest then takes the painting to a restoration facility, where we get introduced to a side character, Gina. She, being an American just out of college, is of course the best restoration talent this firm has, as is told to get that particular painting done that weekend. It's implied that this conversation is occurring on a Thursday or Friday, and the restoration has to be done by Monday, so that the painting can be presented to a visiting cardinal as part of a church restoration. Apparently a 400 year old painting can be restored over a weekend. Well, that doesn't matter, as Gina takes a day off anyway to visit her friend, Catherine, the main character.
Catherine, as it turns out, has just returned to Italy, having been away for 10 years, to take control of, and now care for, her family inheritance: a freaking CASTLE. When Catherine arrives, she is greeted my Martha, her old nanny, and apparently the only help that stayed after Catherine's father died. We get some boring talk from the two, then Gina arrives. We get some more boring talk, and then, we get the context for the opening, as Gina notices a traveling circus troupe has set up shop on the grounds outside, and coerces Catherine into going. Along the way the two get a slight character development talk, as they walk through an Italian landmark know as Bomarzo Monster Park, a really interesting site, with all kinds of weird statues of monsters and mythological creatures. They even try to give it a backstory, claiming a legend of a wizard that once roamed the grounds and turned all his enemies to stone, displaying them there as proof of his power. Seriously, if all Full Moon films managed to pull off even half of the atmosphere that Meridian has brings to the table, I wouldn't hate this film house as much as I do. The two women get eventually get to the performance, where we see the circus troupe that slow-mo-ed into the movie including Phil Fondacaro again, this time wearing a ridiculous 16th century-esque bard getup and cracking a whip about three times to big for him. We also get to a magician, whose name we don't learn quite yet. Gina gets picked from the crowd as a volunteer, gets knives thrown at her, and the show ends. As everyone is dispersing, Gina convinces Catherine to go inside, moving the plot along. The girls talk with the magician, who seems rather interested in Catherine, as it is revealed to him that she is now the lady of the castle, and Gina moves the plot along again by inviting the magician and his troupe to dinner.