Directed by Charles Band [Other horror films: Crash! (1976), Parasite (1982), The Alchemist (1983), Ragewar (1984, segment ‘Heavy Metal’), Pulse Pounders (1988), Crash and Burn (1990), Trancers II (1991), Doctor Mordrid (1992), Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (1993), Head of the Family (1996), Hideous! (1997), The Creeps (1997), Blood Dolls (1999), Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003), Dr. Moreau’s House of Pain (2004), Decadent Evil (2005), Doll Graveyard (2005), The Gingerdead Man (2005), Petrified (2006), Evil Bong (2006), Dead Man’s Hand (2007), Decadent Evil II (2007), Dangerous Worry Dolls (2008), Evil Bong 2: King Bong (2009), Skull Heads (2009), Evil Bong 3: The Wrath of Bong (2011), Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt (2011), DevilDolls (2012), The Dead Want Women (2012), Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012), Ooga Booga (2013), Unlucky Charms (2013), Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong (2013), The Haunted Dollhouse (2013), Trophy Heads (2014), Evil Bong 420 (2015), Evil Bong: High 5 (2016), Ravenwolf Towers: The Feature (2016), Evil Bong 666 (2017), Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017), Evil Bong 777 (2018), Puppet Master: Blitzkrieg Massacre (2018), Deadly Dolls: Deepest Cuts (2018), Death Heads: Brain Drain (2018), Vampire Slaughter: Eaten Alive (2018), Bunker of Blood: Chapter 6: Zombie Lust: Night Flesh (2018), Bunker of Blood: Chapter 8: Butcher’s Bake Off: Hell’s Kitchen (2019), Corona Zombies (2020)]
I went into this one with lower expectations, but was pleasantly surprised at first. But then the movie kept going down paths I didn’t much care for, and come the end, I found Meridian a somewhat tedious and difficult film to fully enjoy.
Of course, being a Full Moon flick, Meridian does have some charm to it, and it also boasts some decent performances from both Sherilyn Fenn and Charlie Spradling, not to mention Hilary Mason, and though some of the ideas themselves were interesting, the movie evolves into a messy romantic flick à la Beauty and the Beast, and not a particularly worthwhile version.
The main idea and setting here are both fine. The two girls seeing the traveling magic troupe was solid, and the variety of troupe members was admirable (which led, on a side note, to a scene that reminded me a lot of the 1932 Freaks, in which a dwarf is walking down a table and pouring wine in peoples’ cups). It’s true that dinner sequence, followed by a drug-induced rape scene, held a certain engagement to it, but then the movie spirals into unenjoyable territory.
What’s the main issue, then?
After Fenn’s character is raped, she falls in love with the individual who raped her. That alone pissed me off, if truth be told. Drugging women then raping them, and then having one of the women in question subsequently fall for one of the guys involved is beyond the pale, and past that point, I couldn’t bring myself to care for Fenn’s character, nor Malcolm Jamieson’s (he played a pair of twins, Lawrence and Oliver). And once this happened, it only left one central character to root for, being Spradling’s, but funnily, past this point, she only appears sporadically, and is of little importance to the rest of the story.
I’ll admit that both Sherilyn Fenn and Charlie Spradling were pretty attractive, which is definitely true during their nude sequences (Spradling being my preferred of the two). I don’t know Fenn from anything, but Spradling was in both the disappointing Mirror Mirror and the promising Puppet Master II. I liked her character here, quite a lot more than I liked Fenn’s, but like I said, past a certain point, she doesn’t really add much, aside from occasionally being seen working on uncovering a supposedly plot-important painting. Hilary Mason was fun, and there’s a somewhat cool twist involving her character, but much like Spradling, she doesn’t do that much.
Malcolm Jamieson was a fine actor here, but I didn’t care for either of the characters he played (and their on-screen conversations were just melodramatic to the extreme), and ultimately, while he probably did a perfectly fine job, I just didn’t care much for him, much of which can be put on the route that Meridian went.
I knew next to nothing about this movie before watching it, and that’s good, because I already went in with somewhat low expectations, so if I knew where this one went, it would have been even harder to get through this one. Meridian is somewhat interesting, and it definitely could have been a good film (another Full Moon feature, Subspecies, came out the following year, and is pretty good), but this one just doesn’t have what I’d hope for.
This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested, listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss it below.