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(aka "The Ravaging" or "Phantoms" or "Meridian: Kiss of the Beast")

 

directed by Charles Band
USA/Italy 1990

 

Catherine (Sherilyn Fenn, TWIN PEAKS) returns to Italy to her family's ancestral castle. Her former nanny Martha (Hilary Mason, DON'T LOOK NOW) neglects to inform her that the inherited "responsibilities of the castle" include a family curse. After witnessing an impressive performance by visiting gypsy carnival act "Fauvrey's World of Wonders", she and her American friend Gina (Charlie Spradling, TWICE DEAD) invite the charismatic Lawrence Fauvrey (Malcolm Jamieson, VICTOR VICTORIA) and his performers to dinner at the castle. The girls are drugged and Lawrence leaves Catherine to his twin brother Oliver (who literally turns into a beast while bedding Catherine) while he has his way with Gina. After the troupe have left, Catherine starts having ghostly visions of a murdered girl in a white dress (whom she used to see when she was a girl). Reluctantly, Martha reveals that the girl was Catherine's aunt and that she was murdered years ago by someone from the visiting "Fauvrey's World of Wonders." Catherine soon fears that history will repeat itself; but she cannot help but feel alternately drawn to and repulsed by Oliver who tells her that he only way to end the curse is for her to kill the beast. Meanwhile, Gina returns to town to uncover the secret of an ancient painted-over canvas that depicts the castle and, possibly, the fate of its current inhabitants. Phil Fondacaro (TROLL) and Vernon Dobtcheff (CATACOMBS) also star.

Empire Pictures/Full Moon Entertainment producer Charles Band's fleshier version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has gorgeous cinematography by Mac Ahlberg (HELL NIGHT), a beautiful orchestral/electronic score by Pino Donaggio (CARRIE) - both Band regulars - make-up effects by Greg Cannom (BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA), and attractive Italian locations (including the Castello di Giove, also featured in CASTLE FREAK and THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM), as well as sensitive performances by Fenn, Spradling, Mason, and Jamieson; however, the sight of a naked Fenn doing the "beast with two backs" with a man in a cuddly monster suit (stunt double Alex Daniels, who also donned Cannom make-up for the short-lived TV series WEREWOLF) is chuckle-inducing. The brief flashes of skin may not be enough for viewers expecting an eroti thriller, and the scares are non-existant for horror fans. Despite this, MERIDIAN manages to be classier than Zalman King's cheesy Southern Gothic TWO MOON JUNCTION (although that one did feature more undraped screentime for Fenn), and it has an importance as one of the first Full Moon Pictures production (dating back from the glory days of their lucrative distribution deal with Paramount which also produced the first three SUBSPECIES and PUPPET MASTER films and a handful of other solo horror and sci-fi entries considerably slicker and better-made than later works under the subsequent Full Moon Pictures and Full Moon Features banners).

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 13 April 1990 (USA)

Reviews                                                                                                More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL vs. 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

 

1) Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

88 Films
Region 0 - PAL
88 Films
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:25:57 1:22:39 (4% PAL speedup) 1:26:23.261
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.81 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.6 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Disc Size: 19,662,978,735 bytes

Feature Size: 19,048,415,232 bytes

Total Bitrate: 25.73 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection)

 

Bitrate:

88 Films

 

Bitrate:

88 Films Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles none none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• VIDEOZONE Behind the Scenes (4:3; 5:21)
• Website Link

DVD Release Date: 16 January 2007
Amaray in Boxed Set Case

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• VIDEOZONE Behind the Scenes (4:3; 5:22)
• Trailer (4:3; 1:42)
• Trailers for SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, PUPPET MASTER, THE DEAD WANT WOMEN, GINGERDEADMAN 2, TOURIST TRAP, KILLER EYE: HALLOWEEN HAUNT, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, SKULL HEADS, CASTLE
• FREAK, and CANNIBAL WOMEN IN THE AVOCADO JUNGLE OF DEATH

 

DVD Release Date: 28 May 2012
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

 

1.78:1 Disc Size: 19,662,978,735 bytes

Feature Size: 19,048,415,232 bytes

Total Bitrate: 25.73 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailer (1:19)
• Videozone (Behind the Scenes) (5:23)
• Reversible Sleeve
 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 26th, 2017
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: (July 2017) 88 Films Region 'B' - Blu-ray: Not surprisingly, Meridian, is not Citizen Kane. It appears to have been slapped together with a salacious premise, some nudity and an evil magician who is a sexual predator/rapist. It has a heavy occult side, twin brothers, a transformed 'creature', a curse and, partially naked, cute Sherilyn Fenn and, larger breasted, actress, Charlie Spradling as 'Gina'. While there is an appeal, obviously, it lacks depth - but may fill the void for some looking for some, less-complicated, horror and sexploitation thrills.

The 1080P image is widescreen in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio and you can see what has been removed from the 1.33:1 SD visuals. It is significantly darker obscuring some detail, and has a yellow tinge, but looks more film-like with some texture although there is some flaring, which, for all I know, may have been part of the original production's modest lighting. It doesn't look great in terms of HD, but gives a reasonable presentation in-motion. There are a very few speckles and light marks. Composition looks more acceptable without all the unnecessary headroom of the DVDs.

88 Films do a solid job with the audio transfer - we get a, surprisingly robust, linear PCM 2.0 channel track in 24-bit. Effects, of course, exist but seem to take a backseat to the score by Pino Donaggio (Dressed to Kill, Don't Look Now, Blow Out, Raising Cain, Body Double), adding an ominous flavor to the film experience and supporting the ham-fisted visuals. There are burned-in English subtitles for the film's early non-English dialogue and it a region 'B'-locked Blu-ray.

Same extras as both other releases with the poor video quality, 5-minute, 'Videozone' behind the scenes featurette and a trailer. The package does have an, unremarkable, reversible sleeve.

Kind of amusing in its awkwardness and erotic-level romanticism. I did watch it to completion and am always keen on Miss Fenn - who has definite camera appeal. Those keen should keep their expectations in-check. The Blu-ray seems to way to watch it.

***

DVDs: 88 Films' dual-layer, progressive DVD utilizes the same aged master as the Full Moon disc; however, the PAL version seems to have been better digitized, looking sharper but also less noisy (particularly in scene utilizing red lighting gels) than the US DVD. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio is comparable (the film was released in Ultra Stereo, a Dolby Stereo-compatible four-to-two-channel matrixed surround format often used on lower budget titles throughout the eighties and nineties). PAL speed-up is only noticeable in passages where Pino Donaggio's score is dominant (the long OOP score was released on CD by the now-defunct Moonstone Records). Although shot with US home video release in mind, MERIDIAN was one of the early Full Moon pictures that had limited theatrical release. The optically burnt-in English subtitles for some of the Italian dialogue early on are positioned vertically high enough to sustain 1.85:1 matting and the compositions look unimpeded while medium shots and close-ups look tighter at that ratio. It is likely that the subtitle shots expose the entire frame while other shots (including medium shots and close-ups) are slightly enlarged for better readability for the original analogue master's lower resolution.

Both discs feature the Videozone behind the scenes featurette (in similarly terrible camcorder quality), but 88 Films' disc also includes the trailer. The current US edition is from Echo Bridge paired with later Full Moon pic DECADENT EVIL (this pairing is also available on a number of Echo Bridge multi-disc packs). Reportedly, it is of poor quality. An English-friendly French disc is available from Artus Films.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Burned-in Subtitles for non-English dialogue

 

 

 

1) Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC  - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC  - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC  - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC  - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC  - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment (The Charles Band Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC  - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: tie

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Full Moon/Wizard Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

88 Films
Region 0 - PAL
88 Films
Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 




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