Beast Mode: Meridian: Kiss of the Beast (1990) Reviewed

In celebration of the official release of Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast, we're digging deep and looking at other films that feature young women falling in love with strange and sometimes violent creatures. 

Meridian: Kiss of the Beast stars a youthful Sherilyn Fenn (during her days of Twin Peaks fame) as an artistic heiress returning to Italy to find that the ghosts of the past still haunt her family's massive castle and the surrounding area. When a roving band of magicians and weirdos show up outside the castle doors, things get melodramatic and a little bit gross. 

Charles Band's Full Moon offered up a bevy of horror features during the early '90s that piqued my interest in lower budget genre pieces. As a huge fan of the teenage slice and dice movies like Friday the 13th and Nightmare On Elm Street, there was never enough to satisfy my thirst for the most deranged and strange thrillers. Having seen Band's 1989 Puppet Master, Meridian was next on the list of bare budget flicks that I needed to see. His Meridian crosses steamy late night erotica, creature feature, and the otherworldly sexuality of Sherilyn Fenn into a hybrid horror flick that's quite often a snooze fest, only amplified by several scenes of violence and some great looking practical effects. 

Meridian is highlighted by eroticism that hinges on the startling promotion of drugged rape and bizarre scenes of creature on woman intercourse. In fact, the scenes of sex might not pass today's tight ratings standards considering that they do in fact suggest violence and the use of force against women. Watching this nearly thirty years after it was made, I found it strange that Band was so provocative with his use of disrespect towards women and how easily the line between sensuality and rape could be crossed. Even more shocking is how the female characters in the movie simply accept their fate as victims. Both stars, Charlie Spradling and Sherilyn Fenn were youthful and stunning in the film, but this supposed tale of 'love' hasn't aged very well. Looking back, it's actually quite offensive. 

Our children will look like Benicio Del Toro. I promise.

This Kiss of the Beast is a definite departure from the straight horror and schlock efforts that Band would continue to produce. It's more of a character piece than his horror efforts like Subspecies or Demonic Toys. While the makings of a cool story are there, the film hasn't aged well and the story is nearly non-existent. Meridian presents a case of Stockholm syndrome where the beautiful human woman falls head over heels in love with the inter-dimensional fanged creature that tricked her into having sex after being slipped some Rohypnol. 

Not very cool.