Meridian (1990)

Meridian (1990)
AKA Meridian: Kiss of the Beast, Phantoms

Starring Sherilyn Fenn, Malcolm Jamieson, Charlie Spradling, Hilary Mason, Phil Fondacaro, Vernon Dobtcheff, Alex Daniels, Vito Passeri, Angelo de Bianchi, Salem Badr

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low. This one looks kinda cheesy.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


I rarely know much about these films before watching them, in an effort to remain open-minded and free from pesky expectations. In the case of Meridian, I had only seen the poster. It gives off something of an erotic, Gothic vibe and surprisingly, that’s exactly what Meridian is. And it’s good! Imagine that. Meridian is something completely different for Charles Band and I for one welcomed the change readily. Too many times I’ve sat down to a Full Moon film devoid of plot, FX and entertainment for the sake of reviewing all of their films, but Meridian was actually quite enjoyable to watch.

Without giving too much away, Meridian is about a girl, a castle and a centuries-old mystery that surrounds them both. It’s more of a Gothic romance than a real horror film, but I think horror fans looking to branch out from the everyday slasher film might still enjoy it… I did. The story plays with conventions and expectations just enough to keep you guessing (to a degree), and it continued to surprise me up until the end. It definitely has its missteps and some of the characters/plot points are underused/unfulfilled, but for what it is Meridian was quite impressive. It’s an interesting Full Moon film that stands alone in terms of story and focus, and for that, it’s worth checking out.

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Mini-Review: Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003)

Starring (New Footage): Jacob Witkin, Kate Orsini

Starring (Stock Footage): William Hickey, Charlie Spradling, Sage Allen, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Guy Rolfe, Richard Lynch, Ian Abercrombie, Aron Eisenberg, Gordon Currie, Chandra West, George Peck, Emily Harrison, Josh Green, Greg Sestero, Brigitta Dau, Stephen Blackehart, Jack Donner

Puppet Cast (New Footage): Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Six Shooter, Tunneler

Puppet Cast (Stock Footage): Egyptian Goblin, Leech Woman, Doctor Death, Drill Sergeant, Cyclops, Retro Blade, Retro Pinhead, Retro Six Shooter, Torch, Decapitron, Tank

Directed by Charles Band (as Robert Talbot)

Expectations: Extremely low, this is Puppet Master 8 and it’s mostly stock footage.

On the general scale:
halfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
onehalfstar


Okay, so this film is about 90-95% stock footage from the previous films in the series. This should discredit Puppet Master: The Legacy almost immediately, but wait! Don’t write it off just yet! There are two reasons why you might want to give this one a chance. First, if you’re a big fan you’ll want to see it for Full Moon’s somewhat noble attempt to place all the Puppet Master films in some sort of proper, epic order. Why make the films in your most popular series make sense chronologically the first time around, when you can produce a completely separate compilation film later on to “set things right”? There’s also a small framing storyline that actually ties into the series mythology in a fun, minor way for the hardcore fans, while technically serving this film as a bridge between the sections of stock footage. The other reason to watch this would be if you’ve never seen any of the Puppet Master films, and you have no intention of rooting through seven whole films before getting to this one. The film actually sums up the entirety of the series in a slim runtime just over 70 minutes! That’s either a very impressive editing job or a sad commentary on the amount of interesting story within the Puppet Master series, but I’ll go with the former.

Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot more to say about this one. It’s a bunch of stock footage. What else is there to say? The framing story is shaky, but it’s cool to see Evil Bong‘s Jacob Witkin get roped into the Puppet Master franchise in such a fun story twist. Nevermind that they never really explain anything that happens in between the previous films, so even with an entire film devoted to setting things right, there’s still a degree of mystery. I would expect no less from my friends at Full Moon. They also completely avoid any recap or footage from the awful Puppet Master 5, much to my delight.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite moments. During the flashback to Curse of the Puppet Master, they show one of the kills that features some stock footage from Puppet Master II. And then later in this film, they showed the scene from Puppet Master II that contained the shot that was aped for the later sequence in Curse of the Puppet Master. Puppet Master nerd laughs ahoy!

Dumb jokes aside, unless you’re really hardcore for Puppet Master or you want a quick rundown of the series’ greatest hits, watch something other than Puppet Master: The Legacy.

Next week, the Puppet Master-a-thon continues with the made for TV film starring Corey Feldman, Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys!

Bad Channels (1992)

Starring Paul Hipp, Martha Quinn, Aaron Lustig, Michael Huddleston, Sonny Carl Davis, Rodney Ueno, Roumel Reaux, Robert Factor, Charlie Spradling, Daryl Strauss, Victor Rogers, Melissa Behr, Tim Thomerson

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Moderate, it sounds like a cool idea.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-Movie scale:
onehalfstar


Bad Channels tells the story of the radio station, KDUL, an “All Polka, All-the-time” station that has recently discovered it is eligible to broadcast nationwide because it uses a frequency used by no other radio station in the country, 666 AM. They hire a star DJ, who chains himself into the chair and plays one polka album-side on repeat until someone guesses the combo to the Master lock around his neck. Some aliens show up and have other plans for the broadcast though!

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Puppet Master II (1991)

Starring Elizabeth Maclellan, Collin Bernsen, Steve Welles, Gregory Webb, Charlie Spradling, Jeff Weston, Nita Talbot, Sage Allen, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Sean B. Ryan, Michael Todd, Julianne Mazziotti

Puppet Cast: Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Tunneler, Leech Woman, Torch, Egyptian Goblin (cameo)

Directed by Dave Allen

Expectations: High. I enjoyed the first one enough to be thoroughly stoked for this one.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threehalfstar


Puppet Master II definitely falls into the category of sequel that surpasses the original film. It is bigger and better in every way you’d want, featuring more puppets, more killings, and more puppets thrown against walls. What more can you ask of a low-budget horror movie? Full Moon does its flagship series proud and delivers a fun, over-the-top sequel sure to please fans of the original.

Puppet Master II opens with the puppets digging up the corpse of André Toulon and pouring a nasty green juice onto him. Rise from your grave! From here the film picks up loosely from the events of the first film. The surviving psychic from the first film, Alex, has been committed to a mental institution (and thus cannot appear in the sequel) and the Bodega Bay hotel has defaulted ownership to the federal government. The Bureau of Paranormal Investigations is dispatched to check the place out. It’s all harmless pranks and sexual encounters amongst the group until one night Tunneler creeps into one of their rooms and drills into a dude’s forehead. Let the carnage begin!

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