Director – Jack Woods, Mark Thomas McGee, Dennis Muren
Cast – Edward Connell, Barbara Hewitt, Frank Bonner, Robin Christopher, Jack Woods, James Phillips, Fritz Leiber Jr., Patrick Burke
Release Year – 1970
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I first heard about this cult classic film after reading that Equinox shared many elements with Sam Raimi’s epic film “The Evil Dead”, and may have even had a heavy influence on Raimi’s horror masterpiece. Well I finally got the opportunity to give this flick a watch and boy does this flick kick ass. If you are a fan of cheezy horror flicks that implore claymation tactics then this film is for you.
This flick follows four friends who go to the mountains to meet up with a professor and enjoy a nice picnic while in the area. After exploring a bit they encounter a crazed old man who hands them a book, emphatically joyous that he was able to rid himself of it. The book isn’t any normal book, and comes with some dire consequences. A demon has been unleashed to recover the book and still stop at nothing, including resurrecting giant creatures, to get the book back.
I can really see the resemblance between this film and “The Evil Dead“. For one, there is a book that includes satanic passages that open the door to demonic entities. Another similarity is the use of the professor, who translates the book and records himself on a videotape doing so. There is even the use of a vortex that leads to another dimension, much like the climax of “Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn“. This however is not enough similarity for me to conclude that “The Evil Dead” is a ripoff of “Equinox”, but this flick did debut 9 years prior to “The Evil Dead”, so it is definitely possible that it was influenced by this flick. You can read an interesting article from Icons of Fright on big films that share plot similarities by lesser known flicks before the big film’s time at http://iconsoffright.com/news/2008/07/teds_top_10_thought_they_were.html
What really made this flick a fun watch was it’s storyline its cheezyness. The story was an interesting one, especially given this flick was released in 1970, although it’s first draft was completed in 1967. I liked all of the different elements thrown into this film’s plot, especially the demon resurrecting some giant creatures to go out and retrieve the book for him. Of course because this flick is a very low budget cheezefest we are given some awesome claymation scenes for the creatures, and actually get a claymation death of one of the film’s characters. AWESOME! The direction and dialogue are ridiculously cheezy, but with this type of film it is absolutely accepted and in all honestly…required for this type of film to succeed.
I don’t have any major complaints for this film mainly because I simply took it in for what it is. I don’t think this film really could have been any better with what it had, so there really isn’t anything I can knock it for.
Overall, this is an awesome cult classic horror film that I recommend to all fans of The Evil Dead and demon-oriented films. This flick is fun, cheezy, and is a fun watch all the way through.