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Equinox (The Criterion Collection)

52 customer reviews

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(Jun 20, 2006)
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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Before he took you to a galaxy far, far away, before he brought you face-to-face with living, breathing prehistoric beasts, Dennis Muren, the future eight-time Oscar-winning visual effects artist (Star Wars, Jurassic Park), created an homage to the creature features of yore in the eerie monster mash Equinox. Deep within the woods and canyons of California, four teenagers happen upon an ancient book containing the secrets of a strange, malevolent world that coexists with that of mankind. This $6,500-budget wonder was picked up for distribution by producer Jack H. Harris (The Blob), who shot new footage for the film with writer-director Jack Woods. Since its 1970 release, Equinox has gained a passionate cult following and inspired succeeding generations of horror/fantasy filmmakers.

It is truly wondrous that Criterion selected the obscure sci-fi cult gem, Equinox, to bestow with classic status. Filmed in Bronson Canyon, Los Angeles, three teens used their college funds to make the $6500 film about four kids who stumble upon a Satanic bible with tragic consequences. David (Edward Connell), Susan (Barbara Hewitt), Jim (Frank Bonner), and Vicki (Robin Christopher) see a medieval castle, find an old man living in a cave, enter an alternate universe, and fight several monsters, including the devil, all in the course of an afternoon. In the same demonic spirit as Rosemary's Baby, released two years prior, Equinox's occult thrill factor is amplified by Harryhausen-like special effects courtesy of Dennis Muren (Star Wars, Jurassic Park). Reminiscent of King Kong and the sci-fi greats of the 50s, Equinox would be ideally viewed in a drive-in. This Criterion box set contains both the original version, titled The Equinox, and the superior 1970 remake by Jack Woods, who stars as Asmodeus, a possessed Park Ranger. An introductory film stars Forrest J. Ackerman, discussing his influential magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. A second disc includes test footage, silent takes, an interview with Dennis Muren, and the short film Zorgon: The H-Bomb Beast fron Hell. The booklet contains a critical essay about Equinox as well as introductions by George Lucas and Ray Harryhausen. This package sets Equinox in historical perspective, adding yet another dimension to a film that already takes place in several. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

  • The original, original, never-released The Equinox: Journey into the Supernatural, and the 1970 Jack H. Harris theatrical release, Equinox
  • Commentary by writer/director Jack Woods and producer Jack H. Harris on Equinox
  • Commentary by effects photographer/producer/director Dennis Muren, writer/co-director Mark McGee, and matte artist/cel animator and effects technician Jim Danforth on The Equinox: Journey into the Supernatural
  • Video introduction by Forrest J. Ackerman
  • Interviews with director Dennis Muren and actors Frank Bonner, Barbara Hewitt and James Duron
  • Deleted scenes and outtakes from the original 1967 version
  • Rare animated fairy tale The Magic Treasure by Equinox animator David Allen
  • David Allen's acclaimed "Kong" commercial for Volkswagen, including test footage
  • Short film Zorgon: The H-Bomb Beast from Hell (1972) featuring Equinox cast and crew
  • Extensive gallery featuring rare stills and promotional material
  • Trailer and radio spots
  • 32-page booklet with tributes from George Lucas and Ray Harryhausen and an essay by Brock DeShane

Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Connell, Barbara Hewitt, Frank Bonner, Robin Christopher, Jack Woods
  • Directors: Jack Woods, Dennis Muren, Mark Thomas McGee
  • Writers: Jack Woods, Mark Thomas McGee
  • Producers: Dennis Muren, Jack H. Harris
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 20, 2006
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F6IHTA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,147 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Equinox (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 95 people found the following review helpful By J. Martin on June 29, 2006
Format: DVD
Call them litmus tests. There are certain movies, TV shows, bands and books that, if you like them, make you a bit of a misfit. But, misfit or not, you LOVE them. You believe everybody should love them, but not everybody does. You want to be around other people who love them. If you try to turn other people on to these things, it goes one of two ways: A) They laugh and tell you how weird you are for liking this, or B)They love it too, and you have a friend for life.

The first reaction, unfortunately, is more common; that's the way this misfit business works. It can be heartbreaking, like the time you tried to get that happening girl to like the Cramps and she asked if you could play some Air Supply instead. But when you meet a fellow misfit? When you connect with that bent soul who understands the difference between Just Schlock and Transcendent Schlock? When you find that cute girl in the Ramones shirt who understands that three chords and lyrics about surfing are better than 50 chords and lyrics about wizards and demons? We're talking soulmate.

And speaking of demons, the new, two-disc set for "Equinox" is chock-full of 'em...and is about the best litmus test to come out this year for separating fellow misfits from the folks with whom you may need to reconsider your friendship. It's not that this is a good movie. By any reasonable standard, it's probably not good.

But "Equinox" sits among that rare class of films to which reasonable standards don't really apply, that place where good and bad collide head-on to create something that's fun, messy, amateurish, sloppy, inspiring and unforgettable all at the same time. Not everybody will like it, of course, for on the face of it, "Equinox" is nothing more than a cheap 60s horror flick. Cute girls. Bad acting.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dave C. on June 20, 2006
Format: DVD
Equinox is the story of the little film that could... and did. The story behind this film is probably far more interesting than the film itself and has been meticulously documented in both versions as released theatrically by producer Jack H. Harris and director Jack Woods and also Dennis Muren's original directorial cut The Equinox: A Journey Into the Supernatural (it's a travesty that George Lucas isn't giving both versions of his Star Wars films the same caliber of historical preservation). The fact that it was produced as a Criterion Collection release is a testament to the passion of the film makers and also its beloved fans. I never saw this film until my friend Brock DeShane, who contributed the essay included in the commemorative booklet and undoubtedly the biggest Equinox fan, showed me an old VHS copy. My immediate thought of it was pure low-budget amateur schlock, but as I watched it, I began to see the film's unique charm. It is Home Movie-making 101 at its finest and it was a film made by innocent and naive kids who were inspired by the legendary stop-motion special effects magic of pioneers Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen.

The truth is, Equinox would probably have not been released on DVD, if at all, and if it eventually did would have been given the minimalist movie-only Goodtimes treatment if not for Brock's valiant efforts whose passion and persistence helped to champion this film as a first-class Criterion release. The result is nothing short of an archival tribute to those whose careers this film had launched: Dennis Muren, the visual effects wizard behind Star Wars, Terminator 2 and The Abyss and the late David Allen whose stop-motion work on The Primevals remains unreleased to this day. Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. Phillips on August 1, 2006
Format: DVD
Including Equinox in the Criterion collection is gutsy but completely in keeping with the jazzy and independent nature of that company (has anyone noticed the inclusion of the lesser Fiend without a Face or the Warhol monster films??). Many people are bemoaning the fact that some finer films have not received the Criterion treatment but Equinox does rest comfortably in the collection and not just for fans or hardcore completists. It's good to also remember that the company often allows the producers to pick their own projects that they feel passionate about to lavish their attentions on, this creates an idiosyncratic but fascinating catalogue of films.

I had never heard of Equinox before Criterion put it out (although I had seen some stills of the Taurus monster from it) and I am not a Criterion completist and I really fell for this film. I watched both versions (the original and the theatrical release a very nice extra!!) within days of each other. The movie is a crude attempt at a horror/monster film but it is made with the passion of talented hardcore fans. It hits all the cliches yet it has an irresistable naivete. I got a shiver of pleasure every time it pulled a monster or a photographic trick out of its hat (and there are a considerable number of tricks in this zero budget film that are impressive). There is a wonderful can do spirit that hangs over this film both in its amateurish acting and its ingenious effects.

The filmmakers poured all of their passions into this little film and it shows. In that way, this highly personal film is more at home in the Criterion Collection than the coldly calculated films of Michael Bay.
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