CREEPY CLASSICS presents...
Every weekend we're watching movies together...whether you're in Pennsylvania USA, or Sydney Australia. It's a throwback! Back to the days when you had the anticipation for waiting till the weekend to see the classic horror or science fiction film that was listed in the TV Guide. The plan is to watch a movie at 7:30PM on Saturday night in your own time zone. Or, if you can't Saturday night...anytime during the weekend. Then, we'll all get together and e-mail our thoughts on the film...a few paragraphs...or simply a sentence if you'd like. They after-viewing reviews appear on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.
Concept submitted by Mike Adams of Cartaret, New Jeresey.
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Creepy Classics Spotlight Movie Last Weekend - EQUINOX (1971)
Every week, readers here are selecting a movie to view...then we all try to watch it together utilizing our DVD/video library. This past Saturday night, many of us watched EQUINOX (1971). This was suggested by Kevin Coon, Twin Falls, Idaho. Details about movie nights to come are HERE. Please include your name and location after your comments, so we can see how we're all joining together from diffeent locals around the globe! Let's all Synch-Up Saturday nights at 7:30PM, or catch this week's movie sometime over the weekend!
Well, for me there's a history on seeing this movie for the first time. I had heard about it from the pages of Famous Monsters magazine back on 1970-1971. Finally, there was an ad for it in our local newsspaper! EQUINOX! But it had an "M" rating! For those of you too young to remember....the "M" rating was like a PG-13 before "PG" existed. It was between a "GP" and an "R." This was going to be a tough sell to get to go and see it as I was only twelve at the time. Well after much pleading with my mom, explaining how much the big ape monster in the newspaper ad was just like King Kong. Well, she relented and I got to go with a bunch of buddies of mine.
Turns out, that I found most of the weird Ranger story (which was added to the original film by Jack Harris) a bit strange. But, hey there were the big monsters and the flying devil....and the slamming shock ending.
Super low budget...but inspiring for kids that want to make movies as this was basically made by teenagers that had worked on it for years. They got it sold to Jack Harris (THE BLOB) for distribution. Harris added the Ranger as Satan scenes....no doubt earning it that "M" rating. THis kids went on to big thing...Dennis Murin works in George Lucas' special effects department - ILM.
It was fun watching it again, as the torment of fellow viewer Bob Pellegrino this past Saturday night. Sorry Bob.
-Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA
Welcome to my commentary on my third lifetime viewing of this film. I saw it a couple of times on Creature Features as a kid, and not too long ago I saw the Criterion version.
This film is an interesting bit of history. A group of Harryhausen fans like me set out to make a cool movie in their spare time with their spare cash, and they did good. From this start came some of the great sfx technicians of our time.
I will be commenting on the long version of the film, as that is what I saw when I was a kid. If you don't have the Criterion version with its extras disks, I highly recommend getting it (from Creepy Classics!) because the original version, commentaries and extras are very interesting.
Above: The many faces of Frank Bonner. L to R: Normal, Possessed, freaked out doppleganger, and....worst of all as Radio Salesman!
So here we go, with EQUINOX.
Opening reminds me of George Pal's Time Machine...not much to do with the movie though.
Strange film, cool effects, cheesy but fun, rarely boring. Watch the original version before Jack Harris "fixed" it. When you realize its history (listen to the commentary), it is quite interesting.
See you next week for the George Pal classic, When World's Collide, presented by my Bash buddy Malcolm Gittens!
-Klen Blose, Mexico
One of my 5 favorite movies of all time, this little $6500 gem is about 4 students who stumble upon a book of evil and witchcraft and end up fighting for their lives in a forest against a horde of demon monsters brought to life by Satan himself.
Kevin Coon, Twin Falls, ID
Again I took you'r advice and watched the movie you suggested and of couarse it's one of the most unusual movies - Equinox. Now there's movies that are five day wonders, or ten day wonders but this movie is a five year wonder. The movie, in a way, is far ahead of it's time. Not only is it a tribute to Ray Harryhausen and Willas O Brian, but looking at it again I see other elements in this movie, for instence the Evil Dead and if those four medaling teenagers had a dog Scooby Doo! however the film makers said they were inspired by the movie curse of the demon also known as night of the demon starring Dana Andrews. The highlight of thee film is the monsters which of course are done using old fashion stop motion.
The movie was also very inovative with other effects in the film such as old fashion effects like the blue giant. Unfortunatly I never saw the film theatrically. I don't like theater release though. I coudn't stand the ranger. I know they had to make the film a little racy with a scene that almost turned into a rape scene. I enjoyed the original version better. It was also great to see Jim Danford in a little part sadly he didn't do any animation. The animation effects were done by Dave Allen who also built the models. In closing I would like to say that I know they don't use stop motion in big movies any more, which is sad considering all the advancements in the field of stop motion but it has always been this way. Most producers and directors don't like to use stop motion, either they have no control, or don't understand it. Most directors and producers want the monsters in front of them so they can have more control. Thats why I was real surprised that most of the movies made in the 50's using stop motion were done by Ray harryhausan.
Perhaps one of these days someone will use a stop motion monster and really surprise the fans. The sad part is that most pepole don't know what stop morion is and would probaly think that it's cgi.
Best wishes, Mike Aguilar, AZ
Hello Ron, Greg here, watched Equinox on Saturday nite,,,Excellent, I watched it months ago, and enjoyed it just as much this time, definitely a twice a year movie, I love stop motion but the oger was the best,,Thanks,,
-Greg Jackson, Ohio
In the 1980s it was released on VHS as "THE BEAST."
Here are my thoughts and observations on The Equinox...A Journey Into The Supernatural and the re-shot Equinox.
Hey Ron and the rest of the gang, just watched "Equinox" for the 3rd time in the past 2 weeks! ---Boy, this low-budget wonder of student/movie fan filmmaking sure brings back alot of wonderful childhood memories for me! - I distinctly remember catching this eerie film on WJW TV-8`s "UP ALL NIGHT" movie show at 2:00 A.M. in the early hours of Saturday morning "back in the good old days" - I.E. (back in 1979 when I was 12 years old!)- Later "The Big Chuck and Little John Show" would show it a few times as well, I believe!
Watching this movie as a kid, and now watching it as a grown-up adult I can see both the charm, ingenuity, passion and innocence that this production has as well as the inherent flaws and (sometimes) poor dialogue as well as choppy editing and amateurish acting that it exhibits as well! The Special effects of this one really do shine through though and stand the test of time- in my opinion the script/story of this film and the stop-motion monsters (including that AWESOME winged demon creature that attacks our last surviving couple in the cemetary) are the REAL strength of this movie! - It sure is amazing to think that Dennis Muren (the director of the original cut) would go on to greater fame working with George Lucas and Steven Speilberg on the immortal "Star Wars" and "Jurassic Park" series respectively! Providing Inspiration for all future young filmmakers indeed! Think about it folks, without "Equinox" there may not have been a "Stars Wars" or "Jurrasic Park" This shows how important this film is in the history/annals of horror/sci-fi/fantasy movie history. Of course, the wonderful talents and hard work of Jim Danforth, the late, great David Allen (1944-1999), Mark McGee and the late Truman Fisher should be remembered and honored as well.
This film was a true labor of love for these young group of kids who grew up loving "King Kong" "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" "Night Of The Demon" and all of the classic Ray Harryhausen fantasy films.By making this film and it ultimately standing the test of time, it has inspired countless other fans to take up the lens and say "I CAN DO IT" --As far as the film itself- for a low-budget feature made by a bunch of teenagers who were innocent beyond their years- this movie sure exhibits some REALLY dark,disturbing and scary scenes/imagery (No matter which version you watch)- Although Jack Wood`s version DEFINITELY has some darker themes come more to the forefront in it (like more commentary about that evil book and it`s uses and that gruesome,nasty scene between Asmodeus, the park ranger (really the Devil in disguise) and Susan Turner.
Alert: "Spoiler" in the next paragraph.
The Music is really creepy as well and unsettled me when I was a kid (especially over those opening credits when that clock is shown and the gears are turning around) Lastly, how about that CREEPY, UNSETTLING ending?! You Just know that David is in real, deep trouble without his cross when you see the possessed Susan walk up to the entrance of the hospital! "MY CROSS" "GIVE ME MY CROSS"
My rating(s) for this fun film: The Original Cut: 3.25/5 stars The Jack Woods version: 3.5/5 stars------Dan Brenneis-Strongsville,Ohio-Monster Bash Staff Member And LifeTime FilmFan Extroadinairre. .
This movie was always a Holly Grail for me ever since I read about it in FM. But for years the only place you were able to see it was late at night on a Friday or Saturday, usually between the hours of 12am-4am. Then it would take 2 1/2 hours to watch it because you would get ten minutes of movie, then ten minutes of commercials. Thank goodness for the folks at Criterion for finally putting it on DVD.
Just a great movie all around especially the stop motion action and the good old Bronson Canyon.. You can see that these guys were fans of Ray Harryhausen and even more special when you know that they went on to help make Star Wars. Its funny to see Frank Bonner in any other role than the one he played on WKRP Cincinnati and you also find out on the special features that Barbara Hewitt is the step mother for the lead singer of Incubus. How appropriate.
I showed the movie to my kids and their friends and they love it. My one son's friend said it was the sceariest movie he ever saw. Made me feel good. Talk to you guys later.
You can get the DVD of EQUINOX (1971) in the Complete DVD Catalog on-line at Creepy Classics. This edition from Criterion includes a book and th original version of the film with more monster scenes and loads of extras that include Forrest J Ackerman back during initial filming.