For a film like this, a review really wouldn’t be necessary, but I just couldn’t pass on the chance to spread the word.
Equinox was originally a short film by Dennis Muren (future Oscar-winning visual-effects artist) entitled The Equinox…A Journey into the Supernatural that was picked up for distribution by Jack H. Harris. Harris and Jack Woods shot additional footage to bring the movie to full feature length. The end result is easily the crappiest movie I’ve ever seen that actually isn’t crappy. The movie was made with only $6500; a shoestring budget, entirely. Even with that budget, the film still has good (enough) acting and very good special effects (for a film with barely a budget). As far as low budget horror films go, this one is surprisingly good.
The story concerns a group of friends (or are they college students? I honestly don’t know) who go into the woods to meet up with a professor (who is a friend of one of the characters). They try to find him, but only find his destroyed cabin, a creepy old man living in a cave, an old book, and a strange park ranger by the name of Asmodeus. Throughout the film (which, as you might guess, isn’t very long) strange things happen, which include the discovery of another dimension and fights with monsters. The film is not a gore fest and crazy odd things aren’t always happening, but, for whatever reason, I was never really bored; I was actually entertained when the characters were merely interacting.
As aforementioned, the special effects in this film are quite impressive — and sometimes hilarious. As you might expect, the film uses stop motion animation to make (most) of these monsters come alive, but the film also uses neat camera tricks to achieve its goals. It may be low budget, but it still manages to look as professional as it possibly can. Since the film is old and easily a midnight movie, the print of the film is not perfect, but it sure is a great restoration (thanks to the boys and girls at Criterion Collection who released the film on DVD). It should be mentioned that the original short film is on the same DVD that houses the theatrical version.
Equinox is a surprisingly good and entertaining movie that has great special effects, odd moments, surreal scenes, good (enough) acting, interesting enough characters, awesome monsters, and an overall midnight low budget cult B-movie atmosphere and feel. Whether you’re into these types of movies or not, I’d still suggest you give Equinox a watch.