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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), joined forces with a group of talented young filmmakers to create 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