Equinox (1970) October 16th, 2020
Testing positive for Covid-19 last October briefly forced my wife and I to quarantine in different houses. Enduring this inconvenience was aggravating for all the expected reasons associated with Covid-19 but I found its interruption of our October horror movie marathon month uniquely irritating. We had so many plans, we were going to watch one installment of the big three 80’s slasher franchises (Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street), 3D horror films like The Bubble on our 86″ 3DTV, both House and House… it was a dream too good to be true. What were we to do? We couldn’t watch the movies without each other like a homework assignment and we couldn’t be together until I tested negative or worse… we both test positive.
Our salvation came thanks to the good people at Janus Films and HBO Max. See, the Criterion Channel is amazing and we could’ve had a great time binging through their seasonal horror catalog but they don’t have an app on the Playstation 4 which we both had in our respective isolation. HBO Max does however have a Turner Classic Movie hub that feature many films with the Janus Films logo before the feature presentation. We began calling each other on the phone like teenagers, talking for hours while watching synchronized horror movies together courtesy of our favorite streaming services.
One of the films available on HBO Max with the Janus Films title card was the 1970 independent film Equinox. I knew the Criterion Collection had pressed a DVD release of Equinox but I knew precious little else wise. This little homemade movie is pure filmmaking moxie. Like the great guerrilla films that came after, Equinox is a movie that refused to not be made. Its rough-around-the-edges, amateurish, and pure creativity. It exists in the same echelon of films like Clerks, Napoleon Dynamite, and Evil Dead born in violent defiance of non-existence.
I don’t recommend watching Equinox for the group-of-college-students-picnic-plan- give-way-to-a-series-of-reality-challenging-events story. Watch Equinox for the budding special effects talents of Dennis Muren who would go on to pioneer the VFX field with his work on Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and another little-known low-budget masterpiece titled Star Wars. Watch Equinox for the stop-motion talents of David Allen whose work would eventually contribute to the success of The Howling, Willow, and yeah… Prehysteria!. Watch Equinox for the nascent matte painting talents of Jim Danforth (prepare yourself for another resumé) who would eventually paint on the frames of The NeverEnding Story, The Ewok Adventure, and The Thing. Watch Equinox because it’s a time machine that gives the audience a look into the Industrial Light and Magic nursery.
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