Summer Weekend Review: “Equinox” (1967, 1970)

In case you haven’t heard, September 23, 2015 is the latest date when a subset of religious fundamentalists, conspiracy theorists, and Youtube buffoons insist absolutely, positively, the world will end! You know, just like it did in December 2012 and January 2000 and all those other prophetic dates.

Spoiler: there’s no reason to believe the world will end that day. However, September 23 will mark the autumnal equinox, and so, for this Summer Weekend Review, we’re discussing you Equinox. Made by college students for $6500.00 in 1967, it became a cult hit, and its creators were given time and money to film new sequences, stretching the movie to feature-length and gaining it wider distribution. Rereleased in 1970, the film influenced such people as George Lucas, Richard O’Brien, and Sam Raimi, received praise from Ray Harryhausen, and features cameos by Fritz Leiber and Forrest J. Ackerman.

Title: Equinox

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by Jack Woods, Mark Thomas McGee, Dennis Murran
Written by Jack Woods, Mark Thomas McGee

Edward Connell as David Fielding
Barbara Hewitt as Susan Turner
Frank Bonner as Jim Hudson
Robin Christopher as Vicki
Jack Woods as Asmodeus
James Phillips as Reporter Sloan
Fritz Leiber as Dr. Arthur Waterman
Forrest J. Ackerman as Doctor on tape

Special Effects by David Allen, Jim Danforth, Dennis Muren, Ralph Rodine, David Stipes


A group of young people seek a reclusive professor whose discovery of a Necronomiconesque tome unleashes demonic forces.

High Point:

The film exists as a fun if dated example of how to make an interesting fantasy film with very little money.

Low Points

David suddenly recalls who Asmodeus is in mythology, after hearing him drop his name multiple times, and encountering strange phenomena and threatening monsters? Did he know the name or not?

They recognize Jim as Asmodeus in disguise because he’s acting wooden and unnatural. You know, the way everyone has been acting the entire film.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6

Effects: 5/6 The special effects, while clearly special effects, are oddly engaging. People see Equinox largely for its fun visuals…

Acting: 3/6 …because they certainly don’t watch it for the acting. The leads deliver stilted dialogue rather woodenly. The obligatory creepy old guy makes some amends.

Production: 4/6 The film strangely recalls an old Star Trek episode.

Story: 4/6 The story exists as an excuse to display nifty, if campy, low-budget effects. The framing sequences, part of the extended version, have been constructed with some thought, and they provide an effective, uncertain ending.

Emotional Response: 4/6

Overall: 4/6 The filmmakers crafted an unusual film, with an underlying mythology that falls somewhere between late-60s occultism and Jack Chick tracts. Regardless, if you enjoy fantasy or horror, you should see Equinox.

In total, Equinox receives 28/42.