Friends, if I told you to name the title of a movie based on the following plot description, what movie would you guess?
Plot: A group of teenagers spend a weekend in the wilderness and unwittingly release a plethora of stop-motion monsters after discovering an ancient text.
Your answer would likely be EVIL DEAD. Not the wrong answer, per se, but what if I told you I was thinking of a different film?
This brings me to EQUINOX, the 1970 thriller directed by effects artist Dennis Muren and Jack Woods. It features award-winning horror/science fiction author, Fritz Leiber in a role and has been praised by none other than George Lucas and the master of stop-motion effects himself, Ray Harryhausen.
Made on a meager budget of six thousand dollars, Muren and Woods get the most out of every penny. The monsters are sophisticated and have that classical look that is sorely absent in today’s world of digital effects. The story unravels nicely as more elements of the threat are revealed. It’s influence on EVIL DEAD is apparent throughout its story and imagery. And it’s just a fun film to watch. Apparently the folks at Criterion agree with me, because they released it on DVD as part of their collection.
It consistently appears on lists of great unknown horror movies and since it’s out there on Hulu Plus, maybe one day it will be considered a staple by the wider horror audience.