Wednesday, August 23, 2006



Dir: Jack Woods (only film)

When Criterion talks, I listen.

This release is testament to that company's dedication to cinema. Equinox is essentially a backyard monster movie from a bunch of teenagers. Now, one of the those teenagers was Dennis Muren, who would goi on to be the greatest special effects man of all time. Star Wars, ET, Return of the Jedi, Young Sherlock Holmes, The Abyss, T2, Jurassic Park, Twister, AI, Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, War of the Worlds, even Willow!

Let's get everything but the effects out of the way. This film looks like it was filmed by a bunch of teenagers in their back yard (coincidence?). The acting, sets, direction, editing, and writing are all tragic. We are talking Village of the Giants bad, Teenagers from Outer Space Bad. And the plot has something to do with Satan, but Satan is a park ranger who seems hopelessly bad at killing people.

This movie has acheived cult status, and Criterion's homage, because of the monsters. Severalkmonster scenes look as good as anything in a Hercules or Sinbad movie. Now, I'm not saying it looks great, but you do have to marvel at what was possible from amatuers with commercially available technology. The spirit of homemade moviemaking is here, and even amidst the painful aspects of the film there is a sense of wonder at the medium.
Juxtaposed to their other cinematic talents, the special effects here seem mercurial. It is difficult not to be attracted to that kind of model making (who didn't like Clash of the Titans?). In a time of cinematic experimentation, when technology was finally available to let the masses create their own movies (pre-internet youtube), this aspect of film deserves recognition as an examplar of folk art.

The movie is only of interest to devoted monster movie buffs, Criterion completists, or those interested in the history of special effects. It is not worth your time, expect to say that you have seen it, and maybe to reconnect with the mass appeal of the medium.



Blogger ronvon2 noted on 8/23/2006 01:24:00 PM that...

I was curious about this film, even considered picking it up. But it sounds like a rental.

You on a monster kick?  

Blogger paroske noted on 8/23/2006 03:33:00 PM that...

Rental definitely. I am always looking for monsters.