Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Equinox: On DVD At Last

The 1970 low-budget, high-creativity film Equinox was a staple of the San Francisco and Sacramento area Creature Features show with the legendary Bob Wilkins. Several years ago I bought a grainy VHS dub, which reminded me a bit of watching Creatures Features on a little TV with the rabbit ears antenna.

Now you can get it on DVD, complete with extras including the original film (with commentary), before it was edited and partially re-shot by the theatrical distributor.

Producer/Director/Special Effects guru Dennis Muren, along with writer and co-director Mark McGee and special effects man Jim Danforth, provides self-effacing commentary, explaining that they were only teenagers at the time they made the original film (1965-1967). During the filming, they realized that their script wasn't nearly long enough, so they added all sorts of padding scenes. Looking back on the film today, Muren notes that they didn't know anything about directing actors either.

Equinox is most famous for its stop animation work and camera tricks, which caught the eye of producer Jack Harris, who bought the film and reworked it for realease. The film is also pioneering in its use of front projection, putting the actors and the animated monsters on screen together. Muren later worked on a little project called Star Wars, and Danforth and McGee also have long film resumes.

While the continuity problems, dialogue and some of the acting are negatives (for some), the animation and effects are well-crafted. While the film cost only $6500 to make, you can't put a price tag on the thousands of hours put into the creative elements of this film.

No comments: