SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Equinox

“A first feature says a lot about a filmmaker. That’s certainly the case with ‘Equinox’ and Dennis Muren. The film is a great showcase for his remarkable creativity, ingenuity and determination.” — George Lucas

We’re kicking off this road trip through The United States of Horror with one of the great unsung SoCal journeys into the supernatural. Before SFX guru Dennis Muren became known for Star Wars, T2 and Jurassic Park, he was a Pasadena City College student desperate to make a monster movie in the Harryhausen tradition. The results of his years-long labor: an unabashed homage to classic monster films, which would in turn become a favorite of fledgling filmmakers, and would share many off-the-wall similarities with its later spiritual cousin The Evil Dead. Watch in terror as four goofy teens (including a young Frank Bonner of WKRP in Cincinnati) uncover an ancient book of evil secrets while picnicking in Bronson Canyon, unleashing a villainous park ranger named Asmodeus, a slobbering green behemoth and a Lovecraftian vision of Satan himself! Brimming with effective visuals that outdo the efforts of many Hollywood films of the era (courtesy of stop-motion whiz kids David W. Allen and Jim Danforth), Equinox is beginners’ filmmaking at its unbridled, enthusiastic best.
Dirs. Dennis Muren & Jack Woods, 1970, 35mm, 80 min.