• 电影名称 Equinox

  • ——It was a peaceful mountain retreat until IT came home...
  • 中文名称 黎明前的野兽
  •  类型  恐怖 / 冒险 / 悬疑
  •  国家  美国
  •  语言  英语
  •  时长  1 hr 20 min (80 min)
  • 上映时间 October 1970 (USA)

THE EQUINOX…A JOURNEY INTO THE SUPERNATURAL (Dennis Muren and Marc McGee, 1967) **1/2

{This review includes comments on EQUINOX (Jack Woods, 1970) **1/2}

When this was first announced as a Criterion release, I was onlyvaguely familiar with it; I purchased the 2-Disc Set recently (as itwas on sale) without really knowing what to expect; the result iscertainly interesting – especially having two versions of the film tocompare…even if it doesn't quite belong in the "Collection".

Originally made in 1967, THE EQUINOX…A JOURNEY INTO THE SUPERNATURAL isbasically a 70-minute home movie – amateurish if clearly made byfanatics of the horror genre, talented enough to create their ownmonsters (which aren't too bad into the bargain)! When the film waseventually picked up for release by Jack H. Harris, he ordered severalreshoots, changed the order of scenes around, tightened some others,replaced a lot of the dialogue, etc. – this didn't necessarily make fora better film (in fact, I think that the original is still the superioreffort) but, at least, it now felt like a proper movie!

What the theatrical version did, primarily and ultimately to itsdetriment, was to eliminate a lot of the surprise which the originalheld – for instance, the figure of the demon towering over the hero atthe very start of the 1967 version is missing from thetheatrical-release print; similarly, we're shown the driverless carwhich mows him down prior to the accident. Also, the revelation thatthe demon is taking possession of the characters (having alreadyestablished that this is what caused the Professor and the hero's blinddate to go crazy momentarily in the re-edited version) takes away fromthe scene in which his best friend is likewise 'afflicted'; and, again,the impact of the twist ending is lessened when we already know thatSusan is capable of evil.

The teenage leads are likable enough to overcome their essentialinexperience; popular horror writer Fritz Leiber appears as theobsessive Professor who unwittingly unleashes the Forces of Darkness inthe wilderness; in the 1967 version, we also get to hear the voice ofhorror/sci-fi authority Forrest J. Ackerman (who, then, appears on theDVD for a special introduction). The one major addition to the castlist for the 1970 version is, ironically, the character played by there-shoots director himself – a creepy-looking Ranger with the equallystrange name of Asmodeus (as it turns out, one of the devil's variousmonikers!). While he was, perhaps, intended to beef up the picture'sscare factor (even attempting to rape the two girls), it's really apointless role and basically represents a distraction from the centralnarrative (which deals naively with the eternal struggle between Goodand Evil, as shown in an ancient tome kept by a crazy old man livinginside a cave – and which involves much religious symbolism and aninvisible barrier leading into the netherworld)!

Finally, we get to the special effects: they're very primitively doneand a couple of the creatures (the squid and the giant native) aren'tvery effective but the ape-like monster and the demon are quitemarvelously designed and one isn't overly bothered by the essentiallack of refinement in the stop-motion animation involved.Unfortunately, the print utilized for the transfer of the 1967 versionis very poor – with a number of shots being several generations removedfrom the already substandard master and lip-synch problems during afair chunk of the duration (attributable certainly to its rarity, butwhich also adds to the inherent charm of its rough-and-ready quality)!
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