I remember seeing this movie on a double bill at the old Olympia Theater in my hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was the main attraction, while the second feature was a little black and white zombie opus by some guy named George Romero. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was the title. Romero’s film has since been hailed as a modern day horror classic, endlessly written about, analyzed and overanalyzed. EQUINOX has pretty much faded into well-deserved obscurity.
A reporter is doing a follow up story on a strange, year old occurrence. He visits with David, a mental patient who attacks him. The head psych doctor plays him a tape of David’s taped interview, and the bizarre tale is told in flashback. Seems geology Professor Waterman (sci-fi/fantasy writer Fritz Leiber) has discovered something rather unusual and sent for David. He brings along his pal Jim and two girls. They go to Waterman’s cabin and discover it’s imploded. Park Ranger Asmodeus (what an odd name) tells the kids he hasn’t seen the prof, so they decide to have a picnic! They see a castle sitting on top of a hill (wha?) and then hear some cackling coming from a cave. Making some makeshift torches (everything in EQUINOX seems makeshift to me), they go in and find an old man, who gives them “the book”. It “smells like rotten eggs…sulfuric” (hmmm…) and contains weird writing and symbols. David starts reading a part written in Latin, which one of the girls recognizes as The Lord’s Prayer backwards (wonder what that could mean!) Waterman pops out of nowhere and snatches the book. The guys chase the old scholar, who apparently drops dead. When they return to the body, it’s gone.
The rest of the movie features the kids figuring out the mystery of the book (it’s a demonic bible), discovering Asmodeus is really SATAN, fighting some silly looking demons, and entering another dimension. There’s a (not so) surprise ending after the tape runs out, and a big question mark after the words THE END appear onscreen (how original is that).
EQUINOX is on most worst movie lists, including mine. I enjoy bad films as much as the next guy, but EQUINOX is pretty dreary. Kind of a precursor to those lame “found footage” horrors prevalent today, with a tape recorder instead of video. None of the cast went on to do much of anything except Frank Boers Jr, who changed his name (do you blame him?) to Frank Bonner and became a regular on WKRP IN CINCINNATI. Writer/director Jack Woods plays Asmodeus, so he should’ve known better. Woods had more success as a sound editor on films like STAR TREK III & VI. If you have an urge to watch this amateurish crapfest , I suggested you grab your worn-out copy of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD instead, and let EQUINOX fade back into obscurity.