Friday, February 6, 2009

EQUINOX - Jaime Mendoza-Nava - "The Beast" (1970)

Welcome to the new Funky Friday Night Out Of Control Freak-Out! Just pay attention and nobody will get hurt! Just for kicks, we're going to venture off into the 70's for a few weeks on Fridays, and let's get it going with yet another Jack H. Harris Überclassic, from the year 1970, "Equinox"!!!!

Kudos to Bolivian composer Jaime Mendoza-Nava for an outstanding soundtrack! The music playing on the radio in the car is beyond classic sleaze! This film was also released under the title "The Beast" and used the voices of our hero, Forrest J. Ackerman, Chuck Niles of "Teenage Zombies" fame, and also had 8 time Hugo award winning Science Fiction writer Fritz Leiber Jr. in it. What other movie can make those claims?

This young man is David Fielding played by Edward Connell in his first acting role!

Sound man Jack Woods has his only acting job ever here as Asmodeus, or as he is also known, "The Boss!" Did I mention that Jack Woods also wrote and directed this film?

Then Cinematographer Mike Hoover starts throwing this stuff at you!

I'm sure all you TV freaks out there recognised the voice of Herb Tarlek, that crazy plaid pants salesman in 89 episodes of "WKRP In Cincinnati" from 1978-1982 played by the fabulous Frank Bonner here in his first credited film role!

When you first see "Equinox" all you can think is how bad it looks compared to something like Harryhausen's "The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad," but in retrospect, this movie really isn't half bad!!!

The Boss comes back to finish up some business!

I can't figure out why David keeps calling out for some guy named Mike Ross! I don't see any other reference to a Mike Ross anywhere else in the film or in the credits! Very Freakish!

Now you can see why this was also Edward Connell's only and last film role!!

I've got two words for you, it's that simple! "Equinox" Rocks, and that's why we're here! Raise your freak flag high!


Douglas McEwan said...

Jack Woods did not write and direct EQUINOX. It was written by Mark Thomas McGee and directed by Dennis Muren, who went on to win 9 Oscars for special effects. (Dennis also did all the stop-motion animation in it.)

For three or four years they tried to find someone to release it, until Jack Woods finally bought it. Woods wrote a handful of new scenes, and directed those scenes ONLY, for which the cast was reassembled. This is why the heroine has real hair in some scenes and is clearly wearing a wig in other scenes. The cast were all four years older, and she had changed her hair color. Then Woods gave himself credit for writing and directing all of it.

Criterion has released a two-disc DVD of it with both the released Jack Woods version, and the MUCH-BETTER original version. (The "Mike Ross" shout-outs make sense in the original.)

I had friends who worked on it and the big green, non-animated giant above is my old friend Jim Duron. I visited the effects set (Muren's parents' garage) while it was being made.

When it was released, I saw it in a drive-in with Jim Duron, who could not convince the ticket taker that he was the green giant in the movie, so we paid.

Jim Danforth plays a small role in it, and David Allen built the animation monsters which Muren animated. I carried that flying winged demon model on my lap in the car as we took it from Allen's home in Orange Country, to Muren's home 40 miles away to be animated.

Te last time I ever saw Forry alive was at a screening of EQUINOX at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood accompanying the Criterion DVD relase in 2006.

Eegah!! said...

Now THAT's a comment! Thanx for the info Douglas! Must have been a lot of fun!!

Douglas McEwan said...

'Twas indeed fun. The biggest thrill of the day at Dennis's garage-animation studio was that Jim Danforth had possession of the remaining King Kong Armature (Now in the Bob Burns collection), and he was storing it then at Muren's home to hide it from theives on its trail, and I got to spend the afternoon holding the actual King Kong himself in my own hands. It was the greatest meeting of a celebrity in my whole life. I was 15at the time.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

I take my last comment back, now THIS ONE is Really a comment!

Monster Music

Monster Music
AAARRGGHHH!!!! Ya'll Come On Back Now, Y'Hear??