If Equinox is truly the inspiration for Evil Dead I would not be surprised, but I’m not going to put all my chips on it. Exhumed Films showed this $6,500 budget film at their second 24 hour horror-thon and while I wasn’t there to appreciate it you can bet your pants that the crowd was rolling with laughter while trying to appreciate what a filmmaker with a pinched budget can accomplish. I suppose if you release a rather low budget film in 1970, make it for next to nothing , recoup your budget (this one better have) then you have a successful picture. How successful? Just ask the Criterion Collection. Now I realize that Criterion has the same good and bad days as everyone and has been known to accept film into its little club with some indiscretion at times. Never the less, people respect ‘em. Code word: Janus.
The film was actually made in 1967 and was titled The Equinox... A Journey into the Supernatural before it was shortened and its final release in 1970 with a more serious push toward the horror side of the tracks. It was also known as The Beast (which is as generic as calling bread Wonder). Let’s see what we’re leading you into. From the database that plays know-it-all to the film community:
“Four friends are attacked by a demon while on a picnic, due to possession of a tome of mystic information. Told in flashbacks by the sole survivor.”
I have to admit, when I read that I think Evil Dead even without Bruce Campbell or Sam Raimi or the Necronomicon (in name anyway). I suppose its better to address whether we give a rat’s ass whether Raimi did snatch a few concepts from Equinox. Answer: No. The good that has been done for society due to the release of Evil Dead and its sequels far surpasses your petty copyright claim. Moving on…
“You will not escape! In one year and one day, you will be DEAD!”
The real value of Equinox is to the indy filmmaker not the audience. It showed the world what was possible on even the smallest of small budgets. Hollywood be damned. While it has some very impressive monster effects for stop animation/claymation style that less than Harryhausen, the film does not suffer for its artistic short coming in monster design. In fact, the genius of the monsters, the originality and the ability to capture the devil or a devil or a demon clay may have been just the thing that was ever so relevant to its audience. I suppose with H.R.Pufnstuf and the popularity of LSD didn’t hurt the film’s chances of success. This picture should be doomed to a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode and lauded alongside Plan 9 from Outer Space or Manos: The Hand of Fate. I don’t think you see that comparison often if at all.
Do yourself a favor and sit through the whole movie. You might just find its your newest guilty pleasure. Exhumed Films gave this movie a chance and that means something.
-Dr. Terror vs. The Evil Dead vs Equinox
(and it's not a pre-quel... sillies)