I’m an old-school horror nerd, and am especially obsessed with Evil Dead. I’ve loved Evil Dead for over 20 years, so imagine my surprise when I recently heard, for the very first time, that Evil Dead may be a ripoff of a movie called Equinox. With an open mind, I decided to watch this movie and decide for myself.
There are some definite similarities in imagery and plot. Those similarities cannot be overlooked. Remember how in Evil Dead, the evil was represented by a traveling camera? Well, maybe that wasn’t quite as original as we’d all thought.
Thematically, both movies involve an ancient book that is read from that unleashes evil.
So maybe those things could just be coincidence, right? I mean, how original an idea is unleashing evil from a book anyway?
Oh, but there’s also flying demons that are very similar to the one in Evil Dead 2. There’s a professor who has the book and a group who stumbles upon it accidentally. There’s a necklace that is important to the plot and their salvation. There’s imagery involving clocks and reel-to-reel audio recorders. There’s even an ancient castle similar to the one that makes an appearance in Evil Dead 2.
Outside of some basic themes and imagery, there’s other similarities. Just like Evil Dead, Equinox was produced on a shoestring budget by near-amateurs with ambitious ideas. There is also an element of possession by evil, which leads the friends to lower their defenses and try to help their friends who have turned on them.
There are many differences, too. While Evil Dead is primarily demons and possession, Equinox is more monsters and the devil. Generally speaking, Equinox thinks ‘bigger’, with portals to other dimensions, evil beasts and the devil. Evil Dead keeps it simple with an unseen even force and friends turning on each other.
It’s hard to look at this movie I’ve loved forever and imagine that maybe, just maybe, it’s not as original as I’d thought it was. Overall though, I don’t care much about originality in horror movies. Zombies and slashers are my favorite sub-genres, and both of those sub-genres include very little originality. The most important part to remember is that, if Evil Dead truly did rip off Equinox, they did it in a way that improved the original. It’s lasted longer, has withstood the test of time better, and I still enjoy it even if they did take some cues from this other movie.
In short, even if it is a rip-off, who fucking cares? Evil Dead for life.