Newcastle director Paul W S Anderson had made a splash with his controversial 1994 debut film ‘Shopping’ that saw the Daily Mail go ballistic perceiving it as a celebration of joy riding. But the film’s success /notoriety got him the gig to direct ‘Mortal Kombat’ one of the first film adaptations of a video game and was a huge success also. But it was his next film that would show him able to helm big budget spectacle, the film was Event Horizon a sci-fi /horror genre mash up. Set in 2047 aboard the ‘Lewis & Clarke’ where a group of astronauts are on a mission to discover what happened to the starship the Event Horizon that had disappeared several years previously on its maiden voyage and to salvage it.
The film had a great cast led by Sam Neill still hot off the phenomenal success of Jurassic Park. The cast also included Laurence Fishburne, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee & Kathleen Quinlan in a film that would fully earn its 18 certificate as the films horrors unfolded in graphic style. Pitched as ‘the Shining in Space’ by writer Phillip Eisner he wrote the script whilst still getting over a family tragedy and the project helped him get through a period of writer’s block. Running at over 2 hours the studio wanted it shorter and the violence toned down. Toned far down. Much of this came from the ships video log – a truly disturbing vision of Hell inspired by the deeply disturbing imagery in the paintings of Hieronymous Bosch. Featuring a violent orgy the footage included amputees, porn stars in grotesque and bloody prosthetic make up. It was little surprise that the studio execs baulked at what they saw.
The studio had a gap in their release schedule and Anderson was offered the job on the proviso that the film was ready for a Summer release date but this would be a tremendously involved shoot with elaborate sets and visual effects to match and the short amount of time left to shoot and produce this meant several designers turned down the job. That said the production design by Joseph Bennett is impressive having found a crew that could complete the set building within matter of weeks. Equally the post production edit was ironically cut in order to meet the release date and Anderson admitted later years that having to cut the film down further under studio orders meant he probably cut more than he should have done.
The film was released on August 22nd 1997 but audiences did not take to the film with it earning a paltry $26m worldwide but the studio would very quickly realized that thy had a film that had not been marketed anywhere near as well it should when the original home release of the film saw impressive sales and Event Horizon with the film quickly acquiring a cult following, and the rumours of a director’s cut soon began circulating when the stories began to surface of just how much had been cut. 25 years later the film now finally gets the treatment it deserved with an excellent array of extras that include:
- Commentary by Director Paul W.S. Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt • THE MAKING OF EVENT HORIZON– 5 DOCUMENTARIES • THE POINT OF NO RETURN: The Filming of Event Horizon with Director Commentary • Secrets with Selectable Director Commentary • THE UNSEEN EVENT HORIZON with Director Commentary • Theatrical Trailer • Video Trailer
It makes this an essential buy for both long time fans of the film as well as those new to it and gives an insight into just what the film could, and should, have been if the studio had just held their nerve and not released Event Horizon before it was really ready. Paul W S Anderson has taken his fair share of flack over the years from usually over protective genre fans but Event Horizon was and is one of his best films and this collectors edition goes some way to restoring it to its intended glory
Here’s the Event Horizon trailer…….
EVENT HORIZON 4K ULTRA HD™ + BLU-RAY™ COLLECTOR’S EDITION STEELBOOK® IS RELEASED ON 8TH AUGUST 2022