Arguably the best film Paul W.S. Anderson has made to date, 1997’s sci-fi horror tale “Event Horizon” remains an extremely gory and somewhat underrated work. The film as essentially “Hellraiser” with a sci-fi bent and boasted some excellent visuals at the time considering it was done on a relatively moderate budget.
Set in 2047, the film follows a crew of astronauts sent on a rescue mission after a missing space ship, the Event Horizon, spontaneously appears in orbit around Neptune nearly a decade after it disappeared.
Searching the ship for signs of life, the rescue crew learns that the Event Horizon was responsible for testing an experimental engine that opened a rift in the space time continuum – a doorway to another dimension that if effectively Hell.
At the time it was obviously a compromised film, one where various moments and beats had been excised. Pushed to edit the film in just four weeks, Anderson’s rough cut clocked in at 130 minutes which was then tested with bad results and reports of some test audience members fainting.
Pushed to cut down on the gore and the runtime, the final cut clocked in at just 95 minutes and had mixed reviews, but in the years since it has achieved cult status and has grown more appreciated with time.
Speaking with Crave Online as part of a Facebook Live event to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary, Anderson confirms that there has been plenty of talk about a longer ‘director’s cut’ version, but it’s not possible as the material has effectively vanished (the same problem William Friedkin has had trying to restore his original cut of “Cruising”). Anderson explains:
“There was a lot more that was shot that isn’t in the movie. But you’ll never see the messed up version because we made Event before the kind of DVD revolution. You know, DVD ushered in this era when you had to have additional footage, deleted scenes, things like that.
There was no call for that back when we were just doing VHS cassettes and LaserDiscs. So the material just wasn’t archived very well, and since the movie became a big cult classic, Paramount has asked us to come back in and do different versions and we looked for the material, and it just doesn’t exist.”
Anderson adds that lost footage has shown up before in unusual places, to it’s possible that the missing “Event Horizon” scenes will one day show up.
Known deleted scenes include more exposition about the ship, more backstory for Cooper and Justin, more for the relationship between Starck and Miller, more explanations about the gateway, and a scene in which Weir hallucinates that Justin turns into his wife Claire.
The most notable cut though, a scene which remains only in fragments in the film as video logs of the EH’s crew going mad, is what has been dubbed the ‘bloody orgy’ scene partly filmed by second unit director Vadim Jean.
A combination of real-life amputees, accident victims, porn actors, and a ton of special effects make-up was used to render gruesome scenes of mutilation far more graphic than the already extreme stuff seen in the film.