Horror Month Day 21: Event Horizon

Jon is the editor of doubledumbassonyou.com, your destination in the Alpha Quadrant for nerd news, nostalgia, and colorful metaphors. You can follow him on Twitter @doubledumbass or Instagram @dbldumbass. He writes about Event Horizon.

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Years before Paul W.S. Anderson was forcing Resident Evil sequels upon the movie-going public he directed a science fiction horror film called Event Horizon which channeled inspiration from films like Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Hellraiser.

Event Horizon poster

It is the year 2047 and the crew of the rescue ship Lewis & Clark answer a distress call for an experimental spacecraft, the Event Horizon, that had gone missing seven years prior. It has mysteriously reappeared in orbit around Neptune and it seems as though no one is aboard, with all attempts to contact it going unanswered.

The Event Horizon had an experimental faster than light drive which was meant to revolutionize interstellar travel. Upon making contact with the Event Horizon it is evident that something horrible befell the crew and all indicators point to the experimental engine which appears to have been successful in its design, but not in its destination. While investigating the circumstances of the crew’s disappearance it appears that the Event Horizon slipped outside of the ‘known universe’ when it engaged its engine and ventured into Hell. What makes matters worse for our rescuers is that this experimental engine is now sentient and is malevolently preying on the fears of the crew of the Lewis & Clark. As the tension builds through the second act, Event Horizon moves from a standard science fiction premise to intense and unsettling body horror as the crew of the Lewis & Clark are doing battle with pure evil.

Event Horizon's Sam Neill

Since it’s release in 1997, Event Horizon has developed a relative cult status. For years fans have been begging for an authoritative Director’s Cut of the film that would restore approximately 20 minutes of graphic violence and sexual imagery that was on the Event Horizon’s video log. As recently as last year some high quality stills made their way onto the Internet from the “Visions of Hell” sequence which indicated how truly gruesome the intended cut of Event Horizon could have been.

Event Horizon was widely panned by critics for failing to expand on its promising concept and eventually succumbing to traditional horror tropes by the film’s bloody climax. Paramount Studios went on to lose $20 million on the film all but guaranteeing the film’s status as a science fiction bastard and cult favorite.

  • Lamar the Revenger

    Love this movie.