Event Horizon

Event Horizon (1997)
Paul W.S. Anderson

When hearing the combination horror and science fiction, probably the first movie that comes to mind would be Alien. Event Horizon is not a movie that will come to mind easily, nor would it probably be in the Top 10 horror science fiction combinations. The movie was a total flop, and yet every time I see this movie I enjoy it. There is definitely a lot of things wrong with this movie, but it still has its charms.

Event Horizon tells the story of a salvage team salvaging a vessel beyond Neptune. This vessel turns out to be the disappeared Event Horizon. Laurence Fishburn stars as Captain Miller, who pulled his team off of shore leave to complete the mission. Adding to the crew is an unknown person, William Weir (Sam Neill), who seems to know more of the mission. According to the official records the Event Horizon doesn’t exist anymore. Records show that the ship has exploded. When the crew learns about the true nature of the mission they obviously have questions which doctor Weir doesn’t answer entirely truthfully. The reason there is such a huge mystery surrounding the Event Horizon is because the engine of the ship. The heart of the Event Horizon is capable of generating a Black Hole, which creates a Wormhole making instantaneous travel to the other side of the Universe possible. During its first test flight things went awry and the Event Horizon disappeared for a couple of years. Now that the ships has resurfaced people want to know what happened and where it has been. The last recorded message coming from the ship wasn’t clear except of some Latin text.

Once having boarded the Event Horizon everything starts going wrong and the crew slowly finds out that everything went awry. There seems to something living on the ship which forms a danger to everyone present. Doctor Weir isn’t about to lose the ship yet again and does whatever he can to keep the salvage crew there.

Event Horizon certainly has some issues. A plot with too many holes, why can a crewmember of a salvage crew figure out the true message of the Event Horizon whereas a team of scientists can not. Another issue appears to be time pressure. Paramount Pictures put an awful lot of pressure on Paul W. S. Anderson to get the movie in cinemas. The very same year Paramount Pictures would premier Titanic and Event Horizon was to be the big hit before Titanic. For this reason Anderson left some of the scenes to his assistant Vadim Jean. Vadim Jean is also responsible for the notorious and legendary “body orgy” The R-Rating was also one of the things that worked against Event Horizon. This rating led to Anderson making a hardcore movie. The test-version was ripped by the audience for being too intense. The Body Orrgy scene was way out of line. The Body Orgy scene shows the original crew of the Event Horizon eating their own limbs, raping and murdering each other. To make this scene as realistic as possible porn-actors were hired for the rapes and amputees were casted to represent crew members missing limbs. In the definite cut this scene has been largely cut and toned down.

What eventually remained is a science fiction with horror elements. There isn’t a clear direction in the movie and you know more happened than that has been shown. This is of course true as more than 30 minutes have been cut from the movie. Despite the plot being like Swiss cheese and the often missing tension, the movie has its moments. Event Horizon reminds me of Hellraiser and this could be viewed as part of this series. The Cenobites come from another dimension through a puzzle box. The contraption which generates the Black Hole in Event Horizon could as well be a different kind of Lemarchand Configuration which opens a portal to another dimension. It helps knowing that Hellraiser was used as inspiration. Upon watching the movie and having seen the Body Orgy scenes, it is understandable why this could have been part of the Hellraiser series. Maybe this aspect is what lets me be somewhat positive about this movie.