EVENT HORIZON stars Sam Neill, Lawrence Fishburne, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Distributed by Scream Factory
After months of delays and amid a chorus of fans’ hopes, Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition of Event Horizon (1997) is finally seeing a release, so let’s get the biggest question out of the way right now: there is no “new” cut footage included – and that’s a good thing. Would I love to see what visions of Hell were sliced from the final film? Sure, I would, but if that footage were ever to be found it would be via a low-quality workprint VHS tape at best; the original negatives are long gone. Secondly, the reason this film terrified me in theaters and continues to have a chilling effect to this day is because it only offers glimpses of that most-painful universe of torture. Gratuity in horror quickly loses any intrigue and I would much rather be teased than outright see everything at length. The quick clips are enough to know wherever the original crew of the Event Horizon went is the last place I’d ever want to find myself.
This is a haunted house movie in space – and that’s already a frightening place to be. What helps make this one of the best space horror films is the cast, which has a number of familiar faces delivering characters that feel more human than caricature. Lawrence Fishburne is expectedly powerful and direct as Captain Miller, who helms and commands the crew to find Event Horizon. Kathleen Quinlan is a tormented mother, Jack Noseworthy is the “kid” of the group, Jason Isaacs is cold and blunt, Sean Pertwee is the outspoken one, and Richard T. Jones is a suit full of swagger as Cooper. Every member of Fishburne’s team has a bit of depth; their camaraderie is obvious and the loss of any one of the team is felt. Sam Neil steals the show as Dr. Weir, the man who designed the Event Horizon and has a peculiar affinity for his creation.
Another area where this film vastly succeeds is in the production design. Just take the gravity drive, for instance, with all those intricate geometric patterns and three spinning wheels moving around a sphere – plus it looks dangerous from any angle, like something straight out of Clive Barker’s mind. People often say Event Horizon is the best Hellraiser sequel not in that series and I’m inclined to agree. There are many visceral moments. I do wish the filmmakers had kept the original ending. It saw Miller taking on his firebombed marooned buddy instead of a slashed-up Sam Neil. But that’s not a major complaint. There’s also a lot of tension to be derived from putting people in a situation in which they cannot escape. At least in most haunted house films if someone escapes from the house they’re safe; there is no escape on a spaceship. The horrors are mostly psychological but with some physical manifestations too powerful to ignore. I’ve seen this film over a dozen times and certain scenes still creep me out.
I’m amazed Paul W.S Anderson was behind the camera – inarguably the highlight of his career so far.
Paramount released Event Horizon on Blu-ray in 2008 and now, 13 years later, Scream Factory has upped that edition by sourcing a new 4K master for the 2.35:1 1080p image. I didn’t have any issue with the Paramount disc aside from utilizing an outdated scan and while it might only be apparent to video nerds who scrutinize screencaps and argue over encodes this 2021 release does best the old one in many ways. The color palette, while muted, appears a bit more saturated. Grain is finer. Black levels are occasionally a bit muted though that’s likely just inherent to the photography. Some of the late-‘90s CGI looks slightly dated but thankfully there’s so little of it here there aren’t enough moments where it could be truly awful and distracting. Shadow details hold up nicely. I can’t say this blows the prior release out of the water but it certainly tightens everything up.
The soundtrack for this film has always been a beast and this English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround soundtrack is sonically similar to the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 found on Paramount’s disc. It becomes apparent this is a ground-shaker early on when the camera gives a tour of the Event Horizon and a deep rumble continues to grow until the floor is quaking. Dialogue registers high and is never difficult to understand. There are many stingers in place to shock audiences and they’re loud as all hell. Rears see smart usage with the addition of ambient sounds and aiding in direction of effects. If I had any complaint it would be that it’s occasionally too loud – and that’s not really much of a problem. They also include a 2.0 stereo track. Subtitles are available in English.
- BRAND NEW 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
- Reflecting on Hell – an interview with director Paul W.S. Anderson
- Ghost Galleon – an interview with writer Philip Eisner (NEW)
- Organized Chaos – an interview with actress Kathleen Quinlan (NEW)
- Compassion in Space – an interview with actor Jack Noseworthy (NEW)
- The Doomed Captain – an interview with actor Peter Marinker (NEW)
- Space Cathedral – an interview with production designer Joseph Bennett (NEW)
- Something New – an interview with set decorator Crispian Sallis (NEW)
- Taking Care of It – an interview with production manager Dusty Symonds (NEW)
- Reinforcements – an interview with second unit director Robin Vidgeon (NEW)
- Almost Real – an interview with location manager Derek Harrington (NEW)
- Screams from the Cosmos – an interview with sound designer Campbell Askew (NEW)
- Audio Commentary with director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt
- The Making of EVENT HORIZON – a 5-part documentary
- The Point of No Return – a 4-part look at the filming of EVENT HORIZON with narration by Paul W.S. Anderson
- Secrets – deleted and extended scenes with director’s commentary
- The Unseen EVENT HORIZON – The un-filmed rescue scene and conceptual art with director’s commentary
- Theatrical Trailer
- Video Trailer
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature
Still one of the best space horror films ever made, this new edition from Scream Factory may be as definitive as it’s ever going to get. The lack of lost footage is somewhat offset by a minor a/v overhaul and a lengthy, if somewhat overstuffed, list of bonus features… though the best ones are those that are returning from Paramount’s release.