Writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson may best be known by mass audiences for two landmark films in the world of video games: 1995’s Mortal Kombat and 2002’s franchise-spawning hit Resident Evil. But between those lynchpin entries in the Anderson filmography lies a cult classic that has its own following in the depths of moviedom: the 1997 horror film Event Horizon. An eventual home video success, the Paramount sci-fi film has had an extended cut teased for some time, with a new Blu-ray treatment slated for 2021 giving fans a glimmer of hope they’d finally see it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be likely, but there’s good news, as thanks to the Snyder Cut, Paul W.S. Anderson is dreaming yet again of restoring his complete vision.
During the press day for Paul W.S. Anderson’s latest film, the video game adventure adaptation Monster Hunter, my attendance on behalf of CinemaBlend presented me with an opportunity to ask about this particular white whale of ‘90s sci-fi. While the initial theatrical release of this cosmic horror show was a dud, home video provided such a boost for Event Horizon’s fortunes that Paul W.S. Anderson suggested he would eventually work on a fully restored cut to reward eager fans. Unfortunately, that reality found itself traveling a long and winding road to the following answer as to why next year’s Shout Factory Blu-ray probably won’t include the long sought-after alternate version:
There are bits and pieces of Event Horizon that turn up every so often; a little bit on VHS here or there. I think, unfortunately, the bulk of what was taken out of the movie has been lost. I think the only way to truly recreate the lost cut of Event Horizon, which was the original cut I presented to the studio that they were so horrified by because it was pretty extreme, I think the only way to recreate that is, actually, to shoot new material. But who knows, in the world of the Snyder Cut of Justice League? C’mon Paramount Pictures, all I need is a bit of money, and I can go and shoot all of that stuff with Joely Richardson, and Lawrence Fishburne, and Jason Isaacs. A little bit of de-aging, and we can just go shoot the whole thing again.
You absolutely read that right, dear readers: the original version of Event Horizon not only horrified Paramount executives in the ‘90s, it frightened test audiences as well! But it’s apparently nothing that modern day audiences aren’t craving for, and with the right approach, Paul W.S. Anderson could finally restore his vision. All it’d take is a budget and a reunion of the principal players to get things underway; which, again, doesn’t sound impossible after Zack Snyder’s Justice League became a reality. But rather than being able to just reshoot materials to go with the restored scenes that Zack Snyder lost when he walked away from Justice League, Anderson’s quest is a much more involved scenario that requires a bit of a history lesson.
You see, back when Event Horizon was being put together on a tighter than usual schedule, it was discovered that audience members and executives alike were absolutely frightened by what they saw. All of the spooky energy coming out of the film’s “gory” workprint required that Paul W.S. Anderson re-shape the finished film from its original 130 minute form to the eventual 96 minute theatrical version fans are more familiar with. Apparently, the edict was to turn Event Horizon into a less bloody version of hellish interdimensional travel, so the movie couple play more like a horror blockbuster and less like a cult classic. This meant that moments like the one seen below had to go:
Luckily, a couple deleted moments survived in some capacity and made it into the special features of that first DVD. Which posed the question of what happened to the footage cut from Event Horizon that caused it to go missing? Well, apparently there are three words you never want to hear when it comes to storing your sensitive celluloid materials for a rainy, director’s cut enhanced day: “Transylvanian salt mine.” It’s where Paul W.S. Anderson’s materials disappeared off to once they were snipped from the Paramount-friendly version of Event Horizon, and they were found years after the fact, but in an unusable shape. Allegedly, the only copy of the assembly cut that exists happens to be a VHS copy in the hands of producer Lloyd Levin; and Anderson’s insistence that those original elements cannot be resurrected persists to this day.
Should fans of Event Horizon want to see a newly released Blu-ray with some extra bells and whistles, they won’t have to wait too much longer. But if they want to enjoy the version of Phillip Eisner’s script that was supposed to make it to the screen, apparently the only way they’ll get that picture is through the increasingly rare novelization that was released before the film debuted in theaters. Should Paramount find itself wanting to mirror some of that Snyder Cut energy, it sounds like it has the perfect opportunity to dive back into the past and freak some folks out with one hell of a hellscape. That is, unless the new Amazon Prime Video series adaptation isn’t looking to commit itself to this quest itself.
Paul W.S. Anderson’s Monster Hunter debuts in theaters this Friday, and if you’re looking to pick up the new Event Horizon Blu-ray, it will be released on March 23, 2021. But if you’re still fixated on the cinematic, you can check out the 2021 release schedule for your next potential haunt. Just be careful, as once you take a look at the potential future of movies at a theater near you, it might not let you leave.