We’ll Never See the ‘Event Horizon’ Director’s Cut Because the Footage is Just Plain Lost
Event Horizon is so good that it makes you want to reconsider the rest of Paul W.S. Anderson‘s filmography. For those who haven’t seen the movie, it’s essentially Hellraiser in outer space – a spaceship goes to hell and back (literally), bringing all kinds of evil nastiness with it. It shines like a dark, bloody star through the occasionally wooden dialogue, delivering a genre cocktail with flavors of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, and The Exorcist. It’s never as good as those movies, but its B-movie charm provides an equally compelling reason to dig in and enjoy.
For years, we’ve heard rumblings that footage that was removed from the theatrical cut would make its way on to home video, possibly in the form of a director’s cut. However, Anderson has now revealed that this is unlikely – the footage in question is lost.
Speaking with Crave Online as part of a Facebook Live event, Anderson was pretty blunt about the missing footage. As the film was produced before DVD arrived and made viewing deleted scenes possible, the additional material simply vanished. It probably didn’t help that Event Horizon was not a box office success and that Paramount didn’t see a need to preserve anything from it. Here’s the whole story:
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 have asked us to come back in and do different versions and we looked for the material, and it just doesn’t exist.
As Anderon himself notes in the interview, lost footage has shown up before (often in surprising and unusual places), so it’s entirely possible that the missing Event Horizon scenes will emerge one day. And I certainly hope they do, as they would extend one of the film’s creepiest moments: a glimpse into hell itself. Only seen as quick flashes in the actual movie, these moments were plucked from a much longer sequence, one that has intrigued horror fans for 20 years now.
After revealing that he has no interest in a sequel, Anderson noted that time has been kind to Event Horizon and that he’s happy that he made the movie in the way that he did, even if it took years for the film to find its audience. In fact, the film counts Kurt Russell (star of Anderson’s Soldier) among its fans:
I met with John Goldwyn, who was the head of production at Paramount, like a year afterwards, and he said, ‘You know, we really messed that movie up. We should have released it better. We could have released it better. It’s a better movie than the marketing campaign we gave it.’ But I’m very happy with what happened with the movie. You know, it did reasonable business when it came out but it wasn’t like spectacular in any regard. But over time it grew, and actually when it came out I screened it for Kurt Russell, who I was about to make a movie with, and he said, ‘Forget about what this movie’s doing now. In fifteen years time, this is going to be the movie you’re glad you made’ and he was right. Smart guy.
While we probably won’t see an Event Horizon director’s cut, consider this your reminder to revisit the film on its 20th anniversary. Or check it out for the first time. It’s a blast.
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