Like many ultimately well-remembered horror films, Paul W.S. Anderson’s now cult classic Event Horizon was mostly ignored upon its initial theatrical release, coming up short making back its budget and mostly getting trashed by critics.
Thankfully, Anderson’s debut horror film has gone on to earn a large, devoted following on home video and cable, with the future Resident Evil director’s tale of the titular technologically advanced spaceship’s literal trip to hell and back coming to be regarded by many as one of the scariest sci/fi-horror efforts of all-time.
Sadly, it has long been known that the theatrical cut of Event Horizon was heavily butchered at the behest of studio Paramount, with nearly 40 minutes of both added story scenes and more explicit gore effects edited out before release.
This fabled 130-minute cut has long stood as a sort of holy grail for Event Horizon fans, but unfortunately, it looks like we’ll never get to experience the film in all its original gory glory.
In a recent interview with Crave Online, Anderson had the following to say on the subject, and it doesn’t leave much hope for a future restoration of the excised material.
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; we looked for the material, and it just doesn’t exist.
Interestingly enough, reports back in 2012 and 2013 suggested that a VHS workprint of Event Horizon’s original director’s cut had been found, but it would appear that either those were incorrect, or the footage found is simply in such bad shape that neither Anderson or Paramount feel comfortable trying to restore it for release.
On a sidenote, Crave also asked Anderson about the possibility of making a sequel to Event Horizon, but sadly for fans, he’s not on-board with the idea:
“The things that kind of handicapped us the first time around, the fact that the movie isn’t tied up with a neat little bow, it left things open… at the time it was a handicap. I think maybe if it had all been really neat and there had been some monster running around killing everyone it probably would have done bigger business. But I think people still talk about it because it’s a movie that invites conversation afterwards, because we don’t tell you exactly what’s going on and what to think. And I think that’s become one of its strengths, and I think the danger of returning to that world is you don’t want to over-explain things.”
While a usable copy of Event Horizon’s deleted footage could still very well one day be found – stranger things have happened in horror history after all – for now, it would appear that the fabled director’s cut will remain elusive. On the plus side, where the world at large appears to be going, we won’t need eyes to see.