Event Horizon Preview

“All for one, my ass,” says Rich as he and Poe attempt to push a large trunk over a log. They’ve been put on Planchet duty ever since their “rescue” and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight as the blue-clad backflipping buffoons don’t seem to be interested in anything but flipping around on ropes and trees and whatever other objects get in their line of sight. “We must save the King of France!” they scream for the thousandth time but Rich and Poe aren’t even sure if there is a King of France in this warped time sink they’ve fallen into. “Oh, Planchet! Dinner!” one screams, sitting on a log. Rich and Poe are pretty tired of the Planchet stuff so it’s time to climb the Musketeer corporate ladder. “Watch this,” Rich says with a wink and soon they are putting their years of culinary experience to good use showing off their knife skills in front of the Musketeers. At first they laugh, but soon are frowning at Rich and Poe. “No no no!” one screams, “You are Planchet! You don’t, how do you say… show off like some show off bird.” Puffing up and strutting around he challenges them to a duel. One after another the Musketeers come forward, and one after another they fall. With chests heaving and jorts brimming with sweat, Rich and Poe handily defeat the gang, who nod in appreciation. “You win, show off birds, we are now Planchets,” and they bow, asking where it is they want to go. Rich and Poe never even thought about that. As they look around they see a large wooden ship sunken into a bog in the distance. “There,” they point and the Musketeers begin to quake in fear, unwilling to go forwards. “G-g-g-g-ghosts,” they stammer out. That’s right! We’re catching up on the Paul W. S. Anderson classic Event Horizon that, while poorly reviewed in its time, has actually gained some cult following over the years. So this could really go either way in terms of being a BMT film. Set in the far future of 2047, this fits the bill for horror. Let’s go! 

Event Horizon (1997) – BMeTric: 14.6; Notability: 45 

(Oh snap, that is a pretty high notability, almost 50 on a film made in 1997. This is a true cult classic, so it isn’t that surprising that the IMDb rating is too high to give it a good BMeTric.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – It is observed darkly at one point that the gravity drive is a case of Man pushing too far, into realms where he should not go. There is an accusation that someone has “broken the laws of physics,” and from the way it’s said you’d assume that offenders will be subject to fines or imprisonment. Of course there are no “laws” of physics–only observations about the way things seem to be. What you “break,” if you break anything, is not a law but simply an obsolete belief, now replaced by one that works better. Deeply buried in “Event Horizon” is a suspicion of knowledge. Maybe that’s why its characters have so little of it.

(The production notes suggest otherwise (suggesting the film is actually just a Haunted House film in space, or a prequel to Warhammer 40,000), but that sounds suspiciously like they borrowed a major page from Jurassic Park and other “Science is Bad” films/books to suggest the hubris of scientists is humanity’s ultimate downfall … which makes me excited. As Dr. McCabe in Bats says: “I’m a scientist. That’s what we do. Make everything a little bit better.”)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9CHnOo94k/

(F-it, that looks dope. I’m definitely not getting “science is bad” from that trailer. What I’m getting from that trailer is just a straight up haunted house film. And this is one dope looking haunted house film.)

Directors – Paul W.S. Anderson – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Resident Evil; BMT: Pompeii; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; The Three Musketeers; Mortal Kombat; Soldier; Event Horizon; Notes: Married to Milla Jovovich. Changed how he billed his name by adding the W.S. due to confusion with Paul Thomas Anderson, but now he gets confused with Wes Anderson.)

Writers – Philip Eisner (written by) – (Future BMT: Mutant Chronicles; BMT: Event Horizon; Notes: Wrote the television sequel to Firestarter and has a new movie coming out staring Jason Momoa as a vengeful grieving father.)

Actors – Laurence Fishburne – (Known For: The Matrix; Apocalypse Now; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; Contagion; John Wick: Chapter 2; Man of Steel; The Matrix Reloaded; Where’d You Go, Bernadette; Boyz n the Hood; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Mystic River; The Mule; Mission: Impossible III; The Color Purple; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; The Signal; Predators; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; King of New York; School Daze; Future BMT: Biker Boyz; The Colony; Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fled; Running with the Devil; TMNT; Death Wish II; Quicksilver; Bad Company; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Just Cause; The Matrix Revolutions; 21; Band of the Hand; Once in the Life; Passengers; BMT: Ride Along; Event Horizon; Notes: Prior to 1993 was credited as Larry Fishburne and he mostly did supporting roles and television work (including as Cowboy Curtis on Pee-wee’s Playhouse). Nominated for an Oscar for What’s Love Got to Do with It.)

Sam Neill – (Known For: Thor: Ragnarok; Jurassic Park; The Hunt for Red October; Jurassic Park III; Hunt for the Wilderpeople; The Commuter; The Piano; Peter Rabbit; Possession; Wimbledon; Escape Plan; In the Mouth of Madness; Ride Like a Girl; Daybreakers; The Jungle Book; The Horse Whisperer; Dead Calm; Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole; The Hunter; Plenty; Future BMT: United Passions; The Final Conflict; The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box; Memoirs of an Invisible Man; Backtrack; Irresistible; A Long Way Down; Perfect Strangers; The Vow; Bicentennial Man; BMT: Event Horizon; Notes: Australian, he worked mostly in Australian cinema in the early 80s (like Attack Force Z with Mel Gibson), and then transitioned into American cinema around when he co-starred in The Hunt for Red October.)

Kathleen Quinlan – (Known For: Apollo 13; American Graffiti; The Hills Have Eyes; Breakdown; Horns; The Doors; Twilight Zone: The Movie; Breach; A Civil Action; Lifeguard; Lawn Dogs; Zeus and Roxanne; The Runner Stumbles; Wild Thing; Chimera Strain; Future BMT: My Giant; Elektra Luxx; Airport ’77; Sunset; The Battle of Shaker Heights; Trial by Jury; Hanky Panky; Warning Sign; Clara’s Heart; BMT: Made of Honour; Event Horizon; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Apollo 13. Was in a ton of non-theatrical stuff in the 80s, like She’s in the Army Now from 1981, which appears to be a blatant Private Benjamin clone.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $26,673,242 (Worldwide: $26,673,242)

(Well that’s catastrophic. I guess that is how cult films work though. You can’t really become a cult film if you were a huge hit at the time of release.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (20/74): Despite a strong opening that promises sci-fi thrills, Event Horizon quickly devolves into an exercise of style over substance whose flashy effects and gratuitous gore fail to mask its overreliance on horror clichés.

(Ugh, I don’t like gore. But I think standing in contrast to the more protracted Alien maybe will make this an interesting exercise in Sci-fi horror. Reviewer Highlight: Director Anderson gets points for skillfully choreographing all of this, but he loses them for a consistent desire to brutalize the audience. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Ghost Ship with the Most Ship

(That’s a cool poster. That’s like a ‘hang on my wall’ cool. It feels real old school. Kinda low budget sci fi kinda stuff. I really really like that. Nice subtle font even. A+.)

Tagline(s) – Infinite Space – Infinite Terror (B)

(Unlike the poster this is merely fine. It’s snappy and short. But it doesn’t knock my socks off in the cleverness or originality department. I feel like it’s even a little limiting. Like this is more than just a space movie. You dig? Although, I will say… it still looks pretty cool on that super cool poster.)

Keyword – astronaut

Top 10: Ad Astra (2019), Interstellar (2014), Watchmen (2009), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Toy Story 4 (2019), The Martian (2015), Rampage (2018), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Hidden Figures (2016)

Future BMT: 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 59.6 Virus (1999), 59.2 Space Chimps (2008), 58.7 Apollo 18 (2011), 56.2 Land of the Lost (2009), 52.0 Green Lantern (2011), 52.0 The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), 44.9 Fantastic Four (2005), 42.7 Mission to Mars (2000), 42.0 Red Planet (2000);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Armageddon (1998), Event Horizon (1997), Geostorm (2017), The Space Between Us (2017), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Species II (1998)

(I wonder if the big peak in 2010 has to do with things like SpaceX launching their first rockets around 2008. Seems more steady than I would have expected though. The gap from 1990-1995 though is quite confusing. Besides Challenger there wasn’t any disaster around then, and that was 4 years prior. The only thing I can think of is that space films are expensive and that was around when a bunch of studios went bankrupt … that seems tenuous though. Maybe people just didn’t like space films for a while.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Joely Richardson is No. 4 billed in Event Horizon and No. 4 billed in Endless Love (2014), which also stars Bruce Greenwood (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 6 billed) => 4 + 4 + 3 + 6 = 17. If we were to watch Biker Boyz we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Paul W.S. Anderson’s initial cut of the film ran 130 minutes and was quite graphically violent, so much so that both test audiences and the studio balked at the finished product. Paramount ordered him to cut the film by 30 minutes and tone down some of the violence, a decision he now regrets. Although it was announced in 2012 that a full version of the film had been found on a VHS tape, Anderson revealed in 2017 that due to bad archiving, a longer version no longer exists. The tape was in such poor condition when found that the footage was practically unwatchable, forcing Anderson to throw it away.

The space suits worn by the actors weighed 65 pounds (30 kilograms) each. Laurence Fishburne nicknamed his “Doris.” Due to the weight, standing upright in them for longer periods could lead to back injury, but sitting down was not possible either due to the backpack. Special “hanging poles” were constructed on the set, so the actors could rest on them between takes.

Everyone’s space suit has a flag showing hypothetical future political changes on Earth. Characters portrayed by American actors wear a flag of the United States with 55 stars. Characters portrayed by British actors wear a European Union flag with 22 stars, replacing the former Union Flag (the movie pre-dating the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016). Sam Neill’s character wears a modified Australian flag, with the Union Jack removed from the top left-hand corner, and the Aboriginal flag in its place. (I should point out that the stars on the EU flag don’t represent countries and thus isn’t going to change after the UK fully extracts itself from the union. I would very much doubt they’ll ever change the number in that context)

The script originally described the Gateway machine as a smooth and featureless black orb, 10 meters (nearly 33 feet) in diameter, suspended in midair between large, rotating mechanical arms. It also was said to contain a stable black hole within it at all times (which the ship used as a power source), as opposed to briefly creating a temporary one. Paul Anderson decided to redesign it to involve interlocking circles as a homage to the puzzle box in Hellraiser (1987), which served as an inspiration. (That absolutely comes through in the finished product, it ends up being much closer to Hellraiser than any sci-fi film I’m seen)

Having just done a PG-13 movie, Mortal Kombat (1995), Paul W.S. Anderson was very keen to do something more mature and gruesome. This was why he turned down the chance to direct X-Men (2000).

Paul W.S. Anderson’s initial rough cut submitted to the MPAA received the kiss-of-death NC-17 rating.

The scene in which Weir explains how to bend space and time in order to travel huge interstellar distances is paraphrased in Interstellar (2014). Romily uses the exact same demonstration to illustrate the theory – folding a piece of paper and pushing a pen through it while explaining it to Cooper.

Although the film met with mostly negative reviews and a disappointing box office result at the time of its release, it amassed a considerable cult following over the years. Director Paul W.S. Anderson said that the movie’s cult status was predicted to him years before by Kurt Russell. Anderson screened Event Horizon before they started work on Soldier (1998), and Russell 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”.

Philip Eisner wrote the movie after a family tragedy. He had recently entered a multi-picture writing agreement, and in an effort to force himself to get back to work he pitched the idea of “The Shining in space” to the studio, which was very receptive. Unfortunately he had no detailed treatment yet, and the subject matter blended with his emotional state to inspire a prolonged bout of writer’s block. The studio executive who had originally brought him on board, now a personal friend, helped keep Eisner on track, and the eventual first draft which was enthusiastically received.

The ‘Visions from Hell’ were inspired by works from 16th-century Renaissance painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, which director Paul W.S. Anderson saw while he was touring art galleries with his production designer. Anderson was fascinated by these paintings, as the makers clearly believed in the reality of Hell as the complete antithesis of Heaven, and the images they created were terrifying and beautiful at the same time.

Some of the lost footage includes a great deal more of the Bosch-influenced Hell sequences and of the orgiastic video log that was found in the Event Horizon. This was shot by both director Paul W.S. Anderson and Vadim Jean, mainly on weekends.

Philip Eisner’s first draft of the script involved an alien infestation on the ship. When director Paul W.S. Anderson was approached, he liked the ‘Haunted House in space’ concept of the movie, but he had the source of evil changed from aliens to something more supernatural and diabolical.

Clive Barker, whose movie Hellraiser (1987) was a huge influence on the film, consulted on the project during pre-production.

The Event Horizon was modeled on Notre Dame cathedral. Its long corridor resembles a church nave, and its interior is filled with cruciform shapes, columns and vaults. Also, its engines resemble rotated church towers.

The working title was “The Stars My Destination”.

For his final scenes, Sam Neill would come to the studio at 3am so that he could spend 7-8 hours in make-up.

The original script had a sequence near the end where Starck (Joely Richardson) prepares the gravity tanks on the Event Horizon for the survivors’ escape, but one of them fills with blood, and a partially regenerated Dr. Weir (Sam Neill) without a skin appears inside. He breaks out and chases Stark, who flees and falls down a ladder to the room below; Weir follows, climbing down the same ladder upside-down. This scene was actually filmed but omitted from the movie. Weir’s upside-down walk was inspired by the infamous ‘Spiderwalk’ sequence from the extended version of The Exorcist (1973).