[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Event Horizon.]
If you are, as I am, a fan of Paul W.S. Anderson‘s cult 1997 sci-fi horror film Event Horizon, then there is one thing you want to see: The fabled, ultraviolent, mythological director’s cut. Anderson’s post-production period on the film was cut short and wrestled away by him from the studio, Paramount Pictures, resulting in a rushed theatrical cut running at 96 minutes. Anderson’s first workprint cut, which self-admittedly didn’t work how he wanted it to, ran at 130 minutes, and Anderson believes his “director’s cut” might play the best at around 106 minutes.
Most notable among the missing footage? A plethora of ultra-gory, graphic violence involving the crew of the Event Horizon being hellishly, surreally tortured, only seen in nearly subliminal flashes during key elements of the theatrical cut. Fans of this movie have a huge appetite for this thus-far nonexistent cut, with rumors of VHS copies of the first cut flying around, and a recent Shout Factory collector’s edition blu-ray prompting gasps that they might actually have a director’s cut to show us (thus far, the specialty video company has kept mum on the disc’s special features).
So: Do you see this gore-tastic new cut of Event Horizon unearthed from the space vault anytime in the near future? According to one of its stars Jason Isaacs, who spoke with our own Liz Shannon Miller for an upcoming Collider Connected longform interview, it is very, very unlikely. To put it bluntly, Isaacs compared the existence of an Event Horizon director’s cut to conspiracy theories involving 5G and Bill Gates having “a vaccine chip.”
Isaacs’ recounting of the history of this missing footage involves the second unit director “shooting the footage that we saw flashes of in Event Horizon, of what happened to the old crew in Hell,” having been delegated to these pieces of footage by Anderson. From there, things got… odd.
“He was doing things that were, I’ve no doubt, against the law. Certainly against every ethical and professional guild code. There were porn stars. There were amputees. There were people recruited from S&M clubs. There was some stuff going on in there. Every now and again, he would walk over to our set with a kind of Vietnam [War], thousand year old stare and go, ‘You would not believe what I’ve been seeing this morning.’ So, they shot lots of that stuff.”
These gruesome, disturbingly produced pieces of content were, as Isaacs puts it, “used subliminally in the film to flash.” As to whether Anderson “put more of that in the film” in a previous cut, Isaacs isn’t sure — and editorializes that it’s likely unnecessary to do so. “Maybe Paul did in a cut, or not. Any more of it, I think, would not have made the film better. I don’t know that he was asked to trim it down by the studio. I don’t remember those discussions at the time. I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen, but I might be wrong.”
These hellish flashes of madness aren’t the only pieces of violent content trimmed from the theatrical cut of the picture. Isaacs also spoke about his death scene, which, if you’ll recall, is quite… well, I’ll let the man himself describe the grim circumstances of his on-screen demise.
“I know there was a shot cut, a slightly gorier shot of my body. When you discover my dead body, I’m naked, flayed, hung up by hooks, gutted from neck to navel with all my organs hanging out over the operating table. I think there was a shot inside my stomach cavity, that came out, panned around, showed you all the gore, swirled around, and then found Sam Neill walking in. It was so disgusting, but also, it was a much bigger death than the more important deaths that were coming, that it kind of upended things priority wise. So, they started it with the wide shot. I think first of all, audiences might have been gagging. I don’t know.”
Ultimately, Isaacs doesn’t “think that there are any other sequences that make the film any better.” And while concedes that he’s “sure that Paul got some notes from the studio and made a cut. He may have some of the cut in his head,” Isaacs has a final word of warning for any Event Horizon director’s cut truthers out there: “Anybody who’s thinking there is a more definitive version of Event Horizon, concentrate on that rather than 5G, but you’re wasting your time.”
Your move, Shout Factory.
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