Why You’ll Never Get an ‘Event Horizon’ Director’s Cut (or a Sequel)

EXCLUSIVE: Paul W.S. Anderson says nobody knows where the missing footage is, and he also thinks a sequel is a bad idea.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

If you ever wanted to see more of Event Horizon, we’ve got bad news for you. The sci-fi horror classic, about a spaceship that travels to Hell and brings a piece of Hell back with it, is probably never going to get the extended director’s cut we all know is out there, and despite the intense nostalgia that many movie lovers have for the film, there will probably never be a sequel.

Paul W.S. Anderson directed Event Horizon in 1997, and at the time it was noteworthy for its impressive ensemble cast (featuring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Jason Isaacs and Joely Richardson) and for its impressive, futuristically gothic production design.

It was also notable for its shocking, rapid-fire depictions of Hell, which were culled from longer portions of the film. Talk had been rampant for years about a legendary “director’s cut” of Event Horizon, but in our recent Facebook Live Q&A with Paul W.S. Anderson, he revealed why it’ll never come out… even though Paramount, the studio behind Event Horizon, wanted to make it happen.

“There was a lot more that was shot that isn’t in the movie, Paul W.S. Anderson confirmed. “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.”

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

“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,” Anderson explained, but he admits that stranger things have been discovered before.

Escape from New York, they discovered a whole new cut of it in some shoeboxes somewhere, so you know, maybe, the filmmaker conceded.

But just because we won’t see more of the original Event Horizon doesn’t mean that there still can’t be more Event Horizon in the future. It’s a familiar film to horror and sci-fi audiences, a motion picture with a lot of nostalgia built up around it. Nowadays that sort of nostalgia can be used to leverage a new film or television series into production, to add to the myth of the original and tell new stories.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

But that’s an approach that doesn’t interest Paul W.S. Anderson. In fact, he thinks making a sequel would be a pretty a bad 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, Anderson says. “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 overexplain things.” 

“Not that I’m comparing my movie to 2001 [A Space Odyssey], but there’s 2001, amazing, and then there’s 2010, that explains everything. You wondered what that thing was? Well then, here’s the explanation. And you don’t need that,” he added, putting a finer point on his argument.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

The good news, for folks who love Event Horizon, is that they’ll always have Event Horizon. Paul W.S. Anderson’s thriller remains popular among genre film enthusiasts and seems likely to stay that way, even though there was a time when it didn’t seem as though the film was destined for great things. Paul W.S. Anderson recalled the aftermath, and also recalled the moment when Kurt Russell – yes, Kurt Russell – told him the film would have a future.

“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,’” Anderson added.

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.”

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Top Photo: Paramount

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.