25 years ago, Event Horizon's theatrical release was technically a box office bomb. Eventually the film would have a healthy life on home video by becoming a cult classic that would eventually spawn a dedicated fandom. Unfortunately, that second life would lead to some bittersweet reflection, as 25 years later, star Sam Neill reflected on what still bugs him about the film’s final form.
I had the great honor to speak with Neill during the theatrical promotion of Jurassic World Dominion, and it was a conversation that yielded some amazing results. One of the most exciting was the actor’s answer to whether or not he’d take part in Paul W.S. Anderson’s hypothetical “Snyder Cut” for Event Horizon. Sam Neill revealed to CinemaBlend that not only was he enthusiastic about partaking in such an enterprise, it all tied into his disappointment in the state the film was released in back in 1997:
I think that would be a great thing to do, because actually when I saw it…I thought when we were making it, we were making a really good science fiction film. This really scary horror/sci-fi film. It was a little bit disappointing to me when it came out, because it was cut so fast, and all the suspense had gone from it. ‘What’s at the other end of that dark corridor? What lurks there?’ All of that stuff had gone, and that had been filmed very carefully. I would have thought that if it was a longer film, and care and attention was paid to those moments of suspense, I think it would be a much stronger film. … It bugs me too, it really does.
As much as fans want to see what could have been with a longer cut of Paul W.S. Anderson’s film, Sam Neill shares that same desire. Hearing him talk about alternate takes on some of the landmark moments in the finished film only made me even more amped to see a slightly remade version of Event Horizon actually happen. Time hasn’t lessened that desire either, as this is one of the director’s cuts fans have debated long before the Snyder Cut of Justice League.
While the history of Event Horizon’s post-production woes isn’t as horrific as Zack Snyder’s epic battle, it’s still considered one of legendary proportions. Forced into an earlier release date as a bid to land a successful summer release before the already controversial Titanic, Paul W.S. Anderson’s film was backed into a corner. Anderson agreed to a quicker turnaround in the editing room, and the compromised version was released to the world on August 15th, 1997.
It wasn’t until the DVD release of Event Horizon that anyone thought about restoring Anderson’s vision, and by then, it was too late. Years in a Transylvanian salt mine degraded the cut footage, with only two extended sequences and one deleted scene of Sam Neill’s being recovered. One of the extended sequences gave another Event Horizon cast member some exciting to talk about every so often, as Jason Isaacs once told the story about how he wasn’t allowed to keep his gutted fake corpse from production.
25 years later, Event Horizon is now the subject of a 4K UHD re-release by Paramount, which came on the heels of a revamped Blu-ray from Shout Factory. Additionally, a TV adaptation of the film has been developing at Amazon since 2019. There’s still a lot of love out there for this movie, and with Sam Neill being on board for re-filming/de-aging in to Dr. Weir again, one could hope that maybe a little more momentum will be added to resurrecting this haunted ship yet again.
In the meantime, Sam Neill fans shouldn’t fret! You can see the legendary actor in the extended edition of Jurassic World Dominion, which will be available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD this Tuesday. Meanwhile, the 4K UHD re-release of Event Horizon is currently available wherever you stock your home entertainment collection from. For all other inquiries into what’s ahead on the schedule of 2022 movie releases, we have that information waiting for you with just a click, and no hellish hyperdrive is required.