Event Horizon: Collector's Edition [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Shout! Factory
Review written by and copyright: Anthony Arrigo (29th March 2021).
The Film

After months of delays and amid a chorus of fans’ hopes, Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition of “Event Horizon” (1997) is finally seeing a release, so let’s get the biggest question out of the way right now: there is no “new” cut footage included – and that’s a good thing. Would I love to see what visions of Hell were sliced from the final film? Sure, I would, but if that footage were ever to be found it would be via a low-quality workprint VHS tape at best; the original negatives are long gone. Secondly, the reason this film terrified me in theaters and continues to have a chilling effect to this day is because it only offers glimpses of that most-painful universe of torture. Gratuity in horror quickly loses any intrigue for me and I would much rather be teased than outright see everything at length. The quick clips are enough to let me know wherever the original crew of the Event Horizon went is the last place I’d ever want to find myself.

This is a haunted house movie in space – and that’s already a frightening place to be. What helps make this one of the best space horror films is the cast, which has a number of familiar faces delivering characters that feel more human than caricature. Lawrence Fishburne is expectedly powerful and direct as Captain Miller, who helms and commands the crew of the vessel used to find Event Horizon. Kathleen Quinlan is a tormented mother, Jack Noseworthy is the “kid” of the group, Jason Isaacs is cold and blunt, Sean Pertwee is the outspoken one, and Richard T. Jones is a suit full of swagger as Cooper. Every member of Fishburne’s team is given a bit of depth; their camaraderie is obvious and the loss of any one of the team is felt. Sam Neill steals the show as Dr. Weir, the man who designed the Event Horizon and has a peculiar affinity for his creation.

Another area where this film vastly succeeds is in the production design. Just take the gravity drive, for instance, with all those intricate geometric patterns and three spinning wheels moving around a sphere – plus it looks dangerous from any angle, like something straight out of Clive Barker’s mind. People often say “Event Horizon” is the best “Hellraiser” sequel not in that series and I’m inclined to agree. There are many visceral moments. I do wish the filmmakers had kept the original ending, which saw Miller taking on his firebombed marooned buddy instead of a slashed-up Sam Neill but that’s not a major complaint. There’s also a lot of tension to be derived from putting people in a situation in which they cannot escape. At least in most haunted house films if someone escapes from the house they’re safe; there is no escape on a spaceship. The horrors are mostly psychological but with some physical manifestations too powerful to ignore. I’ve seen this film over a dozen times and I still get a bit creeped out by certain scenes.

Also, even after all those viewings I’m still amazed this was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson; inarguably the highlight of his career so far.

Video

Paramount released Event Horizon on Blu-ray in 2008 and now, 13 years later, Scream Factory has upped that edition by sourcing a new 4K master for the 2.35:1 HD 1080p 24/fps image. I didn’t have any issue with the Paramount disc aside from utilizing an outdated scan and while it might only be apparent to video nerds who scrutinize screencaps and argue over encodes this 2021 release does best the old one in many ways. The color palette, muted as it may be, appears a bit more saturated. Grain is finer. Black levels are occasionally a bit muted though that’s likely just inherent to the photography. Some of the late-90's CGI looks slightly dated but thankfully there’s so little of it here there aren’t enough moments where it could be truly awful and distracting. Shadow details hold up nicely. I can’t say this blows the prior release out of the water but it certainly tightens everything up.

Audio

The soundtrack for this film has always been a beast and this English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound track is sonically similar to the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 found on Paramount’s disc. It becomes apparent this is a ground-shaker early on when the camera gives a tour of the Event Horizon and a deep rumble continues to grow until the floor is quaking. Dialogue registers high and is never difficult to understand. There are many stingers in place to shock audiences and they’re loud as all hell. Rears see smart usage with the addition of ambient sounds and aiding in direction of effects. If I had any complaint it would be that it’s occasionally too loud – and that’s not really much of a problem. An English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo track is also included. Subtitles are available in English.

Extras

An audio commentary with director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt is included.

“Reflecting on Hell – An Interview with director Paul W.S. Anderson” (1080p) featurette runs for 10 minutes and 6 seconds.

“Haunted Galleon - An Interview with writer Philip Eisner” (1080p) featurette runs for 7 minutes and 51 seconds.

“Organized Chaos - An Interview with actress Kathleen Quinlan” (1080p) featurette runs for 9 minutes.

“Compassion in Space - An Interview with actor Jack Noseworthy” (1080p) featurette runs for 8 minutes and 33 seconds.

“The Doomed Captain - An Interview with actor Peter Marinker” (1080p) featurette runs for 2 minutes and 55 seconds.

“Space Cathedral - An Interview with production designer Joseph Bennett” (1080p) featurette runs for 5 minutes and 32 seconds.

“Something New - An Interview with set decorator Crispian Sallis” (1080p) featurette runs for 7 minutes and 31 seconds.

“Taking Care of It - An Interview with production manager Dusty Symonds” (1080p) featurette runs for 3 minutes and 21 seconds.

“Reinforcements - An Interview with second unit director Robin Vidgeon” (1080p) featurette runs for 3 minutes and 53 seconds.

“Almost Real - An Interview with location manager Derek Harrington” (1080p) featurette runs for 2 minutes and 57 seconds.

“Screams from the Cosmos - An Interview with sound designer Campbell Askew” (1080p) featurette runs for 6 minutes and 37 seconds.

“The Making of Event Horizon” (SD) is a documentary that runs for 103 minutes.

“The Point of No Return – The Filming of Event Horizon” (SD) featurette runs for 8 minutes and 12 seconds.

“Secrets” (SD) includes the following additional scenes:

- “Briefing Scene” runs for 2 minutes and 49 seconds, with optional audio commentary with director Paul W.S. Anderson.
- “Extended Medical Bay” runs for 53 seconds.
- “Extended Burning Man Confrontation” runs for 6 minutes and 20 seconds.

“The Unseen Event Horizon” (SD) includes:

- “The Un-Filmed Rescue Scene” scene runs for 2 minutes and 57 seconds.
- “Conceptual Art” clip runs for 3 minute and 52 seconds.

A theatrical trailer (SD) runs for 2 minutes and 29 seconds.

A video trailer (SD) runs for 1 minute and 48 seconds.

Packaging

The single disc comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keep case. The cover art is reversible. A slip-cover with new artwork is included on first pressings.

Overall

Still one of the best space horror films ever made, this new edition from Scream Factory may be as definitive as it’s ever going to get. The lack of lost footage is somewhat offset by a minor a/v overhaul and a lengthy, if somewhat overstuffed, list of bonus features… though the best ones are those that are returning from Paramount’s release.

The Film: A Video: A- Audio: A Extras: A+ Overall: A

 


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