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'It's just not there': Paul W.S. Anderson on why we still haven't seen 'Event Horizon' director's cut

Fans want more Event Horizon, but it would take something extraordinary to make it happen.

Event Horizon (1997)

It's been 25 years since Event Horizon first hit theaters, and the film continues to grow in esteem. Though it flopped back in 1997, Paul W.S. Anderson's haunted house in space movie has developed a devoted cult following so large and vocal that Amazon is now developing a TV series to give us more of the terrifying sci-fi horror concept. But while more Event Horizon stories might be fun, they're not what some of the film's most devoted fans really want: A director's cut.

It's no secret that the film had a rushed post-production process on its way to a summer 1997 release date, as other films were shifted around on the calendar and Paramount Pictures needed to make sure they had a movie out during blockbuster season. That meant Anderson and company had to move fast to complete the film and, facing objections from the studio, had to cut out some of the more extreme images collected for the various glimpses into the hellacious landscape of the title ship. That left a large amount of deleted footage on the cutting room floor, and while rumors have persisted over the years of this footage resurfacing in a big way, it hasn't happened yet. 

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the 25th anniversary, Anderson explained why so much of that footage is apparently lost forever: The film arrived right on the cusp of DVDs, which made deleted scenes precious bonus material fodder, but came just a bit too early for those scenes to be really vital for the home release. So, Event Horizon's extra footage was basically never prioritized.

"The problem with the deleted material is that we were right before the DVD revolution when Event Horizon was released," Anderson said. "We were going out on VHS in ancillaries. And on VHS there was no room for all of these deleted scenes, there was no reason for the studio to keep it. Now if we'd made the movie a couple of years later, they'd have been all over the deleted scenes. But by the time DVD had happened, and the audience for the movie started demanding special editions, they hadn't archived a lot of that stuff. So it's just not there."

Though boutique Blu-ray houses like Scream Factory have made concerted efforts to get their hands on the footage at various points, and whispers all over the internet suggest it might still be out there, Anderson sounds convinced that we'll never get to see more of Event Horizon than what's already present out in the world. One possible solution? Somehow get the cast back together, de-age them by 25 years, and reshoot that lost footage.

"I think to really reinstitute what the old cut was, you'd need to probably do what they did with the Snyder Cut where you have to go and shoot some material again," Anderson explained. 

Still, while that may spark some fans to try and get a "Release the Anderson Cut" campaign going for the film, the director remains proud of what Event Horizon is in its current form, despite the early stumbles at the box office.

"But I have to say, as troubled as the post-production was, and as fast as it was, I think the movie that came out is an incredibly strong film," he said. "I reduced the running time of the disturbing images, but actually didn't take much imagery out. All I did was, what had been a three-second cut, sometimes became a three-frame cut. I think ultimately by compressing the material, and making these visions of hell almost these subliminal bursts of imagery, I think it actually increased the power and the horror, rather than decreasing it. I think it had the opposite effect of what the studio was imagining."

Event Horizon is now available in a limited edition 4K Steelbook, in honor of 25 years of space horror.

Looking for something horrific to watch? Peacock has lots of horror movies to keep you suitably scared including The Amityville Haunting, The Changeling, Firestarter, and several Saw movies.

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