The ’90s Sci-Fi Horror Thriller That Would Be Illegal To Shoot Today

By Robert Scucci | Published

Event Horizon is one of those rare cult classic films that will probably never get a proper director’s cut, according to Yahoo!. It’s a shame for folks who love this film and want to see more of it even all of these years later.

Not Archived Properly

Event Horizon Jason Isaacs

Though rabid fans of the 1997 science fiction horror film would love to get their hands on the lost scenes that ultimately met their fate on the cutting-room floor, the unfortunate reality is that many of those controversial scenes weren’t archived properly, and may never resurface.

But according to Jason Isaacs, who portrayed D.J. in the film, the scenes were so graphic that they were probably illegal to film in the first place.

So Graphic Audience Got Sick

The original cut of Event Horizon had a run-time of 130 minutes. But during test screenings, audience members were made physically sick when they witnessed the gratuitous gore and sexually explicit scenes in question.

The most notable scene that was cut short in the film involved a bloody orgy in which pornographic actors were hired to carry out disturbing sexual acts so they’d seem more convincing. What’s more, amputees were hired to act in the scenes that involved crew members getting mutilated and killed to make the gore look more realistic.

Average Viewers Couldn’t Stomach It

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One of the more upsetting scenes involved an extremely detailed latex model of Isaac’s D.J. character, completely naked, gutted, and hung upside down from hooks.

The original cut of Event Horizon depicted a close-up of his insides before the camera pulled back into a wider shot.

After it was decided that this scene was too much for the average viewer to stomach, the trimmed down version started with a wider establishing shot, which was considerably less grotesque.

Executives Were Shocked

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After Paramount executives saw the first test screening of Event Horizon, they were shocked by how much gore was in the film, and demanded a shorter run-time.

There was also a time crunch that caused the editing process to be rushed. There was a looming deadline that the editing staff had to adhere to in order to get the movie released in August.

This was important to Paramount because they needed an interim hit after Titanic’s release was delayed from September to December 1997.

The rushed post-production schedule didn’t do Event Horizon any favors at the box office, however.


jason isaacs event horizon

Event Horizon was a critical and commercial failure, earning only $42 million against its reported budget of $60 million. But the film became a hit after its initial DVD release.

In fact, it became so popular on the back end of its theatrical release the studio and Anderson alike wanted to take a crack at putting out a director’s cut.

A Lot To Be Desired

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Though a healthy amount of gore was still utilized during some of the more intense shock-cut sequences, it goes without saying that Event Horizon’s 96-minute theatrical cut left a lot to be desired.

Director Paul W. S. Anderson has since stated that although the original cut of the movie was too long, he felt that the version that we’re familiar with is about 10 minutes too short.

But even if Anderson thinks Event Horizon would benefit from those missing 10 minutes, the footage in question was not archived properly, and is either missing or damaged.

Had the movie been filmed just a couple of years later, the footage would have likely been digitized, and we’d be able to witness the director’s cut that has been talked about for all of these years.