Episode 75: Event Horizon (1997)

Film chosen by listener Tom Bhaduri, introduced by Devlin

Big thanks to Tom, who emailed this suggestion to us. Neither myself, Matt, nor Gali were big fans of this film in its late-90s video heyday, but we seemed to be the exceptions within our various friendship groups. Event Horizon was a true word-of-mouth, must-see film for teens of our generation, so we were pretty hyped to finally invest some time in watching it properly.

Paul W.S. Anderson’s directorial career, as financially impressive as it is, was a little overshadowed by the stellar rise of his generational-talent namesake, something which probably brought him more opprobrium from the film snob community than his actual filmography probably warranted. The needlessly snarky ‘Paul Worthless Shit Anderson’ nickname was one that certainly resonated through the poster-laden student houses of West Yorkshire, and I’m sure beyond, as we tryhards sought to stake our credentials as elevated, serious consumers of Big Idea Movies over ‘dumb shlock’.

For my part, I’ve never really been into gaming, so a lot of where Anderson was coming from, starting with his sophomore feature Mortal Kombat onwards, was a bit lost on me. His sprawling, stop-start indulgence of the Resident Evil universe completely passed me by, bar a half a watch of the first film on TV some time in the mid-00s. I’ve not seen his flashy Brit movie debut Shopping, nor his swashbuckler Three Musketeers or Vesuvian swordswinger Pompeii. I don’t remember much of Soldier, nor the Corman-remake Death Race. What I’m trying to say is I am woefully unqualified to make any kind of sweeping assessments whatsoever about Anderson’s overall abilities as a filmmaker. What I can say, is that I was a bit baffled by Mortal Kombat, and more than a little annoyed by his intergalactic throwdown AVP: Alien vs. Predator, of which surely more in the new year as we continue our LV-RMP series. But Event Horizon has always been the film that people have pointed back to, suggesting that Anderson has more to him than an IP-guzzling hack. That he had a decent vision, and the chops to create something unique and interesting and memorable.

I’ll leave it to our episode to answer the question as to whether we’ve had our…eyes opened on Anderson, and whether this film really is a misjudged, underrated sci-fi horror highpoint, or if it’s having slipped down to 79th spot in the yearly box office rankings was a fair assessment of its standards. But, an undoubtedly fascinating trip back to the 90s was had by all nonetheless.

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