The 'Gruesome' Version Of Event Horizon We'll Sadly Never Get To See

"Event Horizon" is a bonafide cult classic now. The science-fiction horror extravaganza wasn't a winner at the box office, making only $42 million on a $60 million budget. But something about it has stuck with audiences, and it even taught them a tiny bit of Latin.

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson fresh off helming the original "Mortal Kombat" adaptation, "Event Horizon" is the story of an experimental starship that tunnels through another dimension and brings back a piece of Hell with it. When the crew of the ship Lewis and Clark are sent to find out what happened to the eponymous Event Horizon when it appears near Neptune, the evil within the ship shows them what one bad day really looks like. The film features a bang-up cast, including Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Jason Issacs, and Kathleen Quinlan.

Despite its cult status after release, "Event Horizon" has not enjoyed a home release with all the additional bells and whistles. That's because it's sadly missing production materials to make such a release a reality.

Save yourself from the footage

"Event Horizon" was never intended to be a tentpole film. In an interview at Toronto Underground Cinema in 2011, director Paul W.S. Anderson admitted that it only got a Summer release because James Cameron had to delay "Titanic." Given its status as a substitution and its subsequent box office take, archiving any unused footage wasn't a high priority. This means when it came time to potentially do a director's cut, Anderson and crew found there wasn't any additional footage and that which was available wasn't of great quality.

"That movie has become a great seller for Paramount. They asked me if I wanted to do a director's cut. I investigated, and unfortunately, the material just isn't available anymore," Anderson told the San Diego Reader when asked about a potential director's cut. "We shot that movie before the DVD revolution. DVDs gave movies a great afterlife. You had to generate more material for the DVD — behind-the-scenes stuff, deleted scenes, etc. Event Horizon came out just before that. Because the movie wasn't a giant theatrical hit, the studio just didn't keep the material. The footage doesn't exist anymore to reinstate it in a director's cut."

Anderson said that most of the negatives had been thrown away or stored poorly. At one point, there was a rumor that some of the additional footage had been found on a VHS tape. Anderson said that he's never seen the tape, as producer Lloyd Levin, who was rumored to have it, moved to Spain.

Where we're going, we won't need deleted scenes

Anderson did recall the scenes that were cut, however. At a Toronto Underground Cinema Q&A, he said that the studio stopped watching the dailies after the initial footage of the crew exploring the ship, so the production team was able to go wild after that. "We shot all of the kind of dark, disturbing stuff later in the shoot," said Anderson. "I think they never really saw it. The first time the studio saw the movie was at the first test screening."

Anderson called the test cut "gruesome." A lot of the footage related to Hell was cut entirely, with Anderson recalling "endless amounts of orgies and blood." He said it was influenced by the art of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel. Amputees were used for scenes of people missing limbs and adult film actors were used for the orgies. Anderson went all-in on Hell.

Deleted scenes also featured many of the main characters. One scene in the finished film has Medical Technician Peters (played by Kathleen Quinlan) seeing a hallucination of her son's mangled legs. The deleted version included writhing maggots on the boy's legs. The visions of Hell, showing the crew being tortured at the end, were also much longer in the original test cut.

Anderson believes that most of the deleted footage was probably too extreme for audience and took them out of the film. "In the original cut screened for test audiences, she looks down at the withered legs and we cut back to Kathleen. She looks at the legs again and suddenly there were maggots crawling all over the legs," he explained. "At that point, the audience turned away from the screen. I lost them. They disengaged with the movie because I had pushed them too far. It was an important lesson for me to learn to show a little restraint sometimes. You keep the audience rather than pushing them so far that you break the suspension of disbelief."

It's time to go back to Hell

The director has thought about doing a prequel to "Event Horizon," showcasing the fates of the original ship's crew. "We've talked about it, doing the original voyage of the Event Horizon or following up on Richard T. Jones and Joely Richardson's stories as the lone survivors at the end," he told the Toronto Underground Cinema audience. Sadly, nothing has happened on that front.

Back in 2019, Amazon and Paramount Television did announce the development of an "Event Horizon" television series. "Godzilla vs. Kong" director Adam Wingard was set to direct and executive produce the series. But that potential series has yet to surface, and Wingard has a number of future projects on his plate, including a sequel to "Godzilla vs Kong" that's shooting later this year.

For his part, Anderson has no announced future projects at the moment, so perhaps he can once again take the helm of the haunted ghost ship and show us some new horizons in Hell.