Beyond the Event Horizon

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One thing the diversification of our entertainment ecosystem hasn’t changed, is that it’s still not OK to like things, if the internet says ‘no’.

Despite Sisyphean resistance against some material, I’ve always thought it important to defend and not hide the fact that you enjoyed something. And for me that doesn’t stem from any particularly smug or contrarian standpoint, but rather that it’s fundamentally a human response, enjoyment. We don’t have any control over it, it just sort of happens – and in that sense it’s all we need to know about material at a base level.

And we shouldn’t deny it.

Time has been getting kinder on Event Horizon as it enters its twenties, and that defence doesn’t seem to be the chore it once was.

We’re even starting to like New Coke now, over thirty years after the fact, so anything is possible.

stranger things eleven new coke

Releasing just before I was able to (legally) enter a cinema to see it, the only exposure I could get to Horizon was in the pages of glossy sci-fi magazines.

I finally saw it on an aged, flickering 4:3 TV after band practice late one night and into the early hours – just about as incongruent with an actual cinema as one can get, but still a bizarrely cinematic experience.

The lights were off, the ringing in my ears beginning to pass.

The whole room flickered in the darkness and we just…watched it. Silent, no pissing around, no talking. Just…watched.

The visceral impact was the first thing to affect this 18 year old. And not just the imagery (which did shock me) – it was the earnestness of the performances that chilled my bits.

Now, with (allegedly) more experience, I see the stitch-lines, places where those performances were curtailed, cut, neutered. But more of that later.

When Sam Neill screamed like that as he faced….well, no spoilers. Shudder.

event horizon sam neill scream

Whether it didn’t tie everything up neatly on purpose, or by editing, or cuts, or changes – it doesn’t matter. You didn’t need to know, and this brings me to the point – it’s not a monster flick. I disagree with the oft-repeated ‘haunted house in space’ notion, too.

Event Horizon is a cosmic horror – a journey to the unknowable beyond via the within.

…and this is why I think the ‘mangling’ of the picture after-the-fact (during?) generated the most animosity. At times I could swear it was re-shaped, beaten with panel hammers to try and resemble something else. But the core is strong, and still there – and cannot be suppressed.

That’s why I think it became a cult movie. That’s why I think people didn’t stop talking about it.

That’s why I think Amazon are smart as hell (pun intended) to explore it again, and with someone as awesome as Adam Wingard, who made his mark with The Blair Witch Project

Now back to those stitch-lines. The new series is a chance to pull those sutures out, in a different time and era.

Though the grue was always part of an unflinching ‘vision’ (a term I hate to use because it sounds like something from an early 00’s DVD puff-piece), the true horror, the spilled guts we cannot bear to look at were always the insides of something we cannot possibly understand; that we haven’t got a clue.

We don’t know who we are, what we are, where we belong in the universe. Our experiences, our perception is our only lens on ‘reality’ and it’s murky at best.

To me, that’s chilling. That’s more bracing than people on spikes.

Mostly. Probably.

Free from the obligations of making something that fits the mould of the haunted house, or the corridor n’ monster…what a wonderful opportunity, and I wish them the best of luck.

Where they’re going, they don’t need eyes.

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