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THE F*CKING BLACK SHEEP: Event Horizon (1997)

02.03.2012by: Ryan Doom

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Event Horizon (1997)
Directed by Paul WS Anderson

“Not only is it watchable and entertaining, but it’s solid, one of the best sci-horror movies ever produced.”

I don’t know if many people define Event Horizon as a badass movie. I don’t mean a good movie...no, I mean a real badass, outstanding, f*cked up movie that has never got its due. It should. It’s hell in space in so many ways as it not only looks scary (not one happy color to be seen), but the thing looks painful. It feels horrific and at times is difficult to watch. Not because of sheer gore, but because of agony the crew is put through. The Event Horizon makes the crew go straight crazy, causing just about everyone to rip out their eyeballs (lots and lots of eyeballs get missing). I never bothered trying that myself, but damn, it sure looks like it hurts.

I hadn’t watched Event Horizon for the better part of a decade, but a few scenes stuck out in my head. I vividly remember Sam Neill going full creep villain as he went mad (and ripped out his eyeballs). I remember the Event Horizon’s (the missing ship that the crew is sent to find) spinning innards, a mashing of metal that looked like it might actually work. And I remember blood. Lots and lots of blood. However, my memory wasn’t positive because of one name: Paul WS Anderson. Yeah, the dude who made Mortal Kombat and Alien Vs Predator. Not the worst the director ever, but his movies always taste like cheap whiskey. I like the effect it gives, but it never tastes quality. Event Horizon might be his one exception.

Looking back to 1997 it seems kinda funny that a sci-fi horror was anchored by Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne. I tend to picture both actors now, past their primes, relegated to TV and guest stars in a few movies. Though I think of them as “safe” actors today, I have to remember that they once took chances and once made some damn good flicks. Neill in Jurassic Park and In the Mouth of Madness. Fishburne in Boyz in the Hood and King of New York (a year away from hitting big time with The Matrix).

Anyway, when I gave Event Horizon another shot I was damned impressed. Not only is it watchable and entertaining, but it’s solid, one of the best sci-horror movies ever produced. The acting is never sucks, the production value looks real (I love the ship design), the story captivates, and the fear within plays authentic. Now the cynic might say the film is just a haunted house in space. Well, duh. But isn’t every movie just a spin on another genre? Horizon borrows a lot from Stargate, but smartly ditches the pseudo-Egyptians for demons from hell. It also smartly mimics Alien with the blue-collar approach to the ship. Dudes get the shit work. Small touches like having to patch the outside of the hull works well in making that world seem like it exists.

I’m sure the budget wasn’t much as there aren’t a lot of effects for a space film, but then again the best horror movies are the ones that make best use of their budget. They work within the limitations of the environment. Event Horizon does that effectively with not just the confined space of space and the space ship, but the fear of the unknown in space. The idea of opening up another dimensions in space (just to knock out some travel time) is the ultimate unknown. Hell is most likely a shitty place. If it’s anything like Event Horizon, it’s about time I make a return to church…before it’s too late. And I rip my eyeballs out.

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5:23PM on 02/08/2012
this movie definitely scared the crap out of me when i first saw it, love the ending when we find out our female protagonist has been driven crazy (and might be one nightmare away from ripping out her eyeballs)
this movie definitely scared the crap out of me when i first saw it, love the ending when we find out our female protagonist has been driven crazy (and might be one nightmare away from ripping out her eyeballs)
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11:59PM on 02/05/2012

"You know nothing, Hell is only a word. The reality is much, much worse."

I really love a lot of Sam Niell's lines in this movie. "Where we're going, you won't need eyes to see." That's some scary shit, especially coming for a creepy eyeless Sam Niell. I also really like the makeup job they did on him for the film's climax. The naked, heavily lacerated Dr. Weir saying some scary ass shit about going back to hell, mixed in with some gory, torturous visions, "Let me show you!!!!". Awesome stuff! Sci-fi horror doesn't get much better than this. Your review is spot on.
I really love a lot of Sam Niell's lines in this movie. "Where we're going, you won't need eyes to see." That's some scary shit, especially coming for a creepy eyeless Sam Niell. I also really like the makeup job they did on him for the film's climax. The naked, heavily lacerated Dr. Weir saying some scary ass shit about going back to hell, mixed in with some gory, torturous visions, "Let me show you!!!!". Awesome stuff! Sci-fi horror doesn't get much better than this. Your review is spot on.
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12:58PM on 02/05/2012

Love this

I've always loved this film, event though lots of gore was edited out of it at the last minute. The budget was $70M, not a small budget, and was a HUUUUGE bomb at the BO, mostly because Paramount didn't promote it well. Did you know that the design for the EH was inspired by Notre Dame de Paris, put upside down.
I've always loved this film, event though lots of gore was edited out of it at the last minute. The budget was $70M, not a small budget, and was a HUUUUGE bomb at the BO, mostly because Paramount didn't promote it well. Did you know that the design for the EH was inspired by Notre Dame de Paris, put upside down.
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+1
11:12AM on 02/05/2012

Absolutely love Event Horizon

Right from the moment i first saw it. I did wonder why i had never heard of it before.
Right from the moment i first saw it. I did wonder why i had never heard of it before.
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+0
11:22PM on 02/04/2012

I enjoy it

Event Horizon isn't really scary alot of the time, but I do think its pretty cool. I remember seeing the promo pics when it came out in a sci-fi mag (remember magazines?) and it looked pretty gory. Watching it in college was definitely sweet. Lawrence Fishburne does well as does anyone else who I forgot. Its not amazing but it is a better kind of 'hellraiser in space' movie than the actual Hellraiser film that took place in space.
Event Horizon isn't really scary alot of the time, but I do think its pretty cool. I remember seeing the promo pics when it came out in a sci-fi mag (remember magazines?) and it looked pretty gory. Watching it in college was definitely sweet. Lawrence Fishburne does well as does anyone else who I forgot. Its not amazing but it is a better kind of 'hellraiser in space' movie than the actual Hellraiser film that took place in space.
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+1
11:22PM on 02/04/2012

I enjoy it

Event Horizon isn't really scary alot of the time, but I do think its pretty cool. I remember seeing the promo pics when it came out in a sci-fi mag (remember magazines?) and it looked pretty gory. Watching it in college was definitely sweet. Lawrence Fishburne does well as does anyone else who I forgot. Its not amazing but it is a better kind of 'hellraiser in space' movie than the actual Hellraiser film that took place in space.
Event Horizon isn't really scary alot of the time, but I do think its pretty cool. I remember seeing the promo pics when it came out in a sci-fi mag (remember magazines?) and it looked pretty gory. Watching it in college was definitely sweet. Lawrence Fishburne does well as does anyone else who I forgot. Its not amazing but it is a better kind of 'hellraiser in space' movie than the actual Hellraiser film that took place in space.
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9:25PM on 02/04/2012

Doesn't hold up

I only caught a part of this movie some years back; storm outside, pitch black inside and I stumble upon DJ's death. I'd just finished watching something, and I didnīt make it five minutes before I said 'fuck that. I'll see it some other time!'

Since then I've watched it several times, and yeah the gore looks good and the whole production design is great, but the film has zero scares and it makes me wanna skip everything that doesn't have blood in it.
I still recommend it, but it's never
I only caught a part of this movie some years back; storm outside, pitch black inside and I stumble upon DJ's death. I'd just finished watching something, and I didnīt make it five minutes before I said 'fuck that. I'll see it some other time!'

Since then I've watched it several times, and yeah the gore looks good and the whole production design is great, but the film has zero scares and it makes me wanna skip everything that doesn't have blood in it.
I still recommend it, but it's never recaptured the magic it first left upon me.
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10:10AM on 02/04/2012

It's a horror remake of a Russian art film

I'm surprised that no one here noticed that the film is obviously a twisted remake of Tarkovsky's Solaris. The major difference is that while Solaris is presented almost like an inscrutable god who forces the astronauts to face their pasts in Tarkovsky's film - in this film the black hole is actually hell, and the doubles from their memories are actually demons ... from hell.
I'm surprised that no one here noticed that the film is obviously a twisted remake of Tarkovsky's Solaris. The major difference is that while Solaris is presented almost like an inscrutable god who forces the astronauts to face their pasts in Tarkovsky's film - in this film the black hole is actually hell, and the doubles from their memories are actually demons ... from hell.
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1:14AM on 02/04/2012
I have always loved this film since seeing it in the theater back in 1997 (my mom had to take me cuz i was only 16 at the time) and it still stands as one of the most disturbing films i've ever seen
I have always loved this film since seeing it in the theater back in 1997 (my mom had to take me cuz i was only 16 at the time) and it still stands as one of the most disturbing films i've ever seen
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11:49PM on 02/03/2012
I whole heartedly agree with this opinion. I have nothing new to add or anything to the contrary to state.
I whole heartedly agree with this opinion. I have nothing new to add or anything to the contrary to state.
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11:34PM on 02/03/2012
It's the closest thing to a good movie Paul Widescreen Anderson has ever directed. The third act still leaves a really bad taste in my mouth but upon repeat viewings it's annoyed me less and less. It's probably because I own all of the Resident Evil movies.

Yeah, that must be it.
It's the closest thing to a good movie Paul Widescreen Anderson has ever directed. The third act still leaves a really bad taste in my mouth but upon repeat viewings it's annoyed me less and less. It's probably because I own all of the Resident Evil movies.

Yeah, that must be it.
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10:47PM on 02/03/2012

Love this movie!

I remember going to see this movie thinking it was just a sci fi action flick, boy was I wrong! Me and my buddy walked out scared as shit, great horror flick!
I remember going to see this movie thinking it was just a sci fi action flick, boy was I wrong! Me and my buddy walked out scared as shit, great horror flick!
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+4
9:44PM on 02/03/2012

Scared the shit out of me...

I'm not a huge fan of Paul W.S. Anderson, but this is a very good SciFi/Horror film. I had not been so impressed with a film of the sort since Carpenter's The Thing and Scott's original Alien... Come to think of it, I haven't seen anything decent from the SciFi/Horror genre since. Some may work well as a horror film, or work well as a Sci Fi film, but this one just works. I rewatched it recently and it's just as impressive as I remembered from when I was little. I don't remember there being
I'm not a huge fan of Paul W.S. Anderson, but this is a very good SciFi/Horror film. I had not been so impressed with a film of the sort since Carpenter's The Thing and Scott's original Alien... Come to think of it, I haven't seen anything decent from the SciFi/Horror genre since. Some may work well as a horror film, or work well as a Sci Fi film, but this one just works. I rewatched it recently and it's just as impressive as I remembered from when I was little. I don't remember there being hate for this one, but then again, I don't remember there being hate for Boondock Saints either, and apparently the critics didn't care for that much
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8:11PM on 02/03/2012
Event Horizon is a better movie than it should be.
It also must be cheap to license because I've watched it many, many times on late night tv. It never disappoints.
Event Horizon is a better movie than it should be.
It also must be cheap to license because I've watched it many, many times on late night tv. It never disappoints.
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8:09PM on 02/03/2012

??????

this flick aint a black sheep, even paul anderson haters (like me) admit its the bees knees. When i saw the headline i thought it was someone going to argue that it sucked.
this flick aint a black sheep, even paul anderson haters (like me) admit its the bees knees. When i saw the headline i thought it was someone going to argue that it sucked.
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+4
6:21PM on 02/03/2012
I actually just watched this again, and it was pretty good I thought. However, Anderson's lack of storytelling imagination still shows here, especially toward the end as things get more generic. But it's still effective and has a really cool/freaky concept behind it. That footage of the crew that they find still creeps me out.
I actually just watched this again, and it was pretty good I thought. However, Anderson's lack of storytelling imagination still shows here, especially toward the end as things get more generic. But it's still effective and has a really cool/freaky concept behind it. That footage of the crew that they find still creeps me out.
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6:18PM on 02/03/2012

Black Sheep

I'm with some other people here - I had no idea there was a feeling in the genre community that this movie sucked. Everyone I know thinks it's the tits. EH rules!
I'm with some other people here - I had no idea there was a feeling in the genre community that this movie sucked. Everyone I know thinks it's the tits. EH rules!
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6:12PM on 02/03/2012

HELL YAH!

This movie is the shit! Best line is definetly:

"I will launch TAC missiles at the Event Horizon until I'm satisfied she's vaporized. Fuck this ship!"

Its a great movie. Its got a decent story, and has super crazy shit in it, which is always a plus. Everyone should watch this movie.
This movie is the shit! Best line is definetly:

"I will launch TAC missiles at the Event Horizon until I'm satisfied she's vaporized. Fuck this ship!"

Its a great movie. Its got a decent story, and has super crazy shit in it, which is always a plus. Everyone should watch this movie.
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5:53PM on 02/03/2012
I remember hiding from this film as when it was being released in the theaters I wasn't wow'd enough to go see it. I finally watched it, its been many years now, and remember being totally creeped the fuck out. I think I need to go buy this and revisit it.
I remember hiding from this film as when it was being released in the theaters I wasn't wow'd enough to go see it. I finally watched it, its been many years now, and remember being totally creeped the fuck out. I think I need to go buy this and revisit it.
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+5
5:28PM on 02/03/2012
I largely agree with this Re-review. I'm a horror fan at bloody heart and after revisiting the blu-ray a few months back I still feel the good far outweighs the bad and the film still holds up well today.
I largely agree with this Re-review. I'm a horror fan at bloody heart and after revisiting the blu-ray a few months back I still feel the good far outweighs the bad and the film still holds up well today.
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+2
5:07PM on 02/03/2012
Love this flic! However watching it, I always feel somethingīs missing. Most of the backstories of the characters seems lost on the cutting room, lessen the impact of their fears and nightmares become real. Thatīs why Iīm eagerly waiting for a directorīs cut of this one!!
Love this flic! However watching it, I always feel somethingīs missing. Most of the backstories of the characters seems lost on the cutting room, lessen the impact of their fears and nightmares become real. Thatīs why Iīm eagerly waiting for a directorīs cut of this one!!
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5:30PM on 02/03/2012
Agreed. I would likely double dip this on a Director's Cut blu-ray.
Agreed. I would likely double dip this on a Director's Cut blu-ray.
-11
4:51PM on 02/03/2012
I'm surprised this is being written in support of Event Horizon, since everyone I know who's seen it loves it.
Except me, I hated it.
I'm surprised this is being written in support of Event Horizon, since everyone I know who's seen it loves it.
Except me, I hated it.
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11:51PM on 02/03/2012
We'll agree to disagree, but it was still brave of you to say this with honesty, so great stuff.
We'll agree to disagree, but it was still brave of you to say this with honesty, so great stuff.
2:32PM on 02/03/2012

Great

Great flick, however I don't know if it would be eligible for a Black Sheep column, I always hear near universal praise for this film.
Great flick, however I don't know if it would be eligible for a Black Sheep column, I always hear near universal praise for this film.
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+1
12:13PM on 02/03/2012
I like this flick a lot. I think it's his best by far. Soldier is probably the other one I dig the most.

The part where the guy gets stuck in the airlock still freaks me out.
I like this flick a lot. I think it's his best by far. Soldier is probably the other one I dig the most.

The part where the guy gets stuck in the airlock still freaks me out.
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11:59AM on 02/03/2012

as a kid...

All I know is that I saw this in 6th grade was sufficiently terrified. I really don't think much has scared me as much as this did, then. Who knows, it might have blown my fear reactor. Either way, I was obsessed with it for years, and still hope they release that rumored [link]' version one day.
All I know is that I saw this in 6th grade was sufficiently terrified. I really don't think much has scared me as much as this did, then. Who knows, it might have blown my fear reactor. Either way, I was obsessed with it for years, and still hope they release that rumored [link]' version one day.
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11:35AM on 02/03/2012
PA has some solid films! Soldier, Shopping, Resident Evil, Death race and this bad boy. Loved it!
PA has some solid films! Soldier, Shopping, Resident Evil, Death race and this bad boy. Loved it!
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+2
9:51AM on 02/03/2012

Event Horrifying!

I'll have to get this flick a re-watch but from what I remember, it was scary as hell!
I'll have to get this flick a re-watch but from what I remember, it was scary as hell!
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