Event Horizon featuring Laurence Fishburne

How bad can Event Horizon really be? For that matter, how can any movie starring Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) possibly go wrong?

In this 1997 sci-fi cult classic, an experimental space vessel takes a wrong turn at the planet Neptune and takes an inter-dimensional trip … to Hell!

Captain Miller (Fishburne) is the commander of The “Lewis and Clark”, a deep space salvage vessel contracted to recover a derelict star-ship. Miller, along with his crew and a scientist by the name of Dr. Weir (Neill), investigate the wreckage of the “Event Horizon” a ship lost on its maiden voyage seven years earlier and now mysteriously discovered in orbit around Neptune – all hands presumed dead. Soon after boarding the abandoned hulk, it becomes obvious to captain Miller and company that something is terribly wrong with the ship.
The Event Horizon is a starship from hell.

Yeah it’s a haunted ship. The ship went to hell and it came back haunted. What remains of the ship’s log contains nightmarish images of the original crew; Images of people being impaled, having their eyes gouged out, and other scenes of brutal torture. The log concludes with an ominous Latin message: liberate tutame … ex inferis – Save yourself from Hell!

As you might expect things don’t go well for the crew of the Lewis and Clark. A comedy of errors traps the crew aboard the Event Horizon and things just keep getting weirder by the moment. That’s really where this movie becomes awesomely bad.

It seems that the ship can get inside your head and show you things, terrible dark secrets you’ve never told another living soul. I guess having an inanimate mass of steel and outdated computers screw with you like that can really do a number on you. Some malevolence has attached itself to the Event Horizon while it was casually exploring some hell dimension. Now the ship itself becomes the villain, or monster, or whatever.

We’ve seen every possible derivative of the classic haunted house. I think the best was the haunted car – Christine. There are even some parallels between the two films. Arnie Cunningham eventually embraces his evil car in a similar way to which Dr. Weir eventually embraces his evil spaceship.
Did you bring enough CO2 Scrubbers?

Of course Captain Miller’s ship, The Lewis and Clark, being a “deep space salvage vessel” has very limited number of Co2 scrubbers. Yes, by all means carry the minimum number of essential supplies on a deep space mission. Be prepared for nothing! No mention is made of their oxygen supply.
No One Has Any Guns?

Miller makes mention of his intent to get to a safe distance and launch tac-missiles at the Event Horizon, but he and his crew are otherwise unarmed? Uh … What? You anticipated a situation that would necessitate tactical missiles, but while boarding a ship under unknown circumstances you carried no sidearm?
Why would you make a ship like this?

The Event Horizon has by far the worst industrial design I’ve ever seen in science fiction. The engineering section of the ship is separated from the bridge by a laughably long and narrow corridor. As one would expect, this corridor is rigged with explosives. Maybe the propulsion system is so dangerous, that the designer thought this was the only reasonable means by which to keep the crew safely away from its harmful effects and ultimately, escape in the event of some catastrophic failure. The interior design is something else altogether. Crew areas within the ship are designed with some kind of oppressive Gothic architecture. everything is dark and foreboding. I’m sure this contributed to the decline of original crew’s mental health.
What is wrong with you, Dr. Weir?

Did I mention Dr Weir is crazy? Well, Dr. Wier is crazy. He begins the film within a dream about his suicidal wife; a dream in which she has slit her wrists in the bathtub and her eyes have been gouged out. I wouldn’t call it a nightmare though, he shares a loving embrace with his naked eyeless dead wife. Yeah, Dr. Weir is crazy. Didn’t anyone catch this during a routine psych eval? This is the guy who designed the damned Event Horizon. Weir eventually succumbs to the darkness and develops a full blown fetish for gouged-out-eyes.
Event Horizon is Awesomely Bad

It’s not that Event Horizon; is a terrible movie. It’s just that this 1997 sci-fi/horror movie is so darkly weird. Or maybe it’s weirdly dark. Either way Event Horizon has more than its fair share of both darkness and weirdness. For example, look at the Event Horizon’s “gravity drive”. Does this technology really need to look like some kind of medieval torture device? Yeah. It’s awesomely bad.

Originally Published 14 April 2015

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