NOTE: Bit of a surprise today. The day’s got away from me and the most recent thing I watched to catch up on it was the excellent new edition of Event Horizon. Turns out, I already wrote a long-form piece about the movie and so, with a slight tweak, but on brand, here it is. Please enjoy ‘My Event Horizon Fever Dream’, originally published in The Full Lid in 2019.
It takes a certain type of moxie too successfully land ‘A haunted house…that’s a SPACESHIP’ as a concept, It takes even more to attract a cast including Lawrence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Joely Richardson, Joan Allen, Jack Noseworthy (KING OF NAMES), Jason Isaacs and Sean Pertwee . Making it an actual, legitimately good movie that uses Orbital’s ‘’SATAN” as it’s final jump scare takes the sort of moxie that makes George Clooney nod appreciatively down the bar of the casino at you even as Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are taking your contact details for their next job.
Event Horizon, written and directed by Paul Anderson, has that moxie. The Lewis and Clark is a Deep Range Search and Rescue vessel. Someone drops the ball, they get the call, off at the gallop to save some lives. But the Event Horizo, a testbed for the world’s first interstellar drive, has just reappeared after a decade away. And Doctor Weir, the ship’s designer, wants answers…
Spoiler! ALL those answers involve horrible things!
I LOVE Event Horizon. It’s a big gore soaked puppy of a movie that folds my favorite horror tropes (‘Hi I’ll be your villain this evening’ and ‘I’ve translated the Latin and it says we’re FUCKED’) and throws them into my favorite setting. Plus it does so with no subtle at ALL. The Event Horizon’s interior looks like a cathedral had blackout sex with an Iron Maiden album cover. The drive itself looks like Pinhead’s stress toy. This is clearly The Bad Place. Which makes watching this likable crew of assholes be slowly but surely destroyed by it both all the more horrifying and all the more entertaining.
Now, word comes to us that Event Horizon is about to be adapted for TV by Amazon under the control of Adam Wingard. Wingard is a horror director with a grounded and unflinching eye and his The Guest is one of my all time favorite movies. Seriously, it is built like nothing on Earth and so much fun. He’s doing the work for Amazon, because eventually we all will, and that’s not good but hey at least this way it won’t get cancelled 2-3 seasons in for featuring women, gay people and non-Caucasians, right? NETFLIX?
But here’s the thing. I want, very badly, this to be one of those shows people don’t see coming. And, with the benefit of an unlimited budgets and not having the job? Here’s how I’d do it:
For two seasons.
Have two full seasons of the Lewis and Clark crew going on adventures. Space adventures. Space RESCUE adventures. Have Miller defy orders to drop them into a Martian dust storm and rescue a crew trapped on a stratellite. Have Stark be offered the big chair on the Fiennes and turn it down because she realizes she likes being on the Clark more. Follow Coop as the ship rescue technician finds himself working a job in the lunar habitat he grew up in. Show us the horrific trauma that leads to DJ becoming the mumbling, quiet, reserved and furious man he is. Have the Clark be the only ship available to rescue Smitty’s old posting, including the commanding officer thats he transferred to S&R to escape. Full Space Casualty! Maximum SkyTruck! You know it makes sense!
And it DOES. Throw a top notch cast in there (I’m seeing Aldis Hodge as Miller, Lauren Cohan as Starck, Toby Kebbell as Smitty for a start) and let them work and let the audience invest in the show’s fundamentally reassuring aesthetic and hard world. The simple, brutal and Fun drudgery of working S&R in a busy solar system. Make us care abut these characters, show us how they became who they are. And then?
Send them to Hell.
Play the movie out exactly as it was on the screen. Pick them off one by one and make sure it all hurts. Have evil not only assault the sanity of Doctor Weir but the very shape of the show ITSELF. Curdle Space Casualty into Space Casualties. End the show, break the toys, drop the mic and cue the music.
Or at least that’s what I’d do.
Event Horizon is in development at amazon now and the excellent new edition of the movie is out now.