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Tuesday, 1 May 2012


EVENT HORIZON (1997) is often dubbed 'Hellraiser in Space' (so that's Hellraiser 4, then). Rewatching it 15 years (!) after its release and it's hard to disagree. However, I don't recall any of the Hellraisers having a comedy black astronaut in them, so that's '1 - Nil' to Event Horizon as far as I'm concerned.

Sci-Fi Sound Effect #23: WOM WOM WOM WOM WOM WOM

This film does a few others things right, in my humble (telescope) opinion. Firstly, it's a haunted house movie, and as such the Event Horizon ship itself is treated like one, with Gothic spikes, brickwork and archways making up the interior. A sense of scale isn't necessarily achieved, given that the shots inside don't appear to add up to the bulk presented on the exterior, but this reverse-TARDIS warping of space ties in with the story nicely: The Event Horizon reappears seven years after it literally vanished. Its onboard 'gravity drive' allows the ship to bend time and space, travelling from one point to another instantaneously. However, this folding of the continuum has caused something to go wrong, and the ship isn't the same as when it first disappeared...

Other dimensions. Beyond the known universe. Man-made black holes. Those are my other favourite ingredients. None of this adds up to anything remotely healthy as the ill-fated crew of the Lewis and Clark board the Event Horizon as part of a rescue mission. Helping them figure out what's what is Sam Neill's character, Dr Weir. He created the Event Horizon and, well, he just might be a little too attached to his creation. Sam Neill provides one the film's best sort-of-screams, as wonderfully demonstrated by this clip:


What also impresses me is the general fortitude of the crew. Sure, they scream and panic a bit, but one of the most disgusting sights they witness is in the main control room/cockpit - partially eviscerated bodies line one side in a gloopy red mess, and no one really comments on this, despite standing next to it for quite a while. "I wonder what happened here?" is asked by one crew member with all the curiosity of someone pondering what sandwiches their mum put in their packed lunch. "Something bloody awful" would be my guess. "Let's get the fuck off this ship now" would be my next expletive-ridden sentiment. But, dutiful crew that they are, everybody tries to ascertain what happened to the crew, or more precisely, what sent them bananas and caused them to rip each other apart/vanish.

Did the ship visit Hell? "Hell is a name" says one character, before revealing that the reality is far, far worse. Snatches of grisly torture images involving hooks, barbed wire and that old favourite - maggots - bombard the eyes/minds of the crew and the audience. Not the minds of the audience, just the eyes. Unless the film had a severely disturbing impact on you, then you might want to check you're not stuck in a space ship's stasis pod having a terrible nightmare.

But if it all starts to get too much for you, don't worry - Cooper, the rescue technician, is on hand with a selection of witty quips. Which, god bless the internet, I don't have to type up: COOPER QUOTES.

And last of all, the thing I appreciate the most is the cool but wholly inappropriate end credits music. Because nothing says 'deep space hell' more than a high pitched sample of someone going 'Oh my god that's the funky shit':

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