The Underrated Event Horizon

When the Event Horizon, a spacecraft that vanished years earlier, suddenly reappears, a team is dispatched to investigate the ship. Accompanied by the Event Horizon’s creator, William Weir, the crew of the Lewis and Clark, led by Capt. Miller, begins to explore the seemingly abandoned vessel. However, it soon becomes evident that something sinister resides in its corridors, and that the horrors that befell the Event Horizon’s previous journey are still present. — IMDB

1997 People Had Hope!

When my mother went to Blockbusters, we were members with our cards and all where six movies would cost only like $10.00 for rentals. Good times! Well, I was a fan of the Alien franchise, Ripley being a role model to me. I wanted to watch Alien III because it was the one I didn’t watch, but the movie wasn’t there.

The guy behind the counter suggested Event Horizon. He said that the movie was science-fiction and horror mixed together. He said I’d like it. So, my mother rented it, and when coming home, we put pushed play on the VHS and the movie that changed my perception of time and space started.

2015: First permanent colony established on the moon.
2032: Commercial mining begins on Mars.
2040: Deep space research vessel, Event Horizon launched to explore the boundaries of the solar system.

The Event Horizon disappeared without a trace beyond the eighth planet, Neptune. It is the worst space disaster on record.

2047 NOW

The movie revolves around the Event Horizon, a starship capable of FTL which is, according to the laws of physics, impossible. The Event Horizon was part of a Code Black project, meaning higher than “Top Secret” because of its capabilities. All those people knew was that the starship and its crew disappeared around Neptune’s orbit.

When Dr. Weir joins the crew of the U.S.A.C, Lewis & Clark a Search and Rescue ship, he meets with Captain Miller, Dr. D.J., Medical Technician Peters, Lieutenant Stark, Rescue Specialist Lieutenant Cooper, Pilot Smith, and Ensign Justin, he must explain the unexplainable: how his starship could bend the laws of physics.

Event Horizon - 1997
Event Horizon – 1997

Many, still shaken by the disappearance of the crew, find Dr. Weir untrustworthy until he takes a piece of paper and explains the way his starship worked. While many believe a straight line is the fastest way to get from Point A to Point B, Dr. Weir assured them the correct answer is Point 0.

The temporarily folding of space and time would create a gateway. It suggests the creation of a wormhole to get through the distance they need. It would reappear where they should be according to plan. However, the starship disappeared for seven years.

Relativity Drive

So, I do love Event Horizon for many reasons I’m not going to start enumerating them. However, there are some holes in the FTL physics or more accurately, “pseudo-physics.” The demonstration given by Dr. Weir was the suggestion of a wormhole. We all agree on that. However, the core itself is a replicated or artificially constructed black hole. While no one ever encountered a black hole, touched it goo and come back to talk about it, Dr. Weir figured it out somehow and build one to power the ship.

Note here. I’m not an astrophysicist and even less a scientist, just a very enthusiastic sci-fi nerd who reads all about science. Now, Dr. Weir explained that the way to travel faster than light is to cheat it by creating short cuts implying that the actual core is the famous “warp drive,” then the demonstration with the point A and B with the piece of paper is more of a wormhole engine. Then again, scenes in the movie make the entire process look more like a hyperdrive system.

Focused Gravitons

When Dr. Weir mentions the drive using focused gravitons, it implied he used the overly immense gravity of an artificial black hole to bend space itself to allow it to go faster than light. If you saw the movie, you must remember Ensign Justin sticking his finger in the “black hole goo” and the core pulling him when eventually, Cooper brought him back. That wouldn’t happen like this at all in real life. However, before bitching about the movie’s pseudo-physics, let us remember that Dr. Weir expresses his belief about the event to be impossible.

Event Horizon – 1997

If you wonder about the Lewis & Clark vessel, their engine is an ion drive acceleration process. This process imply that the engine uses individual atoms as a mass reaction to propel a ship that is, let’s face it, incredibly more massive. While it is economical on fuel generation, its low velocity becomes a handicap as it would progressively accelerate. So, when Dr. D.J. says that the activation of the core would generate enough g-force to liquify a body, it is most likely wrong.

So, we can agree that while the entire pseudo-physics isn’t a hundred percent on the spot, it isn’t entirely wrong either. At its core, it is still quite impressive.

Cyber Gothic Architecture

The overall look of the Event Horizon ship got its inspiration from the Notre Dame Cathedral. It is one of the most original thoughts. Because the movie harmonized itself with both science fiction and horror, a gothic look is a perfect choice.

The “meat grinder” corridor between the front of part of the ship and core engine, told by Dr. Weir that its purpose is solely to reduce the effects of the gravitational field, is the design of the famous and beloved French cathedral. Down to the exterior design is a result of mixing images of the landmark. The rose window inspired the structural scaffolding.

Event Horizon – 1997

The ship itself, coming back in scanning by Lt. Stark, as alive brings the theory that whatever the ship ended up within when it disappeared, came back with it as either an entity or some kind of organic microscopic self-aware presence that made the ship its home and needs more humans to bring back with it.

The Horror Factor

There are many scenes in throughout the entire movie that demonstrates horror. While there are some classics, “the cat scare” with the empty glove hitting Captain Miller when visiting the Event Horizon for the first time. It also disregarded African Americans as being the first one to die. Lt. Cooper lasts to the end, and Captain Miller sacrifices himself to save the last three members of his crew.

The unknown is the main focus of the horror factor throughout the movie. The crew is looking for a way to leave the Event Horizon while the Lewis & Clark is under repair—attached to the Event Horizon‘s exoskeleton, caused by a breach triggered by Justin’s curiosity surrounding the engine when exploring the ship for survivors and logs.

Event Horizon - 1997
Event Horizon – 1997

Three members of the rescue crew faced strange hallucinations coming to life before their eyes. Dr. Weir’s wife committed suicide due to neglect before the Event Horizon. Captain Miller abandoned a member of his crew to burn alive on a mission. Peters’ missing her child because of the Event Horizon. Those are the following incidents leading to the belief that the ship is alive and victim of either possession or hauntings.

The Haunted

Nobody left alive, corrupted logs on a CD, distress called received by N.A.S.A. missing parts of a message from the original crew all lead, again, to the unknown. What happened to the crew? Why is the Event Horizon back where it disappeared, and why does it look like a tomb? Why the corruption of files are the focal points?

Dr. Weir is the one who has to come out with explanations. He tries to rationalize the crew’s reaction to hallucinations created by the “insert whatever foolish psychological explanation you want” to calm the crew down. Alas, nothing works in his favor.

After all, Dr. Weir is the one target for the ship, his ship.

Some Latin?

It is evident that the first crew from the Event Horizon had a smart captain. How do we know? Because he shows off his Latin, however, one could think it is his trademark phrase, just like Captain Picard had in Star Trek The Next Generation every time the Enterprise would go on a mission, “Engage!” or “Make it so!”

Captain John Kilpack clearly says at the beginning of the visual log on the touchscreen of the central station, “Ave atque vale,” meaning, “Hail and farewell.”

The establishment of the unknown is the focal point of the horror setting. It revolves around the corruption of the CD log. The distress call shows up with distortion. The message from a human voice, hearth through a cascade of screams and cries, seems to speak some language that only Dr. D.J. can recognize.

Event Horizon – 1997

D.J. is an introvert, quiet and not quite social but very protective of the people he loved. Walking around with a cigarette either in his hand or his mouth, he wears a vest with many medical tools and syringes. Later in the movie, it is clear D.J. and Captain Miller are close friends and served for many years together.

When the first distress call plays, Dr. D.J. recognizes words in Latin and replay the voice lost in a cacophony of lamentations and agonizing voices, “Liberate me,” which would mean “Save me.”

However, later on, when D.J. is sitting in the stasis chambers of the Event Horizon along with Captain Miller, the doctor shows concern and fear which is out of character for the “nerd” of the crew and mention his mistake.

He heard the message of Captain John Kilpack wrong and clarified what he honestly said, “Libera te tutemet ex inferis,” which translates to, “Save yourselves from hell.”

Curiouser and Curiouser

The Event Horizon strangely designed its depressurization chambers. Its sequence doesn’t have cancellations from either side of the airlock once activated. While it is a reasonable precaution for the starship one would think that an abort command should be available or a vocal control from a commanding officer such as the X.O. of the crew, Lt. Stark. I mean, it did take a total of 90 seconds for the depressurizing process.

Event Horizon - 1997
Event Horizon – 1997

While I find it strange for Justin to wake up and to want to commit suicide after seeing what they refer to as some type of hellish dimension that the Event Horizon went to, I do not understand when the possession leaves him not wanting to die. He clearly states that the dark is coming for them.

So, everything points out to a horrifying view and vision of what awaits them. While I know, he doesn’t need to go to the extreme of ending his life. It would’ve made it more realistic for him to say something about his intentions or clarify his vision of what he saw.

While some say that the body reaction of Justin is right. Once expelled from the Event Horizon, the time Miller takes to get him back inside, is a few seconds. I somehow believe that Justin would’ve looked more frozen?

Overall Horror

To me, it is clear that Dr. Weir suffers from a P.T.S.D. state after the suicide of his wife, and the ship takes advantage of it while slowly possessing his mind.

If you know paranormal horror movies such as those speaking of demonic or ghost possessions, then you would recognize those signs. Weir shows those throughout the movie. He is especially following the event of when he scratches his own eyes out in agony.

Event Horizon - 1997
Event Horizon – 1997

Then, he shows superhuman strength. Weir is capable of lifting a human way larger or taller than himself as if they were nothing. He also performs surgery on D.J. after sneaking up on him following the warning Captain Miller gives his friend about Weir gone psychotic on them.

We see a previous scar on D.J.’s chest from below his clavicle to his ribcage. Later on, the doctor’s body display hooks above the surgical table holding him by the flesh of his back, chest cavity entirely open.

It Doesn’t Stop

Peters’ gone, Cooper stuck in space, Smith’s gone with the Lewis & Clark, Justin in stasis stabilized by the doctor before his horrifying death, this only leaves Captain Miller and Lt. Stark.

It is almost as if the ship is securing the crew of the Lewis & Clark to be its next victim to bring to the dimension it went to the first time it disappeared seven years before the movie. Once Weir is out of the starship into the vacuum of space, another Dr. Weir shows. Of course, it isn’t the original one, I stipulate here that he might be the embodiment of the ship.

Event Horizon – 1997

He’s the Event Horizon. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, for once he is naked and shows scars all over his body and has his eyes back. His attitude and personality are entirely different than what it was. He can also make hallucinations evoking that he is now part of the supernatural dimension.

Hell is just a Word!

The horror factor of the Event Horizon is good, and many scenes still show up good on your small screen. Only a few shots here and there are CGI. However, not enough of them to destroy the movie.

The storyline is excellent, great actors do the acting, and I do highly recommend this movie to any fan of either science fiction or horror, even paranormal. This movie was able to mix science fiction and paranormal. Not many stories can do it, but this one did it in a significant way.

Event Horizon - 1997
Event Horizon – 1997

After all, hell is not religious in this context; it is an image that most people would have when thinking of a hellish place. Weir refers to it as a dimension of pure chaos. So, why not give it a try and see if it is up to your standards?

The ending is up to you! Did Stark, Cooper, and Justin are home or is the ship waiting for the core to come back?

A.D. Wayne

Published by Alexa Wayne

I am a twisted nerd creative who enjoys writing and drawing! I'm an Author | Blogger | Batmanologist | Professional Nerd | Illustrator | Graphic/Web Designer | Ufologist! I'm the Gothic Bite Magazine creator and can't stop coming up with new stories!

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