The Austin Chronicle

Other Worlds Austin Crosses the Event Horizon

By Richard Whittaker, August 15, 2017, 2:49pm, Picture in Picture

Infinite space. Infinite terror. One night only. Other Worlds Austin, the dedicated science fiction film festival, has announced that they will celebrate the 20th anniversary of beloved hellburner Event Horizon with an opening night gala screening, plus a workshop with scriptwriter Philip Eisner.

The 1997 cult classic (starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Jason Isaacs, and Sean Pertwee) baffled mainstream audiences at the time, with its combination of deep space and hardcore gore. However, it has had a dedicated audience since day one. Eisner recalled that after seeing the film on its initial opening, "a friend walked up to me and slapped my face. ‘That’s for scaring the shit out of me,’ she said. I was ecstatic. It remains the best review I’ve ever received."

OWA founder Bears Fonté described the film, along with The Fifth Element and Contact, as part of a triumvirate of SF movies that have defined the genre ever since. Much of that he credits to Eisner's script, which he said "toys with themes like guilt, the nature of evil and presence or lack of an afterlife, all in service of terrifying audiences."

That's why, after the gala screening on Dec. 7, the scriptwriter will be hosting a workshop on Dec. 9 at the Austin School of Film. Fonté said, "Event Horizon is a cult favorite that most people have not seen on the big screen, and I am proud Paramount Pictures has given Other Worlds Austin the opportunity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of my very favorite films.”

Eisner added, "I’m terribly grateful that our movie found its audience, and that even now it still manages to inspire nightmares. Just make sure you buy me a drink before you slap me."

Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival runs Dec. 7-10. The launch screening of Event Horizon is open to Supernova and Super Massive Black Hole badge holders (starting at $75), basic four-day badges starting at $50. Visit for more info.

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