Film is magic. And in the right hands, it can be a weapon. For on-the-ropes movie programmer Kirby Sweetman (Norman Reedus of THE BOONDOCK SAINTS and BLADE II), the holy grail of cinema is LE FIN ABSOLUE DU MONDE, a legendary lost movie whose sole showing was rumored to have driven its audience to a homicidal frenzy. But as Kirby gets closer to the truth about the film, hes sucked into a private hell of grisly hallucinations and brutal acts of violence. Now the only surviving print of the film is within his grasp
and the most horrific screening of all is about to begin. Udo Kier (SUSPIRIA,THE KINGDOM) co-stars in this gore-drenched mind-blower written by Drew McWeeny & Scott Swan, and directed by horror legend John Carpenter, the creator of THE THING,THE FOG, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK,THEY LIVE and HALLOWEEN.
John Carpenter's installment in the Masters of Horror cable-TV anthology series looks at the ominous, underground mystique surrounding a notorious 1970s horror classic (now there's something Carpenter should know about). Cigarette Burns tracks the search for said opus, Le Fin Absolue du Monde, by the owner of a repertory theater (Norman Reedus) on behalf of a highly decadent millionaire collector (a role made for Udo Kier). The film, supposedly destroyed after it caused a riot at its only screening, causes viewers to turn into homicidal, cannibalistic maniacs. Even as Reedus gets on the trail of the lone existing print--listening to an interview with the director, looking at production stills--he begins to fall under its supernatural sway. Alas, the same can't be said for Cigarette Burns itself; the stuff about horror aficionados is good, but the production is slapdash, the dialogue stiff, and Reedus's performance incompetent. The basic idea, while a little film-schoolish, has some intrigue, and the notion of a film critic (supposedly a follower of Pauline Kael, no less) driven to write millions of words about this one barely-seen movie is amusingly sinister. --Robert Horton