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Masters of Horror - John Carpenter - Cigarette Burns

68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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, he’s 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.

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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

Special Features

  • Commentary by director John Carpenter
  • Commentary by writers Drew McWeeny & Scott Swan
  • "Celluloid Apocalypse: An Interview with John Carpenter" featurette
  • "Behind The Scenes: The Making of Cigarette Burns" featurette
  • "Working With a Master: John Carpenter" featurette on the director and his work
  • "On Set: An Interview with Norman Reedus" featurette
  • John Carpenter Bio
  • Still Gallery
  • Trailers
  • DVD-ROM: Original Screenplay and screen saver

Product Details

  • Actors: Norman Reedus, Colin Foo, Udo Kier, Christopher Redman, Chris Gauthier
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Writers: Drew McWeeny, Mick Garris, Scott Swan
  • Producers: Adam Goldworm, Andrew Deane, Ben Browning, Bo Altherr
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 59 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E5KUME
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,562 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Masters of Horror - John Carpenter - Cigarette Burns" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Knouse on March 14, 2007
Format: DVD
This is actually the very first work from John Carpenter since "The Thing" to scare me at all. I was eleven when "The Thing" blew me away with its gore, violence, and creepy horror, but ever since then it seemed as though his films were getting more and more cheesy. Even "In the Mouth of Madness" which I enjoyed for its Lovecraft-style themes and mood was more surreal than scary. "Cigarette Burns" is both surreal and scary, with dark underlying religious tones. There is the running undercurrent during the story of the fear of the unknown, or the unearthed secret and/or creation that should remain hidden for the sake of all mankind. Themes that are undeniably Lovecraft. I actually did not have a problem with the acting at all, I was simply too enthralled with the mystery and eventual horrifying climax to even notice. The heart of the mystery is incredibly original and thought-provoking, the journey absolutely worth taking. With so many bad horror films coming out these days it is incredibly refreshing to see a true Master of Horror show these young twerps just how it should be done. Even if it is just a short film. Excellent.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By F.U. on February 22, 2006
Format: DVD
Masters of Horror is, at best, an uneven series, but this one is definitely a standout. It's similar to Carpenter's "In the Mouth of Madness," but with a lot more scares and some really nasty violence. It may not have worked so well if it were a full-length movie, but for a one-hour episode, it's brilliant. I gotta say, the series as a whole is a little disappointing, as some of them aren't horror at all, but comedies or political satires with some gore thrown in, which doesn't make them bad, necessarily, they're just not "horror" like the title would suggest. The good news is that Cigarette Burns is a real horror show, and it's the best thing John Carpenter's done in at least a decade. CHECK IT OUT!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. VINE VOICE on April 7, 2006
Format: DVD
An entertaining and fairly compelling story by first time writers Drew McWeeny (aka the movie/DVD reviewer known as "Moriarty" on the "Ain't It Cool" web site) and Scott Swan is brought home by veteran horror director John Carpenter. All horror fans will likely find something here to enjoy, though it will be especially fun for "film geek" types who obsessively follow favorite directors and can recount the names and plots of the most obscure movies faster than they can remember the names of certain cousins.

Admittedly, two or three things could have been done better in this quickly-filmed production (for example, it should have been more of a slow, dramatic reveal when we learn that a film critic has filled reams and reams of paper with one endless review of the mysterious, infamous horror movie everyone is searching for), but overall the story unfolds well, measured and methodical when it needs to be and weird and crazy when those things are needed.

I also liked the nice balance been artiness and good old storytelling craftsmanship in the final piece. "Cigarette Burns" keeps things mysterious and, well, artful by not over-explaining every little question that naturally occurs to the viewer, but it explains enough and keeps the narrative "normal" enough that, despite the mysteries and unanswered questions at the conclusion, we still feel like we were given a satisfying, coherent story. Just be warned that ultimately it's a blood-soaked satisfying, coherent story you'll be getting.

And if the creepy, gory main feature isn't enough for you, this modestly priced DVD also gives you a generous set of extras. I especially enjoyed the two DVD commentaries, one by the director and one by the writers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Durham HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 25, 2006
Format: DVD
One of the more criticized episodes of Showtime's Masters of Horror series, John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns is better than you've heard. The man behind Halloween, the Thing, etc., is in fine form here as down and out film expert Kirby (Norman Reedus) is hired by an enigmatic rare film lover (genre stalwart Udo Kier) to find a film that upon it's only showing caused the audience to go insane and kill each other. As his journey unfolds, Kirby learns the secrets behind the film's production, and the demonic truth that lay underneath the celluloid. Considering Carpenter's recent body of work, Cigarette Burns is a nice change of pace. Most of the criticisms of of Cigarette Burns arise from Reedus' performance, and while he may not be the best leading man, he's not as terrible as what's been described in previous reviews. The makeup and gore effects are top notch as usual, and for most of it's running time, Cigarette Burns is one of the better entries in the Masters of Horror series. All in all, Cigarette Burns is better than it's been given credit for, and is definitely worth checking out for Carpenter lovers and horror afficiondos alike.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Eremite VINE VOICE on May 16, 2007
Format: DVD
As far as Masters of Horror goes, no one is contesting that John Carpenter belongs in the list. Considering that the man behind The Thing is responsible for this installment of the flawed Showtime series, one would expect the episode to ripple with Carpenter's trademark creeping terror, a lush lust for the shadows that make bedrooms, basements, and movie theatres so creepy to begin with.

If that's what you're expecting, you won't be disappointed. Not that much, anyway.

I'll forgive the guy for essentially rehashing a plot that he already did so well (and so bizarrely) with In the Mouth of Madness. There's a movie somewhere out there entitled "Le Fin Absolue du Monde," a grisly flick that's so disturbing that, at its premiere, most of the audience went insane and started killing each other. Mr. Bellinger (Udo Kier as an unapologetically evil arcane film buff) wants to see this urban legend of a film before he dies, and he enlists in his search Kirby Sweetman, a tortured movie-house director who happens to be good at tracking down these sorts of things.

During his quest for the vile movie, Kirby encounters snuff film auteurs, chained and de-winged angels, and flashbacks to his own unsettling past, all accompanied by "cigarette burns," strange glowing circles that, in the movie world, indicate a reel change.
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