MoH: Cigarette Burns (2005)

Masters of Horror: "Cigarette Burns"
Season 1, Episode 8
Directed by: John Carpenter

CIGARETTE BURNS is one of John Carpenter's best contributions to the genre since the early 80s. It plays out similarly to Roman Polanski's THE NINTH GATE, and is wrought in dark fantasy, mystery, and suspense. Kirby Sweetman is a film detective hired by an obsessive film collector to locate an impossibly rare film that is rumored to cause insanity and bloodlust in its audiences. The closer he gets to the film, the closer he gets to losing his own sanity as he becomes immersed in the film's dark devices and true horror. CIGARETTE BURNS offers a critical look at the social impact Horror films have on their audience and filmmakers, not unlike the themes used in A CAT IN THE BRAIN (though handled much more tastefully here). From the first moments, the mystique behind the fabled "Le Fin Absolue du Monde" is enough to captivate the audience and drive our curiosity as we follow Kirby to his ultimate goal. His journey introduces him to an array of crazed, obsessed, and murderous characters before he is confronted with the horrors that lie within the film itself. Although it is more complex than most of the other series offerings, repeated viewings of this episode earn it a fuller understanding and appreciation. The lurid imagery and sinister premise make this a solid series entry and standalone film.

Rating: 8/10.
Gore: 7/10.
Number of views: 5.

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  1. I think this is sorta a weak episode, on the one hand, 'cuz I hate Norman Reedus and because it feels NOTHING like a proper John Carpenter project. On the other hand, you've got Udo Kier awesomely unspooling his own guts on a film projector... so, yeah.

  2. Of all of the episodes, I thought this one offered the most unique approach that was entirely outside of the director's normal canon of work. Well, minus Hooper's acid trip. I didnt like this one much the first two times, but the more I watch the series, the more my taste for the episodes changes.

    PS - Dude, the quality on STANLEY is amazing, its easily as good as the stand alone DVD. Way to go Mills Creek!

  3. Woohoo, glad to see someone else liked this one! Carpenter has been so hit and miss after the 80's , as you mentioned. I enjoyed this dark story. even if it was completely different from Carpenter's typical style/thematics.

    Thanks for the Christmas card by the way. We just got back yesterday. I also nominated you for an award. Check it out. :P

  4. I felt the same about this one! Carpenter nailed it and proved that he's still got it. Great MoH entry!