Posted on June 16, 2006 by Flames
For those who weren’t aware, Masters of Horror is a show that debuted on Showtime in October of 2005. The premise of the show was to round up some of the best horror directors in the genre, and get each of them to make a one-hour movie. The directors were pretty much given free reign to tell whatever story they wanted, however they wanted (blood, guts and all). The only real limitation that was put upon the directors was they had to complete their movie in ten days.
As far as John Carpenter goes, he needs no introduction. Halloween, Christine, The Thing, Prince of Darkness, They Live, In the Mouth of Madness…need I say more? It’s safe to say he should be considered among the “Masters of Horror”. And that’s not even counting his other great films like Escape from New York, Starman, etc.
So on to the movie, then. Cigarette Burns is a story about a movie called Le Fin Absolue du Monde, or The Absolute End of the World. The film allegedly has the power to drive anyone who sees it insane, and has caused murderous riots during its few screenings over the years. Our protagonist Kirby (played by Norman Reedus of Blade 2) is a movie theater owner who is hired by a rich collector (Udo Kier) to find a print of this rare movie. With the money that he gets from finding the film, he can pay off his former girlfriend’s father, who helped finance the theater and who hates Kirby for causing the death of his daughter. Sounds simple, right? Well, it isn’t, and as you can imagine, the closer Kirby gets to finding the film, the more strange things start to happen to him. Frightening images, violent encounters, blackouts and a deepening sense of foreboding culminate in the actual screening of Le Fin Absolue du Monde at the rich collector’s house. You can probably guess how well that goes over.
All in all, the movie is well paced and moves along briskly. It’s a nice return to the genre for Carpenter, and I can’t wait to see what he does with his Season 2 episode. The score by Cody Carpenter (John’s son) is great, and really adds to the mood. There is enough blood to satisfy most gore fans, and there is plenty of nods to movie nerds, as the story was written by one of the Ain’t it Cool News guys (Drew McSweeny a.k.a. “Moriarty”).
Where the DVD really shines, though, is in the extras. You get commentaries by Carpenter, and also by the writing team. There are also four featurettes, including interviews with Carpenter and Reedus, a fantastic introspective on Carpenter’s career by actors that worked with him, and a “behind the scenes” segment.
The list price on this one is $16.98, but I picked it up at Best Buy for $12.99. If you are a Carpenter fan, this one is a must for the extras alone, and horror fans in general won’t be disappointed either. Anchor Bay has done another fine job!
Reviewer: Brian LeTendre