Masters of Horror: Cigarette Burns Review
Written by: NecronT99
John Carpenter displays his best work to date and one of the most frightening stories in Showtime's Master of Horror series with Cigarette Burns. If you only buy one in the series, buy this DVD.
The Masters of Horror series created by Mick Garris has been a great joy to watch this past year on Showtime. It in all has been one of the finest presentations for short story horror to date on television. Tales from the Crypt. Tales from the Darkside and even Night Gallery have not been able to reach the true essence of what good short story horror can be. Most of those series always seemed to wander off into comical fantasy or finish with an uplifting finale. Good short story horror doesn't do that. Like a ghost story around a campfire, it's supposed to creep you out.
John Carpenter shows his years of knowledge in how to create suspense and horror with Cigarette Burns. His segment in the series shows style and a haunting beauty in the look of this dark and bloody story.
The plot concerns Jimmy Sweetman (Norman Reedus) who professionally hunts and finds rare film prints for various collectors. He is hired by Mr. Bellinger (Udo Kier) to find the holy grail of lost films " Le Fin du Monde ". A film so horrifying that it caused it's audience to go insane and the theater to be burned down. Jimmy Sweetman is taken into places that terrify him yet drive him to continue on to find the film. He discovers that there is long blood trail associated with everyone who every worked on the movie. As well as the numberous deaths with all who even saw a small part of it.
John Carpenter drives you into this world of addiction toward film fanaticism. The point is how much will you really pay to see something you desire? Even if you know the desire is deadly. Plus the dangerous lengths that people will go to get dangerous desires.
Once again Carpenter returns to themes about the dangerous power of religion and possession. Reminisant of his film Prince of Darkness, but this time the short film works better than that previous effort.
Carpenter shows the power of the one hour format in horror storytelling. Sometimes a story concept is just stretched out with filler like lame subplots to make time. Many good short stories are just that - short. Leaving sections to the imagination sometimes creates more suspense and dread to the viewer.
The part that surprised and delighted me was the amount of gore in his feature. Not a usual staple of John Carpenter, but it was used in the correct format to surprise and shock.The scene where Jimmy visits the snuff film maker is intense.
The acting is good for televison type short stories and Udo Kier is creepy as always. But it's the look of this film that sets it apart from the other stories. It is Hollywood standard film making. It doesn't have the feel of that " made for tv " look like many SciFi Channel films do. This has a terrific big budget look that kept me glued until the end.
Some horror films are just too long, Cigarette Burns was making me want for more. But maybe that was the point of the story as well as the film. - desire.