Masters of Horror: Season 1, Episode 8

John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns (16 Dec. 2005)

TV Episode  -   -  Horror | Thriller
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 6,510 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 47 critic

With a torrid past that haunts him, a movie-theater director is hired to hunt for the only known print of a film so notorious that its single screening caused the viewers to become homicidally insane.



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Title: John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns (16 Dec 2005)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Timpson (as Christopher Gauthier)
Julius Chapple ...
Kaspar (as Taras)
Lynn Wahl ...
Cab Driver
Douglas Arthurs ...
Dalibor (as Douglas H. Arthurs)
Brahm Taylor ...


The bankrupted owner of the movie theater Vogue, Kirby Sweetman, is hired by the eccentric private collector Mr. Bellinger to search and find the cursed horror movie "Le Fin Absolue du Monde". This film is considered lost and magic, and has been presented only once in the Sitges Festival, driving the audience insane and violent, causing bloodshed in the theater. The director, crew and everybody involved in its production has also died. Kirby owes US$ 200,000.00 to his father-in-law, who blames Kirby for the death of his daughter Annie, and accepts the assignment to pay his debt and for his own satisfaction. Bellinger shows him a souvenir from the film in his basement, a chained angel that had his wings torn off in the movie. Kirby travels to France to meet his contact and has glimpses of his beloved Annie, initiating his journey to hell. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Horror | Thriller


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 December 2005 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut)


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first production for Scott Swan and Drew McWeeny as writers. See more »


Kirby visits Henri Cotillard's office in Paris, France. When Henri asks Kirby for the name of the film he's looking for, he puts his right hand by his computer monitor. In the next shot, Henri's arm is by his side. See more »


Fung: I know what you want, you want to see the movie!
See more »


References Saw II (2005) See more »


Le Fin De Mond Theme
Written by John Roome
Courtesy of Mekong Records
See more »

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User Reviews

it works because of Carpenter's faith- and tricks- with the material
21 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Cigarette Burns is one of the more entertainingly shocking little horror films I've seen in a while. It's only an hour long, but it still kind of sits well in that area between a short film and a 'real' feature-length film. If anything a story like this could be made into a slightly longer film (whether it would be better or give more chances for fright I don't know). But for TV it's pretty amazing stuff, mostly as it builds and builds in the climax. What was interesting too was watching the DVD extras and seeing Carpenter's own view on some of the film's clichéd sayings about how 'film can change you', which even he admits is BS. To him, the whole Le Fin Absolue du Monde part of the story could be anything supernatural (and its practically a retread of similar material from In the Mouth of Madness) or anything that keeps the plot moving along. It's a MacGuffin that does have a need to actually be seen by the audience- if not the audience's in the film then us watching at home- but when it is it's genuinely creative in an ironic way.

Norman Reedus proves he can act with a good script and defined character as a theater owner and rare-film buff who meets up with a spooky collector (Udo Kier as usual quite creepy and darkly funny in equal measure) who wants him to track down the obscure French film titled The Absolute End of the World, which only screened once to a violent crowd. But right off the bat things don't seem right as Kier's character keeps a living 'Angel' from the film's production with its wings clipped off. As Reedus goes deeper into the search, he then starts to realize its effect as it stirs up old rotten memories into his consciousness. Carpenter deals with the dialog scenes really quite well, and it's refreshing to see him direct more realistic scenes here and there as opposed to his recent films where style and flash trumps the words. And there really can't be enough said about Gregory Nicotero's make-up, which is there at best to totally supply Carpenter with what he needs to work off his visual scares.

And towards the end, as Kier finally gets a print of the film in his possession, it really is some of the more freaky, bloody, and unexpected scenes in a Carpenter work I've seen since the Thing just for sheer visceral impact. Without giving away too much, it does kind of border on the obvious of what might occur with some of the characters. But the way the actors pull it off corresponds well with how the 'MacGuffin' is finally shown, as a rip-off on pretentious violent art-film tripe that had me grinning as I cringed. Cigarette Burns is a successful little pot-boiler that probably might work better for Carpenter fans and those who find 'cult films' fascinating as the subject matter.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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