Masters of Horror: Season 1, Episode 8

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

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Horror
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 7,088 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 47 critic

With a torrid past that haunts him, a movie theatre owner is hired to search for the only existing print of a film so notorious that its single screening caused the viewers to become homicidally insane.



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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 only existing print of the legendary horror film "La Fin Absolue du Monde" by Hans Backovic. This lost film is considered magic and cursed, and has been presented only once to an audience at the Sitges Festival, driving the people insane and causing bloodshed in the theater. The director, the crew and everybody involved in its production seemingly have died since. Kirby owes 200.000 dollars to his father-in-law, who blames Kirby for the death of his daughter Annie, and accepts the assignment to pay his debt. 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 a 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




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Release Date:

16 December 2005 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The newspaper columnist lives in a secluded house in Carthage, New York. John Carpenter, who directed the movie, was born in Carthage, New York. 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!
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References Deep Red (1975) See more »


Le Fin De Mond Theme
Written by John Roome
Courtesy of Mekong Records
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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.

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