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Masters of Horror - John Carpenter: Cigarette Burns Reviews

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Ryan M
Ryan M

Super Reviewer

April 26, 2011
5.3/10

The one-hour long, John Carpenter-directed "Cigarette Burns" is one of those horror movies that is mildly entertaining throughout without actually being scary, frightening, or tense. In ways, I respect the film; it is better than most of what Carpenter has been associated with nowadays, and if you put the narrative, acting, and characters aside, it's not poorly made. As part of the "Masters of Horror" television series, it's actually not all bad. However, to say it's "not half bad" would be misleading, because it kind of IS "half bad", so I won't say that.

The premise intrigues me: a cursed film which has only premiered once, to one audience, and when it did, everyone who set eyes upon it went mad. Blood everywhere. Film lost, seemingly forever. As always, we get a clever young man who has recently experienced lost to bring the film out of its hiding. He is given such a task by a cinephile as devoted as you and me. On his journey, the hero will come face-to-face with fear, madness, despair, and sadly, silliness.

The premise is good, the plot...not so much. I appreciate Carpenter's movie theater scenes, in which there are some clever references to cinema (Dario Argento's "Deep Red" is playing at the theater), and I liked the directorial challenge that the filmmaker put himself up to when he made such a low-budget film. But considering Carpenter made "Halloween" and "The Thing", this one could have been better, more entertaining, and it could have pleased even someone like me. But alas, it did not.

I don't think this film is bad, so I wouldn't be surprised if some people enjoyed it. I don't know: some people think it's much better than standard "Masters of Horror" fare, and you know what; it probably is. But that's not saying much, considering how NOT scary, how NOT frightening, and how NOT thrilling this often times absurd, silly, and unfulfilling horror film is. It is problematic, disjointed, and unorganized. It just doesn't work. But there's something about it that I admired, and that is perhaps why I am giving it as much points as I am, which unfortunately for the film, isn't quite enough.
September 18, 2013
Short and horrific just as one would hope, very enjoyable for any horror lover despite its weak acting.
Ryan M
Ryan M

Super Reviewer

April 26, 2011
5.3/10

The one-hour long, John Carpenter-directed "Cigarette Burns" is one of those horror movies that is mildly entertaining throughout without actually being scary, frightening, or tense. In ways, I respect the film; it is better than most of what Carpenter has been associated with nowadays, and if you put the narrative, acting, and characters aside, it's not poorly made. As part of the "Masters of Horror" television series, it's actually not all bad. However, to say it's "not half bad" would be misleading, because it kind of IS "half bad", so I won't say that.

The premise intrigues me: a cursed film which has only premiered once, to one audience, and when it did, everyone who set eyes upon it went mad. Blood everywhere. Film lost, seemingly forever. As always, we get a clever young man who has recently experienced lost to bring the film out of its hiding. He is given such a task by a cinephile as devoted as you and me. On his journey, the hero will come face-to-face with fear, madness, despair, and sadly, silliness.

The premise is good, the plot...not so much. I appreciate Carpenter's movie theater scenes, in which there are some clever references to cinema (Dario Argento's "Deep Red" is playing at the theater), and I liked the directorial challenge that the filmmaker put himself up to when he made such a low-budget film. But considering Carpenter made "Halloween" and "The Thing", this one could have been better, more entertaining, and it could have pleased even someone like me. But alas, it did not.

I don't think this film is bad, so I wouldn't be surprised if some people enjoyed it. I don't know: some people think it's much better than standard "Masters of Horror" fare, and you know what; it probably is. But that's not saying much, considering how NOT scary, how NOT frightening, and how NOT thrilling this often times absurd, silly, and unfulfilling horror film is. It is problematic, disjointed, and unorganized. It just doesn't work. But there's something about it that I admired, and that is perhaps why I am giving it as much points as I am, which unfortunately for the film, isn't quite enough.
KevinRobbins
August 19, 2010
Film is magic

Kirby is a down on his luck and needs money. He is known for having a knack for finding rare films and has been asked to find a limited horror picture by a rare film collector. As Kirby conducts his research, he discovers the film has a rare power that strengthens, kills, or drives one crazy. Will Kirby ever find the film; and if he does, can he handle it long enough to deliver and collect his commission?

?Evil is evil. Does a name really matter??

John Carpenter, director of Halloween, Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing, Christine, Escape from LA, Escape from New York, The Fog, They Live, and Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), delivers Cigarette Burns. The storyline for this picture is entertaining and worth following but not overly original (it felt like a combination of The Ring and 8 MM). The acting is okay and the cast includes Norman Reedus (Boondock Saints) and Udo Kier (Blade).

?Just one more freak on the stack of bodies tomorrow.?

I have been a fan of the Masters of Horror series since I first discovered it on Showtime. The plots of these films are inconsistent and this picture is no different; however, the storyline is well paced and delivered and the character development is solid. This is another worthwhile picture in the series.

?I?m hungry.?

Grade: C+
jazza923
March 27, 2010
68/100. It is as fascinating as it is absurd. John Carpenter sure knows how to create suspense through anticipation. Nicely acted by all and the score is excellent. Great atmosphere. Of course there is plenty of blood and gore for those into that sort of thing. At least in this film it fits in with the plot.
Jeff Stone
January 7, 2010
To begin, this is a horror classic unknown. I love this film and it the apiphany of horror films, the only reason it is 90 is i was sadly let down by the acting yet it was still a masterpiece. Provoking and Grotesque.
richard g.
November 8, 2009
a good cast with good suspense... check it out.
Irate Tyrant
December 2, 2006
[color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]CIGARETTE BURNS[/font][/color]

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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]"I don't deny that commercial success means a lot to me, the best reviews you can get are at the box office."[/color][/size][/font]

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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]When Showtime decided to air the ?Masters Of Horror?, a collection of shorts previously to be available only on DVD, they may have laid a thin line for the directors and writers to not cross. Was it a huge success? Unfortuneately not so. I didn?t even get a chance to see the television airing, probably because of the traditions of Halloween. Tricks and treats for the kiddies, eh? Well we won?t go into it in detail, because I did go around the way to my closest Blockbuster and rented the edition that seemed the most intriguing. An H.P. Lovecraft story called ?Dreams In The Witch House?, and John Carpenter?s ?Cigarette Burns?.[/color][/size][/font]

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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]It took some time for me to sit through the first episode, but when I did, I ended up having chills that lasted through the next three sittings. ?Cigarette Burns?, became the mainstay of the rental of the double feature. Too bad, Lovecraft?s story never was even viewed.[/color][/size][/font]

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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]What I have to say of the series, then, is of little or no importance. Also, many readers of this review may be surprised that I reviewed two John Carpenter films. Two that were so closely knit at that, that the only real difference (plot-wise) was that In The Mouth Of Madness was about books, and ?Cigarette Burns? is about films.[/color][/size][/font]

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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]Make no mistake, this was executed with some of the most blindingly intense scenery that you?d imagine ever taking place on the big screen. It has a transitional feeling of disenlightenment, as though purely by watching it, you are undergoing transformation, from human to inhumane.[/color][/size][/font]

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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]The idea is simple, what if a movie could, with use of genetic expirementation and cuts of extreme violence that occur on the editing board, control your life. It is an interesting notion because of the fact that we are constantly stimulated by outside influences. But if it was subliminal as entertainment, what could be the consequence??[/color][/size][/font]

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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]The short is extremely, and i emphasize, extremely frightening. I have no idea what Showtime cut out, but I doubt I?d even like to see at this point.[/color][/size][/font]

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[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]"Another trend is a lot of women are going to see horror films. That's a really welcome development for horror... It actually has a broadened audience. I think most studios recognize that there is a real potential in horror, if you can find something new and unique. [It is fascinating to watch for a guy who worked in the horror trenches.]"[/color][/size][/font]

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[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]10/10[/font][/color][/size]
DeweightJensen
July 20, 2006
One by one:

[b]'Chocolate'[/b] episode is one of the most pointless. If Garris is Master of Horror with that, I can be Master of Horror too!

[b]'Homecoming' [/b]- almost the same, but I like the way it shows zombies and how good is political meaning of this story. I enjoy it, except of terrible last scene - with the flag and... oh man, that was a crap! But overall - I gave it a chance!

[b]'Cigarette Burns[/b]' - one of the BEST episodes! Intelligent and VERY, VERY disturbing. The way it's disturb me was absolutelly great. And I noticed there so much emotions, you can rarely catch in horror. Great job, Carpenter's back to the good form!

Isaw more, but I can't find them on Rottentomatoes, so maybe next time :).
megladon8
March 30, 2006
This is my first viewing of an episode of the acclaimed Masters of Horror series from last year, and if it is any indication of what's to come, I am very excited.

While the production values are definitely not on par with full-length Hollywood productions (which was one of the "promises" made by the series) they are still infinitely better than most weekly TV shows, and the content is quite obviously not censored for TV, as this is one of the goriest, most disturbing movie experiences I've had in a long while.

The story centers around Norman Reedus' character (which would be my main complaint...I haven't seen enough of him to comment on his overall talent, but he seemed horribly miscast here), who is an ex-heroin addict haunted by events in his past involving the death of his girlfriend. He now runs a small movie theatre that specializes in old, foreign, hard-to-find films. He is hired by Udo Kier's character (who is AWESOME and steals the movie completely) to track down a copy of an infamous film titled "Le Fin Absolue du Monde" ("The Absolute End of the World"), which was only ever screened once and at the screening, everyone was driven mad and began killing each other.

Needless to say, the film is surrounded by secrecy, and Reedus has a hard time even getting anyone to talk about it. Finally he comes across some willing individuals, who reveal the horrible secret behind this film and its power.

I actually found this film very disturbing, not only in its very graphic and brutal violence and gore, but also in the "secret" that is held in the video.

The film has a few downfalls that keep it from true greatness. One of them is, as I mentioned, the miscasting of Norman Reedus and generally sub-par acting from most of the cast. Also, some of the writing was poor - mainly when it came to the flashbacks that revealed Reedus' past...they seemed a little tacked on, and just thrown in at random places to give back story without much thought or style put into their placement.

I was also hugely surprised by the gore...wow...I totally did not expect any of that, nor did I expect it all to be pretty much shown in full. Wow.

Anyways, in closing, I really enjoyed this. Afew elements dragged it down, but the "revelation" of what the film was was very disturbing, and despite the production values that scream TV, it was executed very well.

7.5
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