from Showtime’s “Masters of Horror” series
Cigarette Burns (2005)
Directed by: John Carpenter
Written by: Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan
Starring: Norman Reedus, Udo Kier, Christopher Redman, Chris Gauthier, Zara Taylor
In this episode, Jimmy Sweetman ventures out to locate a rare film print called “La Fin Absolue du Monde”. The film once shown has been known to drive its audience into a crazed frenzy before the theater goes up in flames. He finally discovers that the film does live up to its reputation and the results are quite shocking. (from tv.com)
“Cigarette Burns” is the pinnacle episode of the first season – and quite possibly the series. I’m not just saying that because it’s themes are Lovecraftian in nature. It is easily the best balanced and best told story of the lot. It is smart and creepy and occasionally disturbing. Genre fan favorite Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead”, “The Boondock Saints”) plays Jimmy Sweetman with an underlying sadness accented by flares of passion and desperation. Udo Kier instills gravitas and mystery into his role as Bellinger, the man bankrolling Sweetman’s search. And if you’d like to find Jon Carpenter best work in these, the 2000’s, it’s right here and not at your local multiplex. He is in top form here.
The Good: Forbidden knowledge and dangerous artifacts are some of my favorite horor tropes and Carpenter – also a fan of such Lovecraftian themes – does it up right this time with plenty of help. After a recent rewatch, I noticed how quotable this movie can be, expecially for film afficianados.
The Bad: I’m not a big fan of the makeup they use for the “Willowy Being.”
The Ugly: – With some exceptions, it’s mostly downhill for the series from here.