Monday, April 03, 2006

John Carpenter's "Cigarette Burns"

To me, the best thing about Mick Garris' MASTERS OF HORROR series is the return to form for some of my absolute favorite horror filmmakers.

CIGARETTE BURNS is a great example of all the right elements falling into place and giving a great showcase for a director who deserves just that. Some will say this film is a return to form for Carpenter. I disagree, simply because I am a devout Carpenter fan and have appreciated all his films. SO THERE!

Norman Reedus is always good (even in the insane SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY). The plot itself is an obvious parallel to Roman Polanski's highly underrated THE NINTH GATE. Another connection I noticed was that the main character's mission in each film is assigned by a former Dracula, Frank Langella in THE NINTH GATE and Udo Kier in this film. Aside from these similarities, the story works quite well. I have to say that while the premise may seem ridiculous in theory, I've always followed the logic of trusting filmmakers and there are some who have betrayed that trust. Brings to mind my fear/fascination of certain films and/or the legends behind them and their filmmakers. SALO being a perfect example.

Without giving anything away, there's a particular moment where a character stabs himself in not one, but both eye sockets, with a seemingly six-inch-long instrument. That's fine. But to portray the moment as if the same instrument would not penetrate and kill the brain, instead leaving the character continuing to speak, is completely absurd and, for me, hard to overlook. That's my "oh well" gripe for today.

Note: Cody Carpenter (son of John Carpenter and Adrienne Barbeau) makes his film scoring debut here and it's a nice, subtle work.

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