Monday, December 19, 2005

[BNAT] Masters of Horror: "Cigarette Burns"

This is essentially a film about film geeks. It's written by a couple of guys from Ain't It Cool News - Drew "Moriarty" McWeeny and Scott "Obi" Swan. The main character runs a theater that screens obscure classics. He moonlights as a finder of highly rare film prints. He is hired by a creepily obsessive cinephile to find a print of a film called La Fin Absoleu du Monde ("the absolute end of the world". The film has only been screened once, and it is supposedly so powerful and terrifying that it incited horrific scenes of real violence in the theater. Our hero is under the impression that the only print of the film that ever existed has been destroyed. But the cinephile assures him that it is somewhere out there. Our hero takes the job, because it will pay him enough to get out of the debt he owes the father of his now-dead girlfriend.

So he goes on this journey to find the film, every step making him more nervous and yet more intrigued and curious. Along the way he meets a film critic who is working on an article about the film - an article which appears to be several thousand pages long. It seems that everyone who has ever seen the film has been forced to face their own personal demons and usually end up hurting either themselves or others. I was fascinated by the idea that the images on a film reel could be so powerful and moving that you might be persuaded to take your own life in response to it. That is a great concept for a horror film - that the celluloid itself houses an unspeakable evil. And the fact that people can be simultaneously repulsed by it and drawn to it is more interesting still. Great job, Drew and Scott! Just incredible.

The film is fairly restrained in the gore department, until the end. At the climax, the creepy cinephile, after watching the movie, disembowels himself and threads his intestines through the reels of the film projector. Yeeckh!

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