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.