John Carpenter came to us through that cinematic realm of fright, and he made his home on the margins or terror, and this is his eulogy to a genre he didn’t have much use for anymore. John Carpenter is not the man who is going to rely on torture to get a rise out of his audience and he certainly isn’t going to be the man to break that trust that one character mentions here (audiences trust directors to guide them, but never take things too far). He grew up idolizing Howard Hawks, and even if his intentions got dark (The Thing) he was still aiming to entertain an audience. He wasn’t going to punish them with long takes of the worst aspects of humanity, because ultimately he is a humanist. He may make pictures about the end of the world, but his band of misfits are going to go out swinging if it kills them. However, in Cigarette Burns Carpenter seems a bit defeated. His strengths as a filmmaker are still present, but there are no heroes in this movie, and one could hardly consider it a film within Carpenter’s oeuvre, because it goes so far out of its way to damn the audience and the genre it’s discussing. What’s wrong with us that we want to see such horrible imagery? What if the horror of the on screen image in horror pictures was suddenly turning up in cinemas due to the effect of a film? Would we deserve it for wanting to see such horrible things? Cigarette Burns answers with a resounding yes.