Udo Kier

Lap Dance

Nightmare

The Witch

Madhouse

Representing a major television event in the US when it began broadcasting on Showtime in October 2005, the MASTERS OF HORROR series is the brainchild of director Mick Garris. Garris had previously been responsible several TV series including THE STAND, 1994 and THE SHINING, 1997, both adapted from the books of Stephen King. To direct the series of 13 brand-new, one-hour films, Garris has gathered together an impressive group of major names from the horror genre – names that include John Carpenter (THE FOG, 1980 and HALLOWEEN, 1978), Don Coscarelli (PHANTASM, 1979 and BUBBA-HO-TEP, 2002), Tobe Hooper (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, 1974 and THE FUNHOUSE, 1981), Dario Argento (SUSPIRIA, 1977 and TENEBRAE, 1982), Joe Dante (PIRHANA, 1978 and THE HOWLING, 1981), John Landis (AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, 1981), Stuart Gordon (RE-ANIMATOR, 1985 and DAGON, 2001), Larry Cohen (IT’S ALIVE, 1974 and Q: THE WINGED SERPENT, 1982), Lucky McKee (MAY , 2002 and THE WOODS, 2006), John McNaughton (HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, 1986), William Malone (HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, 1999 and FEARDOTCOM, 2002), Takashi Miike (AUDITION, 1999 and ICHI THE KILLER, 2001) not forgetting Garris himself.

As Executive Producer of MASTERS OF HORROR, it was Garris's intention to provide the opportunity for the world's leading horror directors to make the films they wanted to make, on their own terms, with no artistic restrictions and no studio interference.

In John Carpenter's CIGARETTE BURNS, Kirby Sweetman (Norman Reedus) tracks down rare films for rich collectors; he’s probably a distant relative of Johnny Depp’s book-hunting character in THE NINTH GATE. His latest client, Mr Ballinger (Udo Kier MARK OF THE DEVIL and FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN) is a fanatical film collector, who commissions Sweetman to locate the lost film ‘LE ABSOLUTE FIN DU MONDE’ ("The Absolute End of the World"). The film had been shown once at a film festival where the audience had been driven into a bloody frenzy by the images on the screen, and transformed the auditorium into a charnel house. The film was then allegedly destroyed by the government. Sweetman begins his search and descends into a world of secrecy and murder.

The ‘Cigarette Burns’ of the title refer to a sign etched into a film that would warn the projectionist when a reel-change was imminent. But, as Sweetman discovers, this elusive film affects people even before they have seen it; as he gets closer to the film, he experiences his own mental cigarette burns and reel-changes.

This is an impressive start to the series; of course the presence of veteran horror actor Kier helps a lot, as he turns in a literally stomach-turning performance. CIGARETTE BURNS is somewhat reminiscent of the book “Flicker” by Theodore Roszak, in which a film buff tries to trace a B-movie director, Max Castle, who disappeared in the 1940s. His films exerted a strange influence over audiences, as the director had utilised occult knowledge during the making of his films.

Stuart Gordon's DREAM IN THE WITCH HOUSE, is based on a short story by legendary horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. Gordon, of course, is no stranger to the works of H.P. Lovecraft having directed several films adapted from the author’s work, including RE- ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND, CASTLE FREAK and DAGON.

Walter (Ezra Godden) is a student at The Miskatonic University. He rents a cheap, decrepit apartment where he befriends a young single mother and a crazy man - who prays noisily at night whilst bashing his head against a table. Walter is studying the possibility of parallel universes and soon detects a similarity between the geometric shapes in his books, and the design of his room. Nightmares involving a witch, and a visit from a talking rat confirm his fears, and he is plunged into a world of madness, witchcraft and child sacrifice. Gordon makes great use of the oppressive dilapidated house (a popular house with filmmakers, apparently); basic, run-down bedrooms, the neighbour’s makeshift shrine, the crawlspace that resemble catacombs, and the geometric shapes in Walter’s wall that form a HELLRAISER style portal. Indeed, a house to be avoided if ever there was one.

The series, which is also being screened by Bravo Television, is scheduled for DVD release on a bi-monthly basis beginning in March 2006. Each volume will be a two-disc edition featuring two films from the series. As the films are only 1 hour long, the remainder of the discs are jam-packed with a host of exclusive extra features including interviews with the directors, audio commentaries, behind the scenes featurettes and much more.

Features:

Cigarette Burns

Audio commentary by John Carpenter
Audio commentary by writers Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan
Working With the Master - tribute interview featurette
Celluloid Apocalypse: An Interview With John Carpenter
On Set: Interview with Norman Reedus
Behind the Scenes: The Making of CIGARETTE BURNS featurette
Trailers for the series and more
Script to Screen
Stills gallery
John Carpenter biography
Original screenplay (DVD-ROM)
Screen savers (DVD-ROM)

Dreams In The Witch House

Audio commentary by Stuart Gordon, actor Ezra Godden and DVD producer Perry Martin
Working With the Master - tribute interview featurette
Dreams, Darkness and Damnation: An Interview with Stuart Gordon
On Set: Interview with Chela Horsdal
Behind the Scenes: The Making of DREAMS IN THE WITCH-HOUSE featurette
SFX: Meet Brown Jenkin featurette
Trailers for the series and more
Script to Screen
Stills gallery
Storyboard gallery

CIGARETTE BURNS Film Clip

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DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE Film Clip

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