In 2005, five years before The Walking Dead aired on AMC, actor Norman Reedus and special effects pro Greg Nicotero worked on John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns. The actor now best known as Daryl Dixon played the character Kirby in the movie.
According to IMDB, “With a torrid past that haunts him, a movie theatre owner is hired to search for the only existing print of a film so notorious that its single screening caused the viewers to become homicidally insane.”
Greg Nicotero spoke about the collaboration at last year’s Comic-Con.
Norman Reedus Stars In John Carpenter Film
Director John Carpenter is best known for horror classics like Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, They Live, and Escape From New York. In Cigarette Burns, the story is equally complex and horrifying.
“In the industry, we call them cigarette burns,” said Tyler Durden about film cuts in Fight Club. Basically, John Carpenter’s movie is about a movie owner seeing cigarette burns in real life.
This is where Norman Reedus comes in. “What’s happening to me?” asked Reedus as Kirby in the film.
Kirby Gets Involved With A Possessed Film
The movie looks a little like The Ring, but basically, Reedus’ character sees a vision and then “ghosts” follow him. “As soon as you start to get close to it, it gets inside of you,” said the trailer.
Unlike The Ring, the story behind Cigarette Burns is about dissecting a movie that plays in the theater. Kirby is trying to understand what happened in the movie when real-life circumstances start to creep up on him.
While the trailer itself is complex, it basically ends with Kirby tied up with duct tape in a rolling chair. The story is part of the Masters of Horror series, so it likely slid in under your radar.
Back then, Greg Nicotero was listed as “Gregory” Nicotero and he did the “special effects makeup” for the film. John Carpenter’s movies are filled with special effects, so it’s likely he learned some of his Walking Dead material on location.
Have you seen this classic Norman Reedus and Greg Nicotero collaboration?