David Lynch is one of those directors I have not fully explored. Prior to Twin Peaks I had only seen Mulholland Drive – and that was only once when I was borrowing and watching films of Jo’s. I never invested into Lynch. I think I was always wary because he is a director who is defined more as an Artist than a filmmaker (their not mutually exclusive, but…) whereby his films are often considered a higher-form of filmmaking. Higher-form being a film that requires a semi-intelligent audience who appreicate the artistic qualities of a film – and does not merely view film as a form of entertainment. This often leads me to believe that they must be difficult to engage with and quite challanging in their nature. From watching Anti-Christ I can see that sometimes, that is the case, but sometimes it is not. Michel Gondry, I would imagine, is percieved as a filmmaker who creates a ‘higher-form’ of film – but I thoroughly enjoy his films. Cronenberg is in the same league as Lynch yet his recent film offerings – Eastern Promises and A History of Violence are incredibly accessible. The whole point I am trying to make is that, turns out, Lynch is quite accessible. Mulholland Drive probably wasn’t the best start – while Twin Peaks makes me keen to watch a film that has been sitting on the shelf, unwatched, for many months … Blue Velvet…
This will also put me in good stead to watch The Elephant Man – a film Tom has been on at me to watch for a long time. I can recall him going on about it when we were in Year 11 even! Nearly a decade ago!
What I reckon …
I was tempted to start spouting influences and themes of Lynch’s work – and then upon reading them on ol’ Wiki I found that its a bit harsh to quote someone elses research – especially when I could just point you in the direction of the Wiki page (under David Lynch obviously). Nevertheless, amongst his ‘themes’ – such as incestuous passion, characters played by the same actor, suppressed ‘dark sides’, beaten/abused women and the ‘small-remote-town-with-a-sinister-side’ all feature in this seminal David Lynch piece. I stayed away from this for ages because (a) it was alot of time to invest in, being a TV-series and all and (b) it appeared quite ‘deep’ and sometimes you have to psych yourself up for that. Nevertheless, Sarah was keen to watch it again (she has seen the entire TV series as a kid and, when she first bought it years ago, rewatched it) and I thought, fair enough – we had finished 24 and I was not going to go near any West Wing for years yet! When we watched it, it was simply a great TV programme – interesting and entertaining making a truly fascinating study of sinister-suburbia.
Years ago, I was in the midst of a Hitchcock phase and happened to mention Shadow of a Doubt a early Hitchcock film starring Joseph Cotton. Nevertheless, a friend of mine Wes, explained that the film is what influences Lynch and his ‘sinister-suburbia’-type films. In both Shadow of a Doubt and Twin Peaks you initially see this warm and glowing community – but as Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt realises and Cooper finds out – underneath the community darker stories and histories lay. Seems like everyone in Twin Peaks is having an affair – though the story begins with the murder of top-student Laura Palmer, throughout the series many more murders occur. You can’t help but question the police force in the area – there are only so many people who live in Twin Peaks. But on the Wiki page on Lynch it does mention the influence of Hitchcock – and clearly these two features correlate (something not mentioned on the Wiki page – ha – check out my research!).
The first thing I thought also was how similar the couple James Hurley and Donna Hayward are to the two leads in Heathers – a film released two years prior to Twin Peaks. Biker-guy and prim-proper girl – even their clothes seemed so similar. I have to admit, it is interesting how similar Lara Flynn Boyle and Winona Ryder are … and more interesting when Johnny Depp actually managed to go out with them both too. Clearly, it is easy to decifer Depp’s ‘type’ of woman.
I am not going into the plot too much because, as anyone who has watched Twin Peaks knows – the end of the first series does not exactly close the story. By the end of the series you know the killer and the entire twon of Twin Peaks is clearly a horrible place – but fact is, all the stories have not finished. The characters are in hospital, in jail, shot or dead at the end of the first series so you really have no idea about anything else except who the killer is – fact is, apparently, there is a third person responsible (according to Sarah) so I do have to hunt down that second series. Funnily enough, this second series is a nightmare to get hold of. From the Netherlands, you can get a copy – but there is nothing in the UK yet. Doesn’t matter really, because Netherlands and Europe releases are Region 2 copies and they are all in English language – I just have to order it via the internet rather than get it from HMV.
Okay to finish – some fascinating information about the cast. As many people know already, I am an avid admirer of Dawson’s Creek so it was really interesting to find out that the characters of Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and Audrey (Sherliyn Fenn) appear in Series 5 and 6 of the programme. I remember watching it and Sarah telling me ‘oh, she’s from Twin Peaks‘ etc, but I couldn’t remember. To top it off, Sherilyn Fenn played Pacey’s boss in Series 5 – an owner of a restaurant – who, if my memory recalls, fancies Pacey (the whole older woman fiasco again) – while Ashbrook played Pacey’s Boss (mental) in Series 6, but in the office environment. I remember the character really well because he was so well played! Semi-cool, semi-annoying arrogant jock-who-done-well type. Everytime, I swear, Dawson’s Creek should get more credit given to it! Last point about the cast too – two characters are also the two main leads in The Jets – in the 1961 Oscar Winning Best Picture West Side Story. Both Riff – Dr Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) – and Tony – Mr Horne (Richard Beymer) – are in Twin Peaks. With all the stuff about the cast – Lara Flynn Boyle … Kyle MacLachlan … all of that, those initial two points about those four actors are far more fascinating to me.
Having had all that cast stuff out of the way, once I have watched Series 2, I will be alot more interested in the thematic contents of the series – and, as and when it is released or reaches my house – I shall review it and you can have a gander yourself. Not to mention, I can really go to town about how incredibly fantastic Dale Cooper is! Twin Peaks is not only a great TV series but it is also a great way-in to understand Lynch’s films. Maybe now is the time for you to watch it – and we can all discuss how the second series begins because, unlike some TV series (no names …) whereby at the end of the first series a lead character is shot, this shot-character is revealed and this actually interests me, and I actually care about what happens next in the quaint little town of Twin Peaks.
Update 21/03/2010: Article on The Guardian website that has interesting insights into Twin Peaks influence – namely on The Sopranos and Lost.