As the credits rolled on David Lynch’s film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, jeers and boos flew at the screen. Most of the audience hated it, and as they filed out of the theater into the Cannes evening in 1992, critics were already penning clever notes and biting jabs, ready to pillory the same auteur they had praised just a few years prior.
For fans of the television show on which the film was based, there was precious little to hold on to. The quirkiness and subtle humor of the show was all but gone, leaving only the bleak crux of the story: a young woman’s murder. And as we watched Laura Palmer’s final days play out in horrifying detail, it seemed that the final nail had been driven into the Twin Peaks’ coffin.
But 25 years later, Twin Peaks and its residents are more popular than ever. So much so that Mr. Lynch and company are releasing The Entire Mystery on Blu-ray at the end of July — yours for the preorder price of $119.99. In it will be the entire two-season television series and hours of special features, all carefully restored. But the real treat for fans is the inclusion of almost 90 minutes of deleted scenes and alternate takes from the film. These scenes were caught up in financial red tape for decades and have been the stuff of legend. What fans want to find out is: Will they soften the prequel film’s bleak tone or only exacerbate the terror?
When the show aired in April 1990, it was an instant hit with critics and audiences. The show centers on the investigation of the murder of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), local homecoming queen and all-American girl … or so we think. As FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) digs deeper into Laura’s life, dark details begin to emerge. All the while, the town’s citizens slowly reveal their own secrets; almost everyone has something to hide.
The show toys with soap opera conventions, hooking viewers with its serialized cliffhangers, melodramatic confessionals and teen angst. Lynch’s trademark strange humor and love of mystery only adds to the mystique — it elevated Twin Peaks to cult status almost instantly. Viewing parties popped up everywhere, full of costumed devotees munching on cherry pie, swigging black coffee and discussing the all-important question: “Who killed Laura Palmer?”
The perfect balance of menace, heart and humor.
The show was uniquely dreamy, amusing and utterly strange, as you can see in this taste from the series’ first season:
Forced by studio brass to solve its central crime, the shocking truth of incest, rape and filicide was revealed in episode seven of the second season. As the mystery drained out, so did Lynch’s interest, and by the end of season two, the show had lapsed into self parody, with only the most devoted fans staying on until the series finale.
“Twin Peaks remains intriguing because the brevity of its run meant that so much remained unexplored,” says author Taylor Kingsbury. “[Fans] need to find the ‘more’ for ourselves. And we’ll keep searching for it because the perfect balance of menace, heart and humor that Lynch infused into the show makes it an enjoyable ride, one that we’ll happily go on again and again.”
Los Angeles DJ David Cline’s face lights up as he talks about his favorite program. “It’s both tongue-in-cheek and completely sincere. It’s smutty and soapy while staying sweet and innocent. And it’s as dark as any good horror movie … maybe darker.” Cline gleefully shows off his wife Kirby’s Twin Peaks tattoo: the red curtains, black and white zigzag tile floor of the Black Lodge with a Double R Diner coffee cup floating in the foreground.
As a fan myself, I’m dying to sit through every minute of those lost scenes and to see what the reaction among other fans will be. After decades of waiting, the box set’s release is worthy of a viewing party, costumes and all. Dibs on Bobby Briggs.
Why you should care
If you weren’t a fan during the early ’90s, now is your chance to immerse yourself in some of the most surreal, funny and terrifying TV of all time.