Finding out that Twin Peaks was returning was like having the most beautiful dream and the most terrible nightmare all at once. When David Lynch and Mark Frost’s endlessly strange, hugely influential TV show was cancelled in 1991, it left a lot of questions unanswered.
Today, fans everywhere are still wondering which loose ends will be tied up when season three gets underway on 22 May. The secrecy surrounding the project makes it extremely difficult to decode, so to help separate the facts from idle speculation, here’s a rundown of everything we know so far…
The original cast is back (well, mostly)
When the full cast list for season three was released in April 2016, there were plenty of familiar names on the docket: Special Agent Dale Cooper, Shelly, Norma, Bobby, James, Ed, Nadine, Andy, Hawk, Lucy, Sarah Palmer, Ben and Jerry Horne, as well as everyone’s favourite, Gordon Cole. Even David Duchovny is back as DEA agent Denise Bryson.
There are some notable omissions though: Piper Laurie won’t be returning as Catherine Martell, and neither will Lara Flynn Boyle as Donna Hayward (the same goes for Moira Kelly, who played her in Fire Walk with Me), Catherine E Coulson as the Log Lady, and, of course, David Bowie as Philip Jeffries.
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At some point you have probably come across the term “Lynchian.” It’s often used thoughtlessly to explain away weird imagery and seemingly ineffable behaviour in film, but it’s in the popular vernacular for a reason. David Lynch’s particular outlook and cinematic approach has made him the authority on dream-like ambience. The distinct sense of unease in his movies often comes from his interest in the uncanny; a “disturbing unfamiliarity in the evidently familiar.” The abstract concepts he puts on screen inspire fear because they are uncomfortably close to our own reality. In Twin Peaks, the ceiling fan on the landing of the Palmer household is shown at a low frame-rate, as if asking us to focus on the mundane, the ordinary, and wonder what is wrong with the picture presented; objects and behaviour normally associated with normalcy, stability, and positivity are corrupted.
In The Philosophy of Horror, Noël Carroll attributed feelings of horror and the uncanny to apparent transgressions of cultural and conceptual categories. The most effective horror is often that which pushes us beyond the boundaries that give us stability. Even the most intelligent viewers carry their own preconceptions of what a narrative needs to achieve, and what the right emotional response is for a given moment. Examples Carroll provides of these categories are “living/dead,” “me/not me,” and “flesh/machine’,” dichotomies that are common in the horror genre because they challenge the principles that give us comfort, and make the world comprehensible.
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