Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
FilmScene Rooftop — Sunday, June 4 at 8 p.m.
“I’ll see you again in 25 years,” promises Laura Palmer in the closing moments of cult classic TV series Twin Peaks. This year, creator David Lynch made good on that promise with a limited series on Showtime. And this weekend, FilmScene does their part with a rooftop showing of the prequel, 1992’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which premiered at Cannes just over 25 years ago. The fun kicks off at 8 p.m.; screening starts at dusk. Tickets are $15.
In the decades since the 1990 premiere of the original television series, Twin Peaks has grown into a defining example of a cult classic. The ostensible crime drama/soap opera started with the investigation of a small town murder, and quickly spiraled out into an investigation of human consciousness and conscience, smashing themes of evil — both human and supernatural — against the mundane and banal in a way that was irresistible to a generation mired in the disaffected early ’90s ethos (there’s a reason, after all, that Twin Peaks’ Agent Dale Cooper, Kyle MacLachlan, is featured as the Mayor on Portlandia, a series that proclaims in its theme song that “the dream of the ’90s is alive”). The original series and the prequel film — and the new limited series — are surreal in that literal Lynchian way that manages to be more (not other than) real.
The new series
With the glut of reboots on the market at the moment, some of us anticipated the return of Twin Peaks with at best a cautious optimism. As the countdown to the premiere two weeks ago began, however, that began to turn to giddy joy. Few things have flooded my Facebook newsfeed like the search for Twin Peaks watch parties that Sunday afternoon. Showtime played directly into the modern binge-watching mentality with the release of the first four episodes all that first night — the two-part premiere airing both broadcast on their station and streaming online, with episodes three and four streaming online only immediately afterwards.
With Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost back at the helm, fans needn’t have worried at all. The new series is as eerie, as terrifying (episode three actually gave my normally unflappable husband nightmares) and as utterly delightful as the original. The hallmark of Twin Peaks — its unique way of managing the balancing act of tension and release that leaves you on the hook for scenes at a time — is there in full force. The renewed emphasis on the Black Lodge and other supernatural elements is unrelenting — an overall welcome change, made possible by the switch from network TV to cable, which carries with it the freedom to get darker and more violent much faster and more viscerally.
The new additions to the cast might in any other world cause trepidation, but Lynch’s deft hand never misses, with even a bizarre monologue from Michael Cera feeling right at home. Of course, it’s the absences from the cast that are felt most keenly. Twenty-five years is a long time, and every episode thus far has been dedicated to one or more actor who was lost in the interim. The hardest thing, perhaps, is watching Miguel Ferrer, who made it through filming the entire new series, but passed away in January of this year. Both the actor and his character on this show (FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield) are favorites of mine, and it’s bittersweet to watch him in what would end up being his final role.
How to watch
Looking to get caught up before heading down to FilmScene on Sunday?
You can watch the original series on Amazon, with a Prime membership, or on Hulu, with membership or a free trial there. Of course, there’s also a good chance at least half a dozen of your closest friends own all of the DVDs.
To check out the new series, you can stream it directly on Showtime with your Showtime account, a streaming-only membership or a free trial. You can also get a Showtime add-on for your Amazon Prime or Hulu account at a lower rate than the channel’s own streaming option.
Now that the first four episodes are available, Showtime will be doling out the remaining 14 episodes of the series at the once-typical rate of one per week, so we can all practice delayed gratification and talk about it excitedly with our friends and co-workers in the interim — as though 25 years hadn’t passed at all.