Welcome to Trespass Magazine’s newest weekly feature, Couch Trespassing, where we’ll be looking at newly released DVD or Blu-ray titles each week. We’re more interested in looking at older titles that have resurfaced or new titles you mightn’t have heard of before, rather than the same ol’ films that played in cinemas just four month ago. Grab the remote and take a seat!
Being a fan of David Lynch–I’d go so far as to say that the madman of Americana is my favourite director–is hard work. Since Inland Empire, his surreal experiment in 2006, he has veered to television commercials, music videos, albums, art exhibitions and even opening a Parisian nightclub that have all made another Lynch film look as likely as Laura Palmer rising from the grave.
Still, with the advent of new technology means it sometimes feels like we’re getting new product. And so we get Lost Highway and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me on Blu-ray. Released through Madman, these two highly polarising titles come at such a good time. As Lynch’s output diminishes, so rises the re-evaluation of his previous work, and these two titles–brilliant, bold, destructive films that they are–are perhaps the two that deserve it the most. Widely dismissed upon release, they are certainly Lynch’s most brazen films, even more so than Eraserhead and Wild at Heart, that play with the audience’s expectations and limits in ways that can result in anger and violent disgust.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me arrives on Blu-ray in time to celebrate the 20th anniversary. This cinematic prequel to the most influential television series of all time (can anyone deny this?) was greeted with boos at its Cannes Film Festival premiere. It’s radical reinterpretation of the Twin Peaks mythology angered more casual fans of the series that had only tuned in sporadically, whilst simultaneously endearing itself to the shows more fervent supporters. Substituting the camp, gothic soap opera of the series with a dark look at suburbia, showing the cruel acts of rape, murder and incest that the television series only ever alluded to. One critic wrote in 1992 that “it’s not the worst movie ever made; it just seems to be”, whilst another claimed it as a “surrealistic bummer.” For me, however, seeing the famous “Welcome to Twin Peaks” sign in blissful Blu-ray quality as Angelo Badalamenti’s iconic score plays made me fall in love all over again. It’s a treat no matter how many times I’ve seen it (on VHS, DVD, big screen and now blu-ray!)
Some Twin Peaks die-hard fans have criticised the quality of the Blu-ray transfer, which is taken from the same master as the French release from 2010, but I suspect most people will be none the wiser. Special features are low on both the Blu-ray and the coinciding DVD release. If people want those they should seek out the earlier Roadshow DVD release that came with glossy booklet and more video footage. The long whispered about deleted scenes–Lynch supposedly filmed enough for a 4-hour movie–unfortunately do not appear. Now we just need the entire Twin Peaks series on blu-ray, thanks.
Equally reviled–the producer even took damning reviews as a glowing endorsement of Lynch’s product!–but perhaps even more impenetrable, is Lost Highway. Released in 1997, the film is, like Fire Walk with Me, a unique take on the horror genre. Starring Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette (twice) and Balthazar Getty (Remember him? Didn’t think so!) as… well, you know what? I’m not entire sure. I know there’s a scary videotape (before The Ring made them popular), characters becoming other characters at whim, David Bowie over the credits and the infamous Robert Blake in a supporting role so maniacally deranged that it surely ranks as one of the scariest things Lynch has ever created, which says a lot. Lynch has said Lost Highway takes place “within the same universe as Twin Peaks”, so it’s cosmic fate that they’re released side-by-side.
Featuring roughly the same special features as the Roadshow special edition from 2006–I now have three copies of this movie, it has been released in so many different editions!–fans won’t be buying it for anything other than the new blu-ray transfer. While it perhaps magnifies some of Lynch’s own deliberate grainy filmmaking too well, it still ascends Lynch’s horrific vision to new terrifying heights.
For more information about Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Lost Highway on DVD please visit Madman’s website