Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
|Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Lynch|
|Produced by||Francis Bouygues
|Screenplay by||David Lynch
|Based on||Twin Peaks by David Lynch and Mark Frost|
Harry Dean Stanton
|Music by||Angelo Badalamenti|
|Editing by||Mary Sweeney|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Release dates||May 1992|
|Running time||135 minutes|
|Box office||$4,781,186 (USA)|
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a 1992 American psychological horror film, directed by David Lynch and written by Lynch and Robert Engels. The film can be viewed as both prologue and epilogue to the television series Twin Peaks (1990–91), created by Lynch and Mark Frost.
It revolves around the investigation into the murder of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) and the last seven days in the life of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), a popular high school student in the fictional Washington town of Twin Peaks. Additionally, the film's narrative references and clarifies Agent Dale Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) fate in the series finale. Thus, the film is often considered a prequel, however, it also has features more typical of a sequel.
Most of the television cast returned for the film, with the notable exceptions of Lara Flynn Boyle, who declined to return as Laura's best friend Donna Hayward (she was replaced by Moira Kelly), and Sherilyn Fenn, due to scheduling conflicts. Kyle MacLachlan, who starred as Special Agent Dale Cooper in the TV series, was reluctant to return out of fear of getting typecast, so his presence in the film is smaller than originally planned.
Fire Walk with Me was greeted at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival with booing and jeers from the audience and met with negative reviews in the United States. The film fared poorly in the United States at the box office, partially because it was released almost a year after the television series was canceled (due to a sharp ratings decline in the second season). However, it was a commercial hit in Japan.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (April 2011)|
The film opens with Gordon Cole (David Lynch)'s calling Agent Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak) about the mysterious murder of Teresa Banks in the town of Deer Meadow. Cole introduces Chester to his new partner, Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland), and they receive clues from Lil the dancer. While Chet explains to Sam most of the clues Lil provided, he does not explain the blue rose. After difficulty with the local sheriff's department, Desmond and Stanley eventually view Teresa's body at a morgue, realizing that her ring is missing and the letter "T" has been placed under her fingernail. Desmond and Stanley learn about the victim's recent past from the town residents. Stanley leaves Deer Meadow after finishing his part in the investigation, while Desmond remains behind. Desmond later vanishes after picking up Teresa's ring in the trailer park where she lived.
The following day at FBI headquarters in Philadelphia, long-lost Agent Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) re-appears. He questions Dale Cooper's identity before telling Cole about a meeting he witnessed in a dream. As he explains, we see images of the Man from Another Place, BOB, Mrs. Chalfont, and her grandson. Jeffries begins to scream and disappears as we see shots of electrical lines. Desmond is reported missing and Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is sent to Deer Meadow to investigate his disappearance. He sees the words, "Let's Rock", on the windshield of Desmond's car. The clues to Teresa Banks' murder lead to a dead end. Cooper is certain her killer will strike again.
One year later in Twin Peaks, high school homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) and Donna Hayward (Moira Kelly) return to school. Laura takes cocaine and secretly meets with James Hurley (James Marshall). After school, Laura talks with Donna about the difference between Hurley and Laura's actual boyfriend, Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook).
Later that day, Laura realizes pages are missing from her secret diary and tells her friend, the agoraphobic Harold Smith (Lenny Von Dohlen), about it. She claims BOB took the pages. Harold tells Laura that BOB is not real. Laura argues that BOB is real and says that he told her if she does not let him be her, he will kill her. When Harold argues, Laura says, "Fire walk with me", her face changing color. Returning to normal and visibly shaken, Laura gives Harold her diary to keep. She leaves, stating she does not know when, or if, she will return.
Meanwhile, Cooper tells fellow agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) he believes the killer will strike again and describes the appearance of the person he believes the victim will be. During her Meals on Wheels rounds, Laura sees Mrs. Chalfont (Frances Bay) and her grandson. Chalfont gives Laura a painting, and her grandson informs Laura that the "man behind the mask" is in Laura's room. Laura runs home, where she sees BOB. After Laura rushes outside in terror, she sees her father, Leland (Ray Wise), emerge from the house. Laura then realises her father could be BOB.
Later that evening, when the Palmer family is about to eat, Leland, upon seeing the half-heart necklace, menaces Laura and questions her about her "lovers". Looking at her finger, Leland insinuates there is dirt underneath the nail. Later, Leland sits on the edge of his bed and suddenly begins to weep. He goes into his daughter's bedroom and tells her he loves her. After he is gone, Laura looks at a picture of an angel on her wall and asks if Leland is really BOB.
Remembering the painting she received from Chalfont that she left on the front lawn, Laura goes outside to get it. After hanging it on her wall, she falls asleep. She dreams about entering the Black Lodge and about a ring. Suddenly, Cooper enters the room and we see the Man from Another Place. He tells Cooper that he (the Man from Another Place) is "the arm", and he utters an Indian Whooping sound. The Man from Another Place offers the ring to Laura, but Cooper tells her not to take it. Laura finds Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham) next to her in bed, covered in blood. Annie tells Laura in her diary that "the good Dale" (Cooper) is trapped in the Black Lodge and can't leave. Laura sees the ring in her hand and is frightened. Hearing the muffled cry of her mother, Laura goes to her bedroom door. She is suddenly in the painting. When she turns she sees herself sleeping peacefully in her bed.
Laura awakens in the morning, and the ring is gone from her hand. Disturbed, she removes the painting from her wall. Meanwhile, Bobby, Leo, and Jacques Renault discuss drug scores. Bobby first phones Leo asking to score more drugs, but Leo hangs up on him. Bobby then calls Jacques at the Roadhouse, who agrees to send someone to meet with him in "two days midnight at the sound of sawing wood".
That evening, Laura is ready to go to the Roadhouse. Donna says she wishes to accompany her, but Laura says she is not invited. As Laura is about to enter the bar, she encounters the Log Lady. Inside the bar, Jacques introduces Laura to two men. The group is about to leave for the Pink Room to have sex, but Donna shows up and wants to come too; impressed by her "audition" kiss, they let her.
In the Pink Room, Laura discusses Teresa Banks' murder with Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine), mentioning the girl's hopes of becoming rich by blackmailing someone, then engages in oral sex with the men. Laura is distraught, not with seeing Donna topless but with the jacket she is wearing. It is Laura's jacket. Jacques Renault carries Donna out and Laura and takes her home. The next morning, Laura tells Donna she does not want Donna to become like her.
Leland arrives, becomes blank faced, and has a memory of Ronette and Laura laughing on a bed together. Leland takes Laura to breakfast. On the way there, MIKE (Al Strobel), the one-armed man, shouts madly at Leland from his pick up truck during a traffic jam at the stoplight in town. Mike accuses Leland of stealing corn. He tells Laura, "The look on her face when it was opened… There was a stillness like the formica table top." He shouts at Leland: "the thread will be torn". Showing Laura the ring, Mike attempts to tell her that her father is BOB, but both Leland and Laura scream, preventing her from hearing.
Leland pulls into a gas station parking lot to gather his wits and recalls his affair with Teresa. After having set up a foursome with Teresa's friends, Leland had fled in fear, upon discovering Laura was one of them. This led to Teresa's discovering who her "John" really was. Leland is the man she was blackmailing.
Sensing a change in her father's behaviour, Laura questions him about seeing him on the day she found BOB looking for the diary. Later that night, Laura realizes the ring she saw was the same one from her dream. Leland remembers killing Teresa.
The next night, Laura and Bobby take cocaine in the woods, and Jacques sends a drug messenger (who is the Sherriff's deputy) from Deer Meadow, carrying an enormous amount of cocaine. The messenger takes out a gun intending to kill him, but Bobby shoots him and futilely tries to bury him as Laura laughs, high on drugs.
The following morning, James worries about Laura's taking drugs. Leland gives Sarah Palmer Valium to sedate her. After she drifts off to an undisturbed sleep, Leland walks into the hallway to turn on the fan. BOB comes through Laura's window and begins raping her. She realizes BOB has taken over her father.
The next morning, distraught, she warns Leland to stay away from her. Upset over the realization her father is actually BOB, Laura cannot concentrate at school. Laura later refuses sex with Bobby, and he finally realizes that Laura was using him to get cocaine, causing him to hand over his own stash, seemingly cutting their ties. The angel in Laura's painting disappears.
In the woods, Laura tells James "his Laura" is gone. Screaming that she loves him, Laura runs away from James deeper into the woods. Laura meets Ronette, Jacques, and Leo, and they hold an orgy in Jacques' cabin as Leland watches from outside. Jacques wants to have hard sex and ties Laura up. Leland attacks Jacques outside, and Leo flees in panic. Leland takes Laura and Ronette, both bound, to the train car.
Meanwhile, Mike realizes that BOB/Leland is about to kill again and chases after him. As Leland is tying Laura up a second time, she asks Leland if he is going to kill her. He does not answer. Leland places a mirror in front of her. She screams after seeing her reflection turn into BOB. BOB is real. He tells Laura that he wants her.
Ronette prays. She breaks down stating that she is not ready because she is "dirty". Suddenly an angel appears in the train car as all actions stop. The angel causes both Ronette and Laura's hands to become unbound. Hearing Mike outside begging to be let in, Ronette, now free, is able to help him open the door. When Leland sees Ronette trying to let him in, he knocks her unconscious and kicks her out of the train car. Mike is able to use this moment to throw in his ring. Laura, whose hands are also free now, dons the ring, preventing BOB from becoming her. Angered that he can't be her, BOB kills her as he promised by stabbing her repeatedly.
BOB/Leland places Laura's body in the lake. As her corpse drifts away, BOB/Leland enters the Black Lodge, where he encounters Mike and the Man from Another Place (who is seated at Mike's left side as the aforementioned "arm"). They tell BOB they want all their garmonbozia ("pain and sorrow"). BOB heals Leland's wound.
Laura's body washes up on the lakeshore, where it is found by the Sheriff's department the following morning. Laura's spirit later sits in the Black Lodge and notices Agent Cooper at her side; he has a hand on her shoulder. Laura looks deeply saddened until her angel appears, and she begins to cry and then laugh. The film ends with Laura's face in white.
Twin Peaks had been canceled only a month when David Lynch announced he would be making a movie with French company CIBY-2000 financing what would be the first film of a three-picture deal. However, on July 11, 1991, Ken Scherer, CEO of Lynch/Frost productions, announced that the film was not going to be made because series star Kyle MacLachlan did not want to reprise his role of Special Agent Dale Cooper. A month later, MacLachlan had changed his mind and the film was back on.
The film was made without Twin Peaks series regulars Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn and Richard Beymer. At the time, these absences were attributed to scheduling conflicts, but in a 1995 interview, Fenn revealed that the real reason was that she "was extremely disappointed in the way the second season got off track. As far as Fire Walk with Me, it was something that I chose not to be a part of." Fenn's character was cut from the script, Boyle was recast with Moira Kelly and Beymer's scenes were not filmed. In a September 2007 interview, Beymer claimed that he did not appear in any scenes shot for the movie, although his character, Benjamin Horne, appeared in the script.
Kyle MacLachlan's reluctance was also caused by a decline of quality in the second season of the show. He said "David and Mark [Frost] were only around for the first season... I think we all felt a little abandoned. So I was fairly resentful when the film, Fire Walk with Me, came around." Although he agreed to be in the film, MacLachlan wanted a smaller role, forcing Lynch and co-writer Robert Engels to re-write the screenplay so that the Teresa Banks murder was investigated by Agent Chester Desmond and not by Cooper as originally planned. MacLachlan ended up working only five days on the movie.
Another missing figure from Twin Peaks was co-creator Mark Frost. The relationship between Lynch and Frost had become strained during the second season and after the series ended. Frost went on to direct his own movie, Storyville (1992), and was unable to collaborate with Lynch on Fire Walk with Me.
David Bowie had this to say about his part of the movie: "They crammed me. I did all my scenes in four or five days, because I was in rehearsals for the 1991 Tin Machine tour. I was there for only a few days."
Principal photography began on September 5, 1991 in Snoqualmie, Washington and lasted until October of the same year, with four weeks dedicated to locations in Washington and another four weeks of interiors and additional locations in Los Angeles, California. When shooting went over schedule in Seattle, Washington, Laura's death in the train car had to be shot in Los Angeles on soundstage during the last day of shooting, October 31.
Lynch wanted to make a Twin Peaks film because, as he claimed in an interview, "I couldn't get myself to leave the world of Twin Peaks. I was in love with the character of Laura Palmer and her contradictions: radiant on the surface but dying inside. I wanted to see her live, move and talk. I was in love with that world and I hadn't finished with it. But making the movie wasn't just to hold onto it; it seemed that there was more stuff that could be done",  and that he was "not yet finished with the material".
Actress Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer, also echoed these sentiments. "I never got to be Laura alive, just in flashbacks; it allowed me to come full circle with the character." According to Lynch, the movie is about "the loneliness, shame, guilt, confusion and devastation of the victim of incest. It also dealt with the torment of the father – the war within him."
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me received a reaction quite the contrary to the television series. The film was entered into the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, where it was greeted with booing from the audience and met with almost unanimous negative reviews. According to Roger Ebert from The Chicago Sun-Times, the film was met with two extremes, one side being overall positive, while the other side being the exact opposite. Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who was also in attendance, confessed in a 1992 interview, "After I saw Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me at Cannes, David Lynch had disappeared so far up his own ass that I have no desire to see another David Lynch movie until I hear something different. And you know, I loved him. I loved him."
Even the CIBY-2000 party at Cannes did not go well. According to Lynch, Francis Bouygues (then head of CIBY) was not well liked in France and this only added to the film's demise at the festival. After the Cannes showing, Lynch said "It was a little bit of a sadness, [...] You'd like to have everybody there, but their characters didn't have a bearing on the life of her [Laura Palmer]".
U.S. distributor New Line Cinema released the film in America on August 28, 1992. It grossed a total of USD$1.8 million in 691 theaters in its opening weekend and went on to gross a total of $4.1 million in North America.
Despite its mixed critical and poor commercial response, Fire Walk with Me gained attention at awards time. The film was nominated for five Saturn Awards and two Independent Spirit Awards, including Sheryl Lee being nominated for Best Actress. The only awards won by the film were for Angelo Badalamenti's musical score, which won a Spirit Award, a Saturn Award and a Brit Award.
Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream film critics, reported that there were "generally unfavorable reviews", with an average score of 28% based on 16 reviews.
The film holds a 59% rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with 34 of 58 critics giving the film a positive review. The site wrote of the critics' consensus: "For better or worse, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is every bit as strange and twisted as you'd expect from David Lynch".
Most negative reviews came from American film critics. Among the negative reviews, Janet Maslin from The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Lynch's taste for brain-dead grotesque has lost its novelty". Fellow Times film critic Vincent Canby concurred, "It's not the worst movie ever made; it just seems to be". In his review for Variety magazine, Todd McCarthy said, "Laura Palmer, after all the talk, is not a very interesting or compelling character and long before the climax has become a tiresome teenager". USA Today gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four, calling it, "a morbidly joyless affair". Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers wrote, "though the movie ups the TV ante on nudity, language and violence, Lynch's control falters. But if inspiration is lacking, talent is not. Count Lynch down but never out". In her review for the The Washington Post, Rita Kempley described the film as a "perversely moving, profoundly self-indulgent prequel".
Most positive reviews came from British film critics. Among the positive reviews, Kim Newman from the British magazine Sight & Sound stated: "The film's many moments of horror [...] demonstrate just how tidy, conventional and domesticated the generic horror movie of the 1980s and 1990s has become". Mark Kermode hailed the film as Lynch's "masterpiece". Slant Magazine gave the film a four out of four stars, listing it in their '100 Essential Films' list.
In the book Lynch on Lynch, Chris Rodley described the film as "brilliant but excoriating", writing that "by the time Lynch unveiled Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me in 1992, critical reaction had become hostile, and only now is the movie enjoying a degree of cautious but sympathetic critical re-evaluation. It is, undoubtedly, one of Lynch's cruellest, bleakest neighbourhood visions, and even managed to displease die-hard fans of the series. [...] In exposing the very heart of the TV series, Lynch was forced to accept that he was unlikely to return to the town of Twin Peaks again."
Lynch originally shot over five hours of footage that was subsequently cut down to two hours and fourteen minutes. The footage nearly appeared on New Line's Special Edition DVD in 2002, but was nixed over budgetary and running-time concerns.
Most of the deleted scenes feature additional characters from the television series who ultimately did not appear in the finished film. Lynch has said that "I had a limit on the running time of the picture. We shot many scenes that—for a regular feature—were too tangential to keep the main story progressing properly. We thought it might be good sometime to do a longer version with these other things in, because a lot of the characters that are missing in the finished movie had been filmed. They're part of the picture, they're just not necessary for the main story." According to Lynch, had the movie included these scenes, it "wouldn't have been quite so dark. To me it obeyed the laws of Twin Peaks. But a little bit of the goofiness had to be removed."
In 2007, DVDrama.com reported that MK2 was in final negotiations with Lynch about a new two-disc special edition that would include seventeen deleted scenes hand-picked by the director himself. It had been tentatively scheduled for release on October 17, 2007, but MK2 subsequently opted instead to re-release a bare-bones edition of Fire Walk with Me, citing a new version including the deleted scenes has been put on hold indefinitely. In November 2008, Lynch said the following regarding the deleted scenes:
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is owned by a company called MK2 in France. And I spoke to them a couple of months ago. [...] I've spoke to them several times about this. [...] I think it will happen, but maybe the financial crisis is [...] affecting that in some way. I'm not sure what's going on. I'm pretty sure there's seventeen scenes in that at least but it's been a while since we've looked into that.
Paramount Pictures, which has DVD distribution rights to the TV series, acquired the rights in Germany and most of the world excluding the US, UK, France and Canada. Paramount released their DVD in 2007. The DVD was a port straight from the MK2 French edition.
Fire Walk with Me was released on Blu-ray in France on November 3, 2010 by MK2.
The film was also released on Blu-ray on June 4 in the UK by Universal UK Home Video, although it has been reported that the release suffers from defects in the audio track.
Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost posted on his Twitter that there is a possibility that the deleted scenes will be released as part of a Blu-ray version of the Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box Edition.
Legacy and sequel
According to cinematographer Ron Garcia, the film was popular in Japan, in particular with women, as Martha Nochimson wrote in her book on Lynch's movies, "he surmises that the enthusiasm of the Japanese women comes from a gratification of seeing in Laura some acknowledgment of their suffering in a repressive society." Released under the title, Twin Peaks: The Last Seven Days of Laura Palmer, it was greeted with long lines of moviegoers at theaters.
In retrospect, Lynch has said, "I feel bad that Fire Walk with Me did no business and that a lot of people hate the film. But I really like the film. But it had a lot of baggage with it. It's as free and as experimental as it could be within the dictates it had to follow."
The film's editor Mary Sweeney said, "They so badly wanted it to be like the TV show, and it wasn't. It was a David Lynch feature. And people were very angry about it. They felt betrayed." For her part, Lee is very proud of the film, saying, "I have had many people, victims of incest, approach me since the film was released, so glad that it had been made because it helped them to release a lot."
After Fire Walk with Me was released, Lynch reportedly planned two more films that would have continued and then concluded the series' narrative. But in a 2001 interview, he said that the Twin Peaks franchise is "dead as a doornail."
Reviewers and fans of three seasons of Veena Sud's U.S. TV series, The Killing, have noted similarities and borrowed elements from David Lynch's Fire Walk with Me and Twin Peaks, and compared and contrasted Sud and Lynch's works.
|Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me|
|Soundtrack album by Angelo Badalamenti|
|Released||August 11, 1992|
|Producer||Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch|
The soundtrack to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was released on Warner Bros. Records on August 11, 1992. It includes music by Angelo Badalamenti, who had composed and conducted the music on the television series and its original soundtrack.
In addition to his instrumental compositions, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me's soundtrack features vocal accompanient to Badalamenti's songs by jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott and dream pop singer Julee Cruise. Badalamenti performs vocals on "A Real Indication" and "The Black Dog Runs at Night", two songs by the Thought Gang, a musical project between Badalamenti and David Lynch. Lynch wrote the lyrics for several of the soundtrack's songs, including "Sycamore Trees", "Questions in a World of Blue", "A Real Indiction" and "The Black Dog Runs at Night", and was the soundtrack's producer alongside Badalamenti.
Upon its release, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me's soundtrack charted in the United States, peaking at number 173 on the Billboard 200. It was nominated for, and later received, the Best Music at the 1992 Saturn Awards and Best Original Score at the Independent Spirit Awards. In March 2011, British music publication NME placed Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me's soundtrack at number 1 on their list of the 50 Best Film soundtracks Ever, describing it as "combining plangent beauty with a kind of clanking evil jazz, this is one of those endlessly evocative soundtracks that takes up residence in your subconscious and never leaves."
|1.||"Theme from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me"||Angelo Badalamenti||6:40|
|2.||"The Pine Float"||Badalamenti||3:58|
|3.||"Sycamore Trees" (vocals by Jimmy Scott)||David Lynch||Badalamenti||3:52|
|4.||"Don't Do Anything (I Wouldn't Do)"||Badalamenti||7:17|
|5.||"A Real Indication" (by Thought Gang, vocals by Badalamenti)||Lynch||Badalamenti||5:31|
|6.||"Questions in a World of Blue" (vocals by Julee Cruise)||Lynch||4:50|
|7.||"The Pink Room"||Badalamenti||4:02|
|8.||"The Black Dog Runs at Night" (by Thought Gang, vocals by Badalamenti)||Lynch||Badalamenti||1:45|
|10.||"Moving Through Time"||Badalamenti||6:41|
|11.||"Montage from Twin Peaks: "Girl Talk"/"Birds in Hell"/"Laura Palmer's Theme"/"Falling"||Badalamenti||5:27|
|12.||"The Voice of Love"||Badalamenti||3:55|
Awards and nominations
|Category — Recipient(s)|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best Original Score — Angelo Badalamenti|
|Saturn Awards||Best Music — Angelo Badalamenti|
|Category — Nominee(s)|
|Cannes Film Festival||Palme d'Or — David Lynch|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best Female Lead — Sheryl Lee|
|Saturn Awards||Best Actress — Sheryl Lee
Best Horror Film — Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
Best Supporting Actor — Ray Wise
Best Writing — David Lynch and Robert Engels
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