Archive for Sheryl Lee

Things I Read Off the Screen in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Posted in FILM, literature, Mythology with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2017 by dcairns

Are we all excited about the new series? We re-watched the last episode of season 2 and the movie, to get us in the mood. Lynch has said the movie is the best way to prepare ourselves for what he has in store. I went LOOKING FOR CLUES.

Fourth shot after the credits sequence ~


Fiona read this one out, which started me thinking it was time for another installment of “Things I Read Off the Screen” — I imagine this is just something that real school buses have, but it feels occult and significant and mysterious here, maybe because school buses aren’t really a thing in the UK. And, given James’ last scene (below), it definitely feels like we’re meant to notice it, and it’ll end up tying the film together.


Nice odd phrase. I’ve been enjoying a terrific podcast called Diane which has studied the original series and the movie and the tie-in books and the film, and is now preparing to appreciate and analyse the new shows. You should give it listen. They point out that Deer Meadow, scene of the first BOB murder, is like the anti-Twin Peaks, a town that’s dead, horrible and utterly lacking in positive magic. And the coffee is horrible. So we’re about to meet the anti-Lucy, a sniggering slut, the anti-Andy, a bragging bully, and the anti-Truman, a hulking brute, Sheriff Cable.

In one of the best of the deleted scenes, Chris Isaak beats the hell out of this guy.

Isaak and his buddy Keifer Sutherland (at times evoking Stan Laurel) discover a clue — the letter T under the corpse’s fingernail, which they RIP OFF. Laura Palmer, in the series, will be discovered with an R under her fingernail. In the extra scenes shot for the European release of the original pilot, we are told that the letters were eventually going to spell ROBERT, but this isn’t really canonical. And nobody ever calls BOB “Robert.” It doesn’t suit him, somehow. Still, I like the idea that the name was going to be spelled backwards (TREBOR), since Bob comes from a world where people speak backwards-forwards at the same time.

Based on this movie, I think maybe the word was going to be DIRT backwards. Leland, Laura’s father, who is BOB on some level, during one of his particularly nasty moments tells her there’s a “piece of DIRT” under her nail. This is clearly a reference to her future fate, but the letter R is literally “a piece of DIRT” so that’s why I think that.

HAP’S. With its weeping clown neon and faulty electrics and anti-Peggy Lipton proprietor, Hap’s is the anti-Double R Diner. Unlawful to pass when red light flashes.



9 AM …… EVER


The Fat Trout is a classic liminal space, so it makes sense that the denizens of the Black Lodge have been all over this place, apparently scooting in and out by the telegraph wires. The old lady and her grandson (Lynch’s kid, Sean) used to have a trailer here, and will later appear in Twin Peaks on Laura’s meals-on-wheels route. Eerie enough when they keep to their own red room space, they become uncanny in a whole new way when they trespass in our world or show signs of their presence.

Harry Dean Stanton plays Carl Rodd, who will be back in the new series. I like that one of his… tenants?… thinks his name is “Rod.” So they think they’re calling him by his first name when they’re really calling him by his last name. They’re on different planes of familiarity without realising it. I think I’d be the same way if I met Harry Dean Stanton, because I would want to love and admire him and he would think I am an asshole.

kcoR s’teL

Let’s Rock

This is something the man from another place says in the series — part of the reason TP:FWWM arguably doesn’t stand up as an independent work away from the series is that these things are very satisfying to note, but you have to look outside the movie for them. There aren’t many clues IN the movie which help you feel you’re making headway with its mysteries. But I’ve given up letting that bother me.


Bobby Briggs has a T on his back! He must be involved in the Theresa Banks case! But this does seem like one of the few red herrings. We can’t get excited every time we see a letter T… can we?


Xs, however, are always exciting. This is a direct appearance by red lodge characters in our reality, so the universal symbol for the unknown seems wholly appropriate. If I had the Blu-ray maybe I could tell you what that small lettering says. It might be the key to everything.


An exterior featured in one of the trailers for the new series, so it’ll feature again. Under new management, I presume. Unlawful to pass when red light flashes.


This one is just kind of funny. But it comes in a very fraught scene, which includes flashbacks which help establish Leland’s motivation for murder ~


Unlawful to pass when red light flashes. The movie complicates our understanding of Leland’s guilt. In the series, it’s possible to believe that he’s an innocent man invaded by an alien force (BOB, the double-denim demon). In the movie, we clearly see Leland as Leland, plotting and remembering and in full knowledge of his guilt. It puts me in mind of a passage from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (an ur-text for all divided-consciousness horror tales) where Jekyll complains that, deep into his experiment in duality, he was often wholly Hyde but never wholly Jekyll…

Note the presence of those sinister WIRES again.


What the critics at the time didn’t notice (along with Sheryl Lee’s moving and bizarre and fearless performance) but which the Diane podcast is great at spotting, is that the movie takes familiar recurring images from the show like the ceiling fan at the Palmer residence and this set of overhanging traffic lights, and imbues them with new and more powerful meaning. This turns out to be the setting for Laura and James’ last love scene. James will watch her go, then wait for the light to turn red before revving up and roaring off…

Unlawful to pass when red light flashes.

The Look of… what?

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2011 by dcairns

Or how a certain dead-eyed shark gaze was handed down through film history from the forties, to the fifties, to the nineties — I haven’t found the sixties, seventies and noughties versions yet.

“One who follows his nature keeps his original nature in the end.” Rita Hayworth’s psycho stare here is clearly an echo of Glenn Anders’ loony gaze earlier when he proposes his crazy murder scheme to Orson on the clifftop. Does the film propose Rita as the source of this madness, transmitted to those in her circle? A gaze-borne mental malady?

Bardot, in one of the few roles that deployed any of her many qualities other than a certain physical pertness — LA FEMME ET LE PANTIN. Here, she actually manages to drop a hint of PITY in with the psychopathic chill. It’s not a warm pity, though, it’s much more a look that says, “It’s such a shame I’m going to do this to you, but because you are who you are, I totally am.”

“Gone, gone, like a turkey in the corn.”

The greatly underrated Sheryl Lee in TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME. I still remember the reviews carping that she wasn’t up to playing a leading role, which was grossly unfair as she is ASTONISHING in this film. Again, like Bardot she was discovered and cast for her cuteness, to play a good-looking corpse, and turned out to have so much more going for her. See also: MOTHER NIGHT, WINTER’S BONE… hmmm, those two sound like parts of a series. What would the third film be called?

Anyway, the above movies are only touched upon in this week’s edition of The Forgotten, which is about something else. Find out what by going here.

Here’s the Bardot scene, which is fairly understandable, and fairly interesting, even if you don’t speak French of have the invaluable Mr Wingrove to hand to translate for you…

Euphoria #41: “I Am The Muffin.”

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , on February 7, 2008 by dcairns

Two girls and a guy 

We are gathering together all the little moments of cinema that make you full of happiness the way John Travolta is full of puddings.

Writer, filmmaker and ghost tour guide Kristin Loeer sallies forth with this distinctive take on the subject. As we enter the low 40s, the Euphoria starts to darken, you see. This is noirphoria… 

“I realised that it’s hardly ever happy moments that seem to stick with me. It seems that the scenes that mean the most to me are those that make me recognise something about myself.

“Watching Twin Peaks Fire: Walk with Me was a great experience. The entire film sort of takes me back to my teens and growing up in a small town and facing so many new and scary things, suddenly growing up: sexuality, depression, dreams and fears.

“There are two particular scenes which remind me exactly of the feeling of being between the ages of 13 and 16 again. One is the nightclub scene. I am not saying that is what happened when I went out being about 14, but the general feeling of this scene is exactly the feeling I remember from that time. The raw sexuality, the characters and how they talk and seem to deeply understand each other when it is not making much sense. It is comforting somehow to recognise so much later that the first nights out are not necessarily experienced like the prom in Pretty in Pink, but more like this scene from Fire Walk with Me. It is not exactly a happy realisation or memory but makes you think that some people out there experienced it the same way you did. Which makes me feel better… even though I propably shouldn’t.

“The other is the one in which Laura is in bed at night and Bob comes through the window and crawls onto her bed and they make love and she realises it’s her father. I did not find the scene that disturbing compared to others. It just felt like that is just exactly what sexuality feels like to young girls between 13 and 16. –or is that just me?


“– well, even if it is just me, this scene makes me happy because it is not just me, Laura felt like that too — and no, you don’t have to be abused by your father for it!

“And then of course I remember that significant moment when I zapped through TV many years ago and suddenly saw that moment from Blue Velvet where Isabella Rossellini asks Kyle McLachlan to hit her. It was part of a very short trailer for the film which was going to be on that night. It made me feel very strange and I knew I had to watch this, what ever it was.

“It was one of those first moments I remember where I really thought to myself “Ohh, something is VERY WRONG with you.”

“But that’s all a bit… well, dodgy?” 


We don’t judge, here at Cinema Euphoria. 

(I repeat: Kris is a ghost tour guide. She leads people into Edinburgh’s most haunted catacombs and tells them stories. Come to Edinburgh and she’ll scare the crap out of you for money.)

Interestingly enough, the extract already on Youtube comes as part of a series of “Worst Movie Scenes,” which shows once again that it takes diff’rent stroke / all kinds, etc. But the reasoning behind the scene’s classification as a “worst” seems highly dubious to me, suggesting that maybe it DOESN’T take all kinds, just a magical combination of weirdballs and dumb-asses.

Even interestinger, the very reasons given by the YouTube people for worst-tagging this scene are part of the reason Kris likes it: the baffling dialogue. It’s not that it makes sense to her as such, but it makes sense for the dialogue to BE baffling.

As a sign of how under-regarded this movie was when it came out, the British distributor accidentally released a version without any subtitles for the roadhouse scene,  so this scene was even more puzzling than Lynch intended, since it’s very carefully mixed so you can’t hear quite what anybody is saying (which, as Kris observes, makes it the perfect evocation of the clubbing experience).

The little guy who talks backwards was unsubtitled too, which made things pretty tough.

Of all the stuff you guys have chosen for Euphoria, this clip maybe loses most, firstly because it’s too short, so you don’t get the full oppressive effect of Angelo Badalamenti’s music (which eventually fades out with the longest decay EVER) and secondly because there’s no way it’s going to sound like it should sound in a cinema. I mean, I know our little boxes here are far from adequate at the best of time, I just think this time the shortfall is more than usually destructive.

(Incidentally, Badalamenti came to the Edinburgh Film Festival a few years back and turned out to be THE FUNNIEST MAN ALIVE.)

I think this is a fine example of Cinema Euphoria, even if a lot of people might find it strange. Film is a mental connector, a bridge between minds, and sometimes that projector beam shines out just to find a single person, somewhere in the darkness, and make them glow.