Tag: Twin Peaks

Top 5 Movies to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday 7

Top 5 Movies to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday

Whether you like it or not, Christmas time is here again. Your family is calling incessantly, those irritating Xmas playlists are blasting out of speakers everywhere you go, and you’re filled with guilt about all the presents that you have to buy. It’s time to spend some money to make someone happy for a few measly minutes. Thankfully, CGMagazine’s resident movie expert, Phil Brown experts is here to help with some handy-dandy buyers guides. This time, he’s focusing on some fancy spinning discs to please the movie lover in your life. Sure, most of the world might be streaming their movies these days, but not movie nerds! Believe it or not, they still collect Blu-rays. That’s a good thing too because a digital download code rarely wraps up into a satisfying present to slip under the tree. If you’re wondering what in tarnation to get that movie-lover on your list, we’d like to humbly suggest this stack of Blu-rays. Whether you’re buying them for a film nerd in need or simply getting greedy and adding to your own collection, these Blu-ray beauties should fill up plenty of hours over that long n’ cold holiday break. Obviously, the focus is on genre flicks because that’s what we love around these parts, so if you’re looking for a list of Christmas classics, go somewhere else bucko!

The Phantasm Collection

Top 5 Movies to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday
Phantasm (1979)

The Phantasm franchise might not have the same reputation of some of the other iconic 80’s horror series that were released alongside it, but Don Coscarelli’s surrealistic horror comedy romps are unlike anything else. Flying silver brain sucking balls, evil jawas, an iconic undertaker, and a bald man with a shotgun link together these five brain-busting genre flicks that are unlike anything else. Minds will be blown every time these bizzarro flicks are watched.

Why They’ll Love It: The five Phantasm movies might vary in quality, but they all share a certain movie drunk insanity that’s hard to deny. They’ve been tough to find for years and getting them together into one massive and extras-packed box set was something of a miracle given all the various rights holders involved. Whether the genre nerd in your life has seen the Phantasm flicks yet or not is almost immaterial. They will love every strange, disturbing, and hilarious minute of genre movie madness contained on these discs. Expect them to disappear for days after opening this gift.

Ghost World: Criterion Collection

Top 5 Movies to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday 1
Ghost World (2001)

Daniel Clowes’ iconic graphic novel Ghost World is one of the greatest stories ever told about outsiders growing out of high school misfit status and finding their place in the world. Terry Zwigoff’s film adaptation somehow improved on the source and is quietly one of the best comic book adaptations ever made.

Why They’ll Love It: Ghost World might be a cult classic, but for a while it seemed like the flick might never make it to Blu-ray. Thankfully Criterion stepped up to deliver a beautiful transfer and packed disc that the movie deserves. There’s a wonderfully nostalgic doc, a delightful audio commentary, and even packaging and a booklet designed by Clowes himself along with a mini-comic. It’s the perfect gift for the comic/movie nerd in your life who could use a reminder that they aren’t alone in feeling alienated by the world.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Top 5 Movies to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday 6
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Possibly the best feature film about the Caped Crusader ever made, this feature length spinoff of the iconic Batman: The Animated Series is a vital missing link in any Batman movie collection. Beautifully animated and written with surprising depth and darkness, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a forgotten Bat-masterpiece and demands rediscovery.

Why They’ll Love It: While we all wait endlessly for Warner Brothers to finally remaster Batman: The Animated Series and shove it onto a bunch of Blu-rays, at least this flick finally made it into HD last year. You’ll never find it in stores though. Warner released it through their print-to-order online market. There are no extras, sadly. However, simply getting Mask of the Phantasm on Blu-ray is a bit of a miracle. It’s the one great Batman movie the Bat-lover in your life is guaranteed not to own and they will weep tears of joy if you shove this in their stocking. Chances are they don’t even know the Blu-ray exists, even if they know just how much they want it.

Slither: Scream Factory

Top 5 Movies to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday 5
Slither (2007)

Long before he transformed The Guardians Of The Galaxy from a D-list Marvel property into pop culture icons, writer/director James Gunn spat this cult classic horror comedy into the world. The cast of cult icons like Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, and Elizabeth Banks would be enough to make this an endearing oddity. The fact that Slither is also one of the most delightfully perverse, hilarious, clever, and downright disgusting horror comedies ever made in Hollywood makes it a must-own. If nothing else, it might be the best horror/comedy about space slugs turning humans into sex zombies ever made. Believe it or not, there’s significant competition in that subgenre.

Why They’ll Love It: Slither is one of those movies that’s impossible for any true horror nerd to hate. There are just too many clever ideas, great actors, hilarious asides, and vomit-inducing horror gags on display to not seduce that horror lover in your life. The flick has been out of print for far too long since Universal never quite knew what to do with it. Thankfully the good folks at Scream Factory (aka the Criterion of genre flicks) released a gorgeous and stacked Blu-ray featuring the abundance of special features from the old DVD as well as new interviews and commentaries from James Gunn and co. that prove they all love this insane horror/sci-fi/comedy mash up just as much now as they did before they were famous. It’s one of those movies that desperately deserves a bigger cult audience and is such a wildly inappropriate flick to gift during the sentimental holiday season that it makes it that much more delicious to unwrap.

Twin Peaks: The Return

Top 5 Movies to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday 3
Twin Peaks (2017)

Ok. Maybe this is cheating a bit. Yes, Twin Peaks: The Return is a TV series regardless of how many times writer/director/co-star/lunatic/genius David Lynch insists on calling it an 18-hour movie. However, for cult movie nuts and art film snobs, there was no bigger filmmaking event this year than watching Lynch return to his iconic small town from the 90s and transform television into a vehicle for experimental genre moviemaking once more. It lived up to the hype and confounded expectations all at once. It’s a show to be re-watched and cherished endlessly, even if you’ll never fully understand just what the hell Lynch thinks is happening half the time.

Why They’ll Love It: It’s Twin Peaks: The Return. If they love Twin Peaks, Lynch, or art house genre yarns, they’ll worship this box set. It’s been beautifully transferred, looking and sounding better in Blu-ray than it ever did during broadcast. There are hours of on-set documentaries to study. The show demands endless re-watching and analyzing, so they’ll spend years obsessing over ever second of the 18 episodes. Plus, even the box itself was designed by Lynch to be a collectable piece of Twin Peaks art. It’s a gift that’ll keep on giving and keep on disturbing the receiver for years. What could be better to receive on Christmas? Nothing. Well, not until Lynch decides to miraculously revive this series again, anyways.

Still unsure about what to get that special someone this Holiday season? For more suggestions, check out the CGMagazine Buyers Guide – Best of 2017 Edition, available for pre-order now, in print and digital formats. Get yours here.

EDITORS NOTE: A retail version of some of these movies were purchased by the writer. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.

Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Phil’s take on Blade Runner 2049, Happy Death Day, and It! He also had a chance to sit down with Guillermo Del Toro. Check out his interview here!

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Showtime's Twin Peaks revival drops in May

Twin Peaks revival premieres May 21st on Showtime

2017 is looking up, now that Showtime president and CEO David Nevins has officially set a date for the premium channel’s Twin Peaks revival. The double-length premiere event is currently set for May 21st at 9 PM, followed by episodes three and four going live on Showtime On Demand. That should give younger fans of the show plenty of time to figure out if their parents have Showtime, and if they know what their cable password is.

(My stepdad unironically likes Ray Donovan and my mom used to watch Homeland before that show got even weirder, so you know I’m all set for when May 21st rolls around)

Series creator David Lynch is back for the 18-episode revival (despite some initial uncertainty), directing from scripts written by Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost, featuring many of the original cast members. Although early reports suggested Twin Peaks might have a shelf life beyond the current 18-episode order, Nevins shot the concept down during Showtime’s TCA tour. “[Twin Peaks] is designed to be a one-time, closed-ended event,” Nevins said. According to Variety, Nevins didn’t rule out the concept of a renewal entirely, but of course he wouldn’t — if the show does gangbusters, Showtime is absolutely going to make more. If it doesn’t bring in the numbers they were hoping for, then “18 episodes was always the plan.”

The first two seasons of Twin Peaks are currently streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the show’s new home, Showtime. Unfortunately, Fire Walk With Me is currently unavailable to stream — your best option is to rent it digitally on iTunes or Amazon. For returning fans who have already re-watched the show in anticipation of the revival there’s always Dual Spires, the Twin Peaks homage episode of Psych (also currently unavailable for streaming). If you like your weird Pacific Northwest towns a little more interactive, there’s also cult classic video game Deadly Premonition (available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, although the quality of the PC version is up for debate)

Can Twin Peaks Go On Without David Lynch? 6

Can Twin Peaks Go On Without David Lynch?

A few months ago my cold and bitter heart grew four sizes one day (one more than that slacker The Grinch managed). The reason? Against all odds it was announced that the beloved, ground-breaking, and beautifully bizarre Twin Peaks would be returning to television thanks to Showtime. To use the parlance of our times, the internet exploded with the news. The show was a legitimate phenomenon when it premiered on ABC as the 80s turned into the 90s. It revolutionized what we thought the little picture box in our homes could do, not just prefiguring the explosion of adult TV drama that we all enjoy today, but thanks to the mystical mind of David Lynch it stretched television into the avant-garde. Last weekend, my heart broke into a million little pieces when Lynch announced he was leaving the project after budget negotiations went sour with Showtime. It was heartbreaking, but here’s the thing: Showtime never announced the cancellation of the project. It is the most discussed show the network has put out…well…ever and they have the rights to go on as well as the scripts and the cast. It’s entirely possible that we will still get to return to that strange little Pacific northwestern town, but should that happen without a certain transcendental meditation, coffee, and cigarette advocate in charge?

(Photograph: Richard Beymer)
(Photograph: Richard Beymer)

The answer according to the internet and the original cast (who put out this charming little video) is a resounding, “no!” But unfortunately it’s not their call. Based purely on Lynch’s vague description of his drop out, the reason appears to be financial. It’s unlikely that’s the result of Lynch demanding too much money. Granted, the continued success of the series is likely a big cash cow for him, but he’s never been a guy inclined to value money over art. No the culprit is likely the fact that Lynch adamantly wants to shoot the comeback series on film, just like the original Twin Peaks run. In an HD dominant age, it’s rare for major movies to spend the cash on film over video. In television, it’s completely unheard of. Given that Showtime can’t accurately predict how much internet hype will translate to revenue with this risky venture, it’s not surprising that they wouldn’t want to spring for film. So, that’s likely what’s gone wrong and it’s easy to see the point of view of both sides. Showtime needs to be careful about spending given that they are hardly a powerhouse network, while Lynch knows how to craft beautifully haunting images on film like few other artists and it’s unlikely he could pull of the same tricks on video.

Regardless of whatever the issue is between Lynch and the network (it’s safe to say that he’s got some wacky ideas in store that aren’t exactly commercial), the fact is that Showtime can keep this series going without him. They have the scripts. They have the cast. They have the rights. It could still happen. While it’s hard to imagine a Twin Peaks comeback without David Lynch, it’s not exactly impossible to imagine Twin Peaks without him. Sure, Lynch’s fingerprints are all over the series and without him the show simply wouldn’t be what it is. However, of the 30 episodes of Twin Peaks that exist, the fact is that Lynch only personally directed six. Sure, he was involved as a guiding hand over much of the series, but he only ever called the shots on the set in less than 1/3 of the episodes. More than that, he’s already written all of the scripts for the series with his co-creator Mark Frost. He was only a credited writer on 4 episodes of the original series. So even if he doesn’t direct a single shot of this follow up series, he’s already more directly involved than he was on the bulk of the show that’s forever tied to his name.

[quote_center]Much of the success of the most famous season of Twin Peaks can be attributed more to Frost than Lynch.[/quote_center]

More than that, co-creator Mark Frost hasn’t dropped out. He still would be in charge and it’s worth noting that Lynch was absent for the bulk of the first season of Twin Peaks that’s easily the highlight of the series. After directing the pilot, co-writing the first three episodes, and directing the third episode, Lynch left the first season of Twin Peaks in Mark Frost’s hands so that he could make his film Wild At Heart. Granted, he was still involved with the edit and had worked out the general plots of the episodes with Frost before he left, but much of the success of the most famous season of the series can be attributed more to Frost than Lynch. Whatever is planned for this potential Twin Peaks comeback, Lynch was substantially involved with its conception and his personal aesthetic is so tied to the series that it would be possible to recreate in the hands of talented artists under Frost’s supervision. That’s how some of the greatest episodes of Twin Peaks already came to be. It’s possible that this thing could still work.

(Photograph: Richard Beymer)
(Photograph: Richard Beymer)

Of course, Lynch also dropped out for most of the second season after being forced by the network to reveal Laura Palmer’s killer too early (as did Frost for that matter) and at that point the show went straight down the toilet leading to cancellation before Lynch and Frost returned to steady the ship at the end of the year, when it was too little too late. There are many hours of bad Twin Peaks episodes out there and after so much time without this beloved slice of small town surrealism, it would be a shame if any new additions proved to shovel more crap onto the legacy. It’s been proven that Twin Peaks can both thrive and fail without Lynch’s guiding hand, so it’s impossible to predict exactly what would happen if Showtime moved forward with the series without his involvement. However, one thing is for sure: the very best episodes of Twin Peaks transcended television conventions because Lynch was fully in charge.

Personally, I’m deeply conflicted about what should happen next. Even though I never dreamed it would be a possibility until a few months ago, I desperately want the new Twin Peaks that I was promised and I want it right away. Good or bad, with Lynch directing, the revival would be must see television. Even when Lynch fails, he does so fascinatingly. Obviously having him in charge makes the prospects of this comeback incredibly exciting. However, there’s no denying that the series has worked without his directorial input before and he’s already put in enough work on the project that his vision and fingerprints will be a substantial part of anything that gets made. Showtime continuing this project with Mark Frost as top dog is hardly an ideal scenario, but that doesn’t in and of itself mean it will be a disaster. At least we’ll still get one more blast of damn fine coffee, pie, and red room insanity. As someone who has been starved in a desert of Twin Peaks-free television for decades, I’ll take a sip of anything I can get. I might regret it, but I can’t pretend I won’t be curious. So, let’s hope that whatever conflict led to Lynch leaving the show and setting the internet on fire last weekend gets resolved and dreams can come true. But if not, let’s not jump so quickly to the conclusion that this whole project has to be shut down immediately. Right now, there is a series of new Twin Peaks scripts written by David Lynch and Mark Frost with the entire original cast confirmed to come back. That’s a miracle in and of itself. Maybe we should just be happy to take what we can get if Showtime decides to keep this train moving forward….

David Lynch Sets Twin Peaks Revival On Fire

David Lynch Sets Twin Peaks Revival On Fire

Well, there’s really no good news/bad news scenario in this one, it’s all bad news, no matter how you look at it, at least if you’re a Twin Peaks fan. The upcoming Showtime continuation of the landmark 90s TV series is still in production; just not with the man who created it at the helm. David Lynch has left the Twin Peaks project.

In statement made to the Facebook Twin Peaks Festival Lynch wrote:

Showtime did not pull the plug on Twin Peaks.

After one year and four months of negotiations, I left because not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done.

This weekend I started to call actors to let them know I would not be directing.

Twin Peaks may still be very much alive at Showtime.

I love the world of Twin Peaks and wish things could have worked out differently.

Of all the reasons that could have been given, this is probably the least surprising. Lynch, after all, has worked primarily in film most of his career, and when he did dip his toe into television with the original Twin Peaks run in 1990, the series ended after only two seasons, with increasingly less participation from Lynch as time went on. Network interference, a hectic production schedule (it was, after all, a weekly series) and smaller budgets compared to film all converged to convince Lynch that while his experiment in television was interesting, it was ultimately not for him, and he returned to cinema. He even went so far as to create a prequel for Twin Peaks, called Fire Walk With Me that went to strange, dark places that content restrictions of prime time, network television would never allow.

Time has changed the way content works in both film and television, and now it’s film that is often more kid friendly, and television where the more extreme, adult content appears, on more specialized channels such as HBO and Showtime, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the budgets. Film regularly enjoys a massive budgetary scale compared to television, at least for big, tent-pole, summer attractions, and Lynch’s distinct, surreal vision has always been pretty demanding on a production cheque book.

So what’s the current state of the show now? Technically, it’s STILL in production, with actors signed on. Showtime itself still going forward, and has issued its own statement saying that it’s reaching out to Lynch and trying to resolve these issues in 11


hour bargaining. This could mean that Lynch’s own initial public announcement was merely some shrewd negotiation on his part, deliberately creating panic to give himself more leverage, a social media tactic that’s been used before. Or, it could simply be the truth; he wanted more money, perhaps far more than would reasonably be required for a nine episode series, and Showtime didn’t like the numbers.

Whatever the case, right now Twin Peaks is in trouble, and while it’s certainly possible to create a Twin Peaks show without Lynch, just using all the pieces he left on the board, it’s not going to be very good. Season two of the original series is a testament to that.

Here’s hoping that either Lynch or Showtime is willing to reach some kind of compromise, because this was one of the best pieces of TV news in years, and it would be a shame for it to die.


Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery Review 1

Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery Review

In hindsight, it’s nearly impossible to explain how Twin Peaks got on TV in 1990, let alone how it became a phenomenon. What network executive would ever put a TV show in the hands of someone like David Lynch whose cult films like Eraserhead and Blue Velvet might have been brilliant, but were about as far from cozy pop culture entertainment as possible. Even when Lynch partnered with TV vet Mark Frost (Hill Street Blues), it’s not like they would ever deliver something resembling cozy primetime entertainment. Yet, somehow Lynch/Frost were granted the chance to make a pilot for Twin Peaks and even less likely, it was picked up for a series. Watching Twin Peaks now, it still feels like avant garde television and oddly it’s most familiar elements were unconventional at the time, they just caught on and changed television. The Twin Peaks light may have burned out within three years, but the legacy lives on and the original series remains just as compulsively watchable, beautiful, strange, and terrifying as it did 20 years ago. After months of hype, the show has finally debuted on Blu-ray and to say the results are stunning is an understatement. This isn’t just one of the best Blu-ray box sets of the year, it’s one of the best ever made.

The key to Twin Peaks becoming a pop culture phenomenon was mystery and sequential storytelling. Mystery is of course the key element to all of David Lynch’s work, while answers tend to be absent. The goal of his series was to introduce that style to television.  The concept involved a strange small town in which the body of the prom queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) washed up on the shore one morning, murdered and wrapped in plastic. The murder prompted nutball/genius FBI Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) to come to town and attempt to solve the crime. The audience would follow Cooper as an outsider in a strange land. The mystery would spark the series, but the answer was never meant to be revealed. Instead it would give Lynch and Frost the opportunity to explore a strange town in which one mystery would open up many others. Even Cooper himself would add layers to the onion, working from intuition rather than investigation and taking cues from dreams involving a backwards talking dwarf who might signal the presence of eternal evil in the town. So, yeah, it’s weird TV.


Though it might not seem so groundbreaking today, the concept of basing a TV drama around a mystery was something that viewers had never seen before in 1990 (sure, there was The Fugitive, but it was more of a mystery wrapped around episodic storytelling rather than a single continuous narrative). America became obsessed with the mystery of Twin Peaks and even just the concept of a serial drama in which every episode had to be watched and questioned was fresh (sure soap operas existed, but come on!). It was a hit. The trouble is that audiences didn’t just expect answers to all the darkness and strangeness on display, they demanded it. By the time the second season rolled around and Lynch began expanding his questions and deepening his sense of pop surrealism, viewers grew frustrated and ratings dropped. Network executives demanded that Lynch/Frost finally the answer the question of “who killed Laura Palmer” to save the series. They did. The answer was dark and devastating. It should have ended the show. It would have been beautiful. Unfortunately, there were still 13 episodes left in the season and no one involved in the series had plans for how to fill them. The show fell apart until Lynch returned to deliver a wacko season finale, but by then the damage was done and the show was cancelled. It was a shame, yet almost appropriate. If the goal of the series was to build a web of mysteries surrounded in small town surrealism, then when the mysteries are solved it was all over. Yes, more bizarre characters and plot twists were introduced, but they felt forced. In a strange way, the abrupt cancellation of the series was almost appropriate. It allowed the show to conclude on the note of the unknown that Lynch always wanted. Of course, he wasn’t done with Twin Peaks yet. He had more story to tell, just not in a way that would come close to wrapping up the series like mainstream fans wanted.
[pullquote align=”right” class=”blue”]“Filtered through Lynch’s surrealist lens, Twin Peaks has a perverse beauty in its bleakness and is undeniably powerful.”[/pullquote]

A year after the end of the series, David Lynch made the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Rather than picking up on the cliffhanger ending of his finale, he went backwards and made a prequel. Lynch’s film depicted the case that brought Agent Cooper to Twin Peaks and the last tragic days of Laura Palmer’s life. While the series was beloved for its quirky humor and characters in addition to the all the mysterious darkness, the film was a headfirst dive into incest, drugs, murder, and the destruction of a teenage girl. Filtered through Lynch’s surrealist lens, the film has a perverse beauty in its bleakness and is undeniably powerful. It’s far too episodic and oblique to qualify as his greatest film, but it did not deserve the vicious reception it received in 1992. Critics despised the film, while the few audiences who showed up felt betrayed by Lynch who not only didn’t answer their questions, but offered a horrific and all too real nightmare in favor of the quirky/cool tone they loved. However, over the years fans have come to embrace the film and many even consider it the highlight of the whole franchise. Sure, it didn’t wrap up Twin Peaks in a tidy bow, but it did reveal the dark heart of the pop phenomenon that many viewers were too scared to confront in the series.

Since Twin Peaks has become possibly the most beloved cult series in the history of television over the last 20 years, it’s no surprise to see it come to Blu-ray. However, the fact that it debuted in HD in such a stunning package was a genuine treat. CBS/Paramount managed to clear up age-old rights disputes to combine not only the entire Twin Peaks series on Blu-ray, but also Fire Walk With Me. The technical presentation is simply astounding. The always beautiful series has been meticulously restored frame by frame by David Lynch. Details are almost painfully clear, the colors glow hypnotically, and the remixed 7.1 audio provides an enveloping atmosphere that 90s TV viewers could never dream of. Fire Walk With Me looks and sounds even better thanks to a more leisurely shooting schedule and a theatrical sound mix. Watching Twin Peaks on Blu-ray is almost like watching it for the first time again. Paramount did an astounding restoration and given that what a stylish and atmospheric franchise it is, that only makes it better.

Everything about the disc has been lovingly crafted. Even the box feels like a work of art, but I won’t say how because nothing compares to the joy of discovering it in your hands (just make sure to dig all the way to the bottom for a hidden surprise). Hours upon hours of archival footage and special features from previous DVD releases all appear, while new features include a deeply strange interview between Lynch and a few collaborators in which they appear to Lynch in a coffee fueled vision and another interview between Lynch and the actors who played the Palmer family (both in and out of character and that first bit needs to be seen to be believed). However, for Twin Peaks obsessives the gold in the box set are the 90 minutes of deleted scenes from Fire Walk With Me that have been cleaned up and freshly scored by Lynch. These scenes have been rumored for decades and taken on legendary status. Though they are ultimately little more than odds and ends, as a fan they are almost magical to watch. You’ll see David Bowie’s expanded role, terrifying moments of atmosphere, goofy comedy from all of the characters missing in the theatrical cut, and even a few minutes of scenes that take place after the series finale. It’s incredible to see all the footage and watch the long lost Twin Peaks world live again. However, anyone expecting the series to finally be explained through the missing footage just doesn’t understand Twin Peaks. If anything the new footages only deepens the mystery of Twin Peaks, offering further exploration of an eccentric and enigmatic world. It’s a great place to visit and this Blu-ray is the perfect way to wander back into the town of damn fine coffee and even better pie. Just don’t expect any answers. Twin Peaks is one of pop culture’s greatest mysteries because it will always remain one.