The Mysteries of Love: The Transformative Nature of Sex in Lynchian Cinema

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. Also, while not graphic, this article does deal with mature themes revolving around sex, so read at your own discretion.

Anyone who has seen David Lynch’s movies knows that sex has a potent presence in each one. Sometimes, it takes the form of beautiful love scenes; other times they are grotesque and debased, but they always have a purpose. Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, and Eraserhead all use sex during vital transformative scenes, and The Diary of Laura Palmer draws a distinct line between Laura’s sexuality and BOB’s arrival. In this article, I will analyze the use of sex and sexual imagery in each of Lynch’s films, and uncover some of the secrets behind the Mysteries of Love.

Note: I will be excluding Lost Highway and Wild At Heart from this article, as those films, I feel, require very specific and individual analysis.

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One of the oldest forms of ritual is sex: In ancient Babylon, temples dedicated to the Goddess Ishtar employed “sacred prostitutes,” who were priestesses who doubled as sex workers, and often used sex as part of their religious rituals. These women would serve as representations of the Goddess when a new King was crowned, so that he might be wed to her and receive her divine blessing. Mother Goddesses, such as Ishtar/Inanna, were usually fertility Goddesses, presiding over sex and reproduction, so it only makes sense for the worship of such deities to be sexual in nature.

Aleister Crowley, who was recently mentioned in Mark Frost’s tie-in novel The Secret History of Twin Peaks, made sexuality a large part of his doctrines and rituals, in which the energy released during copulation is used to give power to whatever spell is being cast. Nontheistic Satanist Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, placed sex in high importance in his ideology. LaVey believed that discovery of one’s sexuality, and having full control over one’s sexual power and identity (whatever it may be) was the key to having agency over one’s life, and, ultimately, finding fulfillment and success. He believed that sex and ritual was one of the most powerful ways to affect an individual’s psychology and direct energy. Sex is a powerful force, easily able to raise emotional energy, which can then be utilized through ritual.

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Sex in the Lynchian Universe is used in a similar way: It commonly heralds a moment of profound transformation, where either two characters become merged, or a character moves into a strange, alternate dimension.

Throughout the first half of Mulholland Drive, it is clear that Betty and Rita are slowly merging into one being, but it is only after they make love that they become virtually indistinguishable. After they merge, Betty and Rita are able to enter the otherworldly Club Silencio and receive the answers to the mystery. In Eraserhead, a sex scene between Henry and the neighbor immediately precedes a disjointed dream sequence; a so-called “down the rabbit hole” moment. We see the couple sinking into a smoking pit of milk, and disappearing into another world. This relates to Henry’s desire for escape from the nightmare of his life.

In Inland Empire, a particularly interesting scene is the love scene between Devon Burke and Nikki Grace, wherein they begin to slip into their alternate personae, Billy and Sue. Immediately afterwards, Nikki/Sue discovers the portal into the alternate dimension. She has undergone a ritual in which she allowed her Nikki persona to be consumed by the film persona. She was transformed into Sue, through a Sex Magick with Billy (or Devon, who thought he was Billy). A recurring motif of the film is prostitution. For the most part, in Inland Empire, this motif seems to represent sexual oppression and enslavement, as there are recurring references to rape through mind control. The prostitutes appear to be under the Phantom’s control. However, I believe they also represent various parts of Nikki/Sue’s psyche, voicing her internal dialogues and performing rituals with her, as she slowly builds up the power she needs to face the Phantom. They are the oppressed parts of Nikki’s personality, which are brought together to become stronger and eventually break the bonds placed on them by the Phantom. The dancing sequences in the film conjure up images of Pagan rituals and Faerie circles. In short, they tell us that Magick is being performed.

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Sex is a centrifugal element of the film Blue Velvet, and is the catalyst for Jeffrey Beaumont’s trip down the rabbit hole. Dorothy Valens has been transformed through the sexual abuse Frank Booth has subjected her to; he “put his disease” in her, infecting her with his violent sexual obsessions. When she and Jeffrey begin a sexual relationship, she asks Jeffrey to hit her, like Frank does. She has become so used to the abuse, that she cannot enjoy sex without it. Eventually, Jeffrey breaks down, and hits her. Later, he regrets his actions, and begins to cry in guilt. He is afraid of being turned into Frank Booth, being sucked into his darkness, ending up spiritually mutated and morally weakened. He does not want to wind up using Dorothy the way that Frank does. His salvation is the love he finds with Sandy, which goes beyond the basic lust he felt for Dorothy. And in the end, it is not through Jeffrey, or her husband, that Dorothy finds healing, but through her pure love for her son.

Blue Velvet serves, perhaps, as Lynch’s ultimate parable regarding the dichotomy between sex and love, and where the two meet. There is depraved sex, and there is sacred sex. There is selfish love, and there is pure love. Lynch has said in interviews that Frank Booth is a man in love, suggesting that his desire for Dorothy is not as black-and-white as it at first seems. It isn’t just lust that compels him, but a sick kind of love – the only way Frank can perceive it.

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“Do me a favor: Stay away from Dorothy. Don’t be a good neighbor to her anymore. Or I’ll send you a love letter, straight from my heart, fucker! Do you know what a love letter is? It’s a bullet from a fucking gun, fucker! You receive a love letter from me, and you’re fucked forever! Do you understand, fuck? I’ll send you straight to hell, fucker!”

-Frank Booth, Blue Velvet

In Lynch’s other works, sex has many different meanings, sometimes within a single film. In Twin Peaks, sex is not portrayed as bad nor good, but a facet of natural human life, though the circumstances surrounding it can be beautiful, or dire. However, a darker layer of this sexuality was hinted at even from the pilot, and as the mystery was slowly unveiled in Season 2 and Fire Walk with Me, the shadow of sexuality which loomed in the background was brought forward: A sexuality that, like Frank Booth, was all about possession, violence, and power.

The two sides of Laura’s identity are, in one way, portrayed by her dualistic relationships with James and Bobby. Her love for James is more of an idealistic, innocent love, whereas her relationship with Bobby is one of manipulation. On the same side of the coin as Bobby, though much deeper and darker, is her “relationship” with BOB; a shadowy, violent figure who Laura remains sexually attracted to in spite of the risk to her sanity and life. This lust is portrayed as a base desire, animalistic, like hunger, which drives its victims to endlessly consume, or die.

A Buddhist belief says that all acts are acts of either love or fear, and all other emotions spring from one of these two. In Twin Peaks, it is again told to use that love is the ultimate salvation, as Laura’s spirit forgives Leland, her abuser and murderer, upon his death — forgiveness, being an act of love. This is in keeping with the theme set by Blue Velvet. However, things are a little shakier in Mulholland Drive, wherein love can do nothing to save our heroines, and, in fact, pushes them closer and closer to the edge. Without going too far down the rabbit hole that is Mulholland Drive, notice the extreme differences between the two sex scenes: The first, between Betty and Rita, is tender, and very loving. The second, between Diane and Camilla, which is arguably the reality of the matter, is sleazy, with a definite tension between the two women. Diane is stricken with fear of losing Camilla, and this is what ultimately orchestrates their downfall. In a way, Diane is becoming like Frank Booth, Lynch’s prime representation of the evil that can seep into a sexual relationship — the need for dominance and power, above anything else.

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Well, that was some heavy content. If you need to lighten up, here‘s a link where you can watch Kyle MacLachlan’s Saturday Night Live monologue back in 1990. Until next time, make sure those grapefruits are freshly squeezed.

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HEADLINE: Twin Peaks Season 3 Cast Revealed

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Yesterday morning (April 25th, 2016), the official Facebook page for Twin Peaks released the final line-up for the cast of the long-awaited Season 3. There are many familiar faces, and many new faces to be excited about, as well as some names that are painfully absent. Below is an exact quote from Twin Peaks‘s official page, followed by a quick Who’s Who of some of the cast members.

DO NOT read below if you don’t want to know! This is your last warning to turn back. For everyone else, it is my pleasure to pass the happy news on to you:

The cameras have stopped rolling.
A key piece of the mystery is revealed.
Welcome back* to Twin Peaks.

Jay Aaseng
Alon Aboutboul
Jane Adams
Joe Adler
Kate Alden
Stephanie Allynne
Mädchen Amick*
Eric Ray Anderson
Finn Andrews
Elizabeth Anwies
Dana Ashbrook*
Joe Auger
Phoebe Augustine*
Melissa Bailey
Tammie Baird
Matt Battaglia
Chrysta Bell
Monica Bellucci
Jim Belushi
Leslie Berger
Richard Beymer*
John Billingsley
Michael Bisping
Ronnie Gene Blevins
Kelsey Bohlen
Sean Bolger
Rachael Bower
Brent Briscoe
Robert Broski
Wes Brown
Richard Bucher
Page Burkum
Scott Cameron
Juan Carlos Cantu
Gia Carides
Vincent Castellanos
Michael Cera
Richard Chamberlain
Bailey Chase
Johnny Chavez
Candy Clark
Larry Clarke
Scott Coffey*
Frank Collison
Lisa Coronado
Catherine E. Coulson*
Grace Victoria Cox
Jonny Coyne
James Croak
Julee Cruise*
Heather D’Angelo
Jan D’Arcy*
David Dastmalchian
Jeremy Davies
Owain Rhys Davies
Ana de la Reguera
Rebekah Del Rio
Laura Dern
Neil Dickson
Hugh Dillon
Cullen Douglas
Edward “Ted” Dowlin
Judith Drake
David Duchovny*
Christopher Durbin
Francesca Eastwood
Eric Edelstein
John Ennis
Josh Fadem
Tikaeni Faircrest
Eamon Farren
Sherilyn Fenn*
Jay R. Ferguson
Sky Ferreira
Miguel Ferrer*
Rebecca Field
Robin Finck
Brian Finney
Patrick Fischler
Erika Forster
Robert Forster
Meg Foster
Travis Frost
Warren Frost*
Pierce Gagnon
Allen Galli
Hailey Gates
Brett Gelman
Ivy George
Balthazar Getty
James Giordano
Harry Goaz*
Grant Goodeve
George Griffith
Tad Griffith
James Grixoni
Cornelia Guest
Travis Hammer
Hank Harris
Annie Hart
Andrea Hays*
Stephen Heath
Heath Hensley
Gary Hershberger*
Michael Horse*
Ernie Hudson
Jay Jee
Jesse Johnson
Caleb Landry Jones
Ashley Judd
Luke Judy
Stephen Kearin
David Patrick Kelly*
Laura Kenny
Dep Kirkland
Robert Knepper
David Koechner
Virginia Kull
Nicole LaLiberte
Jay Larson
Sheryl Lee*
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jane Levy
Matthew Lillard
Jeremy Lindholm
Peggy Lipton*
Bellina Martin Logan*
Sarah Jean Long
David Lynch*
Riley Lynch
Shane Lynch
Kyle MacLachlan*
Mark Mahoney
Karl Makinen
Malone
Xolo Maridueña
Berenice Marlohe
Rob Mars
James Marshall*
Elisabeth Maurus
Josh McDermitt
Everett McGill*
Zoe McLane
Derek Mears
Clark Middleton
Greg Mills
James Morrison
Christopher Murray
Don Murray
Joy Nash
Priya Diane Niehaus
Bill O’Dell
Casey O’Neill
Johnny Ochsner
Walter Olkewicz*
Charity Parenzini
Elias Nelson Parenzini
John Paulsen
Sara Paxton
Max Perlich
Linas Phillips
Tracy Phillips
John Pirruccello
Linda Porter
Jelani Quinn
Ruth Radelet
Mary Reber
Adele René
Mariqueen Reznor
Trent Reznor
Carolyn P. Riggs
Kimmy Robertson*
Wendy Robie*
Erik L. Rondell
Marv Rosand*
Ben Rosenfield
Tim Roth
Rod Rowland
Carlton Lee Russell*
Elena Satine
John Savage
Amanda Seyfried
Amy Shiels
Sawyer Shipman
Tom Sizemore
Sara Sohn
Malachy Sreenan
Harry Dean Stanton*
J.R. Starr
Bob Stephenson
Charlotte Stewart*
Emily Stofle
Al Strobel*
Carel Struycken*
Ethan Suplee
Sabrina S. Sutherland
Jessica Szohr
Russ Tamblyn*
Bill Tangradi
Cynthia Lauren Tewes
Jodee Thelen
Jack Torrey
Sharon Van Etten
Eddie Vedder
Greg Vrotsos
Jake Wardle
Naomi Watts
Nafessa Williams
Ray Wise*
Alicia Witt*
Karolina Wydra
Charlyne Yi
Nae Yuuki
Grace Zabriskie*
Christophe Zajac-Denek
Madeline Zima
Blake Zingale

You’ll notice many returning cast members (as indicated by an asterisk*), which means we can (most likely) expect these characters in Season 3: Shelly Briggs (formerly Johnson), Bobby Briggs, Ronette Pulaski, a cop played by Matt Battaglia, Benjamin Horne, Margaret Lanterman a.k.a. the Log Lady, Sylvia Horne, Julee Cruise, Dennis/Denise Bryson, Albert Rosenfield, Doc Hayward, Audrey Horne, a trucker played by Brian T. Finney, Andy Brennan, Heidi the German Waitress, Mike Nelson, Jerry Horne, Laura Palmer/Maddy Ferguson, Norma Jennings, the Great Northern Desk Clerk (played by Bellina Martin Logan), Gordon Cole, Dale Cooper, James Hurley, “Big” Ed Hurley, Jacques Renault, Lucy Moran, Nadine Hurley, Cook (at the Double R Diner), the Jumping Man, Carl Rodd, Betty Briggs, Philip Gerard/MIKE, the Giant, Dr Jacoby, Leland Palmer, Gersten Hayward, and Sarah Palmer.

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Notably absent are either Lara Flynn Boyle are Moira Kelly, which would imply that Donna is not going to appear in the season, unless, as speculated by some fans, the character is recast once again. Her sister, the pianist Gersten, is going to be present. This should be quite a treat, as actress Alicia Witt has been honing her acting skills, giving amazing performances on television series, most recently as a guest star on The Walking Dead.

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Heather Graham, who played Annie, is also absent, leaving questions as to how Lynch and Frost plan on wrapping up her story. Last we saw Annie, she was comatose in a hospital, wearing the Owl Ring (until it was taken by the nurse). Her fate is one of many that has been left up in the air for the last 26 years, along with Leo Johnson, and, with Eric Da Re’s name missing from the list, it looks like we’re not going to get to see what happened with him either. It also looks as though Billy Zane’s character, Jack, isn’t coming back from South America.

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Despite the grim prospects of his character’s survival in the final episode of season 2, many fans hoped to see Kenneth Walsh reprise his role as Windom Earle, and find out what happened after BOB stole his soul.

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One of my personal disappointments was the lack of Joan Chen, who portrayed Josie Packard, and recently has done amazing work on the series Marco Polo as Chabi. Her rival Catherine Martell doesn’t look to be around either, with actress Piper Laurie sadly missing from the list. Neither Chris Isaak or Kiefer Sutherland are set to reprise their roles as the ill-fated detectives from Fire Walk with Me, leaving their fates in question. It also seems that Norma finally settled her issues with Hank, as actor Chris Mulkey is not included on the list.

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Perhaps the most disappointing of all, however, is the apparent confirmation that Michael Ontkean, who played Sheriff Harry S. Truman, will not be reprising his role, which is rumored to have been recast with Robert Forster. This has gained mixed reactions from fans, but overall, his presence in Twin Peaks and unique back-and-forth with Kyle MacLachlan will be sorely missed.

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Another blow for fans is the lack of an appearance by Michael Anderson, who played the Man from Another Place; easily one of the most iconic characters from the original series. It is possible that his role will be replaced by the Jumping Man, who appeared in Fire Walk With Me, wearing an identical red suit, and proving to be just as mysterious.

There are quite a few newcomers of note, as well, many of whom have collaborated with David Lynch in the past:

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Laura Dern is set to appear, generating much speculation by fans as to who she will be playing, the most popular theory being that she will play the infamous Diane. Dern began her career with Lynch at age 19, playing Sandy Williams alongside Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet. She then reappeared in Lynch’s works Industrial Symphony, Wild At Heart, and Inland Empire, for which Lynch campaigned to win her an Oscar.

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Naomi Watts is another exciting addition to the cast. She, of course, starred in Mulholland Drive, playing the dual roles of Betty Elms and Diane Selwyn. Her amazing performance catapulted her career, earning her roles in well-known films such as King Kong (2005) and the Ring. Her most recent work with David Lynch was providing the voice of Suzie Rabbit for the Rabbits series and Inland Empire.

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Balthazar Getty is another previous Lynch collaborator to appear on the list. He played Pete Dayton in Lost Highway, which makes his inclusion all the more intriguing, as Lynch has said that the film takes place in the same universe as Twin Peaks. Is it possible that Getty will be reprising his role?

Other Mulholland Drive cast members are set to appear. Brent Briscoe, who played on of the detectives seen at the beginning of the film, Scott Coffey, who played Wilkins, a character whose role was greatly cut back when Mulholland Drive became a film, Vincent Castellanos, whose character Ed stole the notorious “Black Book” before being taken out by a hit man, and Patrick Fischler, who played the dreamer Dan from the infamous diner scene, are all confirmed as cast members in Twin Peaks Season 3. Frank Collison (Wild At Heart), Neil Dickson, Emily Stofle and Nae Yuuki (Inland Empire) are other previous Lynch collaborators to appear this season.

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Several musicians are slated to appear, some of whom have worked with Lynch previously: Chrysta Bell sang on the Inland Empire soundtrack, and collaborated with Lynch on her album This Train. Rebekah Del Rio made an infamous appearance singing “Llorando,” a Spanish version of Roy Orbison’s song “Crying,” in Club Silencio for Mulholland Drive. Trent Reznor, who collaborated with Lynch on the Lost Highway soundtrack, and a video for his song “Came Back Haunted,” will be lending his talents in some way, along with his wife, singer Mariqueen. Robin Finck, a guitarist who has worked with Reznor’s band Nine Inch Nails since the early 1990s, is also on the list, as is Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. Page Burkum, Finn Andrews, Heather D’Angelo, Sky Ferreira, Erika Forster, Shane Lynch (no relation to David), Elisabeth Maurus, Ruth Radelet, Jack Torrey, and Sharon Van Etten are other musicians attached to the project.

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However, not all of the actors listed are Twin Peaks vets, and actually several are pretty big name actors. Some of the more famous names included on the list:

  • Monica Bellucci, the famous Italian actress and model.
  • Comedic actor Jim Belushi, brother of infamous Saturday Night Live star John Belushi.
  • John Billingsley, best known perhaps for his roles in sci-fi such as Star Trek: Enterprise and The Man From Earth.
  • Michael Cera is an interesting inclusion on the list. He is mostly known for him comedic roles in television and film such as Arrested Development, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Superbad.
  • Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters, is also slated to appear. Perhaps he can use his Proton Pack to get BOB out of Agent Cooper?
  • Actress and activist Ashley Judd.
  • Jennifer Jason Lee, who recently garnered mass critical acclaim with her performance in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, is rumored to be playing an FBI Agent, and was reported by Kyle MacLachlan to be filming scenes with him in Death Valley.
  • Josh McDermitt, who played Eugene in 37 episodes of The Walking Dead, is a fitting choice, considering his previous experience with the horror/drama television genre, and worked with Jennifer Chambers Lynch on the show.
  • Tim Roth, who has appeared in multiple works by Quentin Tarantino.
  • Award winning-actress Amanda Seyfried is rumored to be playing the daughter of Shelly and Bobby Briggs, and reportedly filmed scenes with Madchen Amick and Harry Dean Stanton at the Fat Trout Trailer Park.

MMA fighter Michael Bisping, stuntmen Richard Bucher and Tad Griffith, Abraham Lincoln impersonator Robert Broski, visual artist James Croak, voice actor Oawin Rhys Davies, Francesca Eastwood (daughter of Clint), child actors Pierce Gagnon and Ivy George, voice actor Stephen Kearin, David Lynch’s son Riley Lynch, Christopher Murray (son of Peyton Place and Blue Velvet actress Hope Lange) and his dad Don Murray, and prolific television character actress Linda Porter, are all interesting additions to the cast, whose roles we can thus far only guess at.

This list would also seem to include crew members behind the camera (Jay Aaseng, Joe Auger, and Sabrina S. Sutherland). The rest of the cast is made up of a great variety of talent. Some are veterans like Meg Foster and Grant Goodeve, some are new to acting, like James David Grixoni and Travis Hammer. There are several comedic actors (Heath Hensley, David Koechner, lending their talents as well, presumably helping to lift the heavy mood. Quite a few stuntmen have been cast for the new season. What kind of wild action could we be in store for? Another interesting thing to note is a proliferation of child actors. Is it possible we will be seeing some flashbacks? Cooper as a child? When Leland met BOB at the Summer house on Pearl Lakes? Maybe some scenes from Laura’s Secret Diary?

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Many fans wonder if Sheryl Lee will be playing neither Laura nor Maddy, but a third character, a redhead, as was allegedly planned for the potential season 3 back in 1991. It’s also up in the air as to how returning cast members with deceased characters such as Ray Wise (Leland Palmer) and Walter Olkewicz (Jacques Renault) will be written in. Will they be playing inexplicably aged ghosts? Doppelgangers? Lookalikes?

While on the subjects of deaths, there are several characters whose actors have died, forcing their exclusion in the new season, despite the importance of their characters. The Log Lady’s actress, Catherine Coulson, is known to have shot some footage before passing away in 2015, but it is unknown how much footage she was able to film, and if she was able to complete the role written for her. Jack Nance, who played Pete Martell and was a long-time collaborator with David Lynch, died in 1996 after filming Lost Highway. While Pete most likely would have been slated to survive the fateful bank explosion had the series continued in 1992, his character will most likely be written off as having died as a result of the blast. Don Davis’s character Major Garland Briggs was originally planned to play a large role in season 3, going with Sheriff Truman and the One-Armed Man to rescue Cooper from the Black Lodge. However, Davis sadly passed away in 2008 of a heart-attack. His character’s role will most likely be re-written for Bobby Briggs, who is rumored to be part of the Twin Peaks law enforcement.

One of the most hotly debated points is who will play BOB, after the death of actor Frank Silva in 1995. Some fans have speculated that BOB could be recreated using CGI, or simply recast (musician Andrew WK kindly volunteered for the role). My personal opinion has always been that BOB will be portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan, playing a fusion of Evil Dale/Killer BOB.

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The new lineup contains an array of talent, and many possibilities we can only speculate upon. One point that particularly fascinates me is the fact that the new season contains at least one actor from every David Lynch movie to date, opening the possibility of some kind of Lynchverse crossover. I have long suspected that all of Lynch’s movies are linked through the Black Lodge, and now may be the perfect time for that to come to light.

What do you think? Are you happy with the lineup? Who do you think the newcomers will play? Do you have any other speculations about the new season? Let me know in the comments below!

Lodges, Empires and Lost Highways: The Grand Unification Theory of the Lynchian Universe (Part 1)

Written by Eden H Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Warning!: Contains spoilers for all of Lynch’s movies and the TV series Twin Peaks. Don’t read if you don’t want to know!

Now entering the Lodge.

Now entering the Lodge.

We all know that David Lynch’s films share many motifs, such as red curtains, telephones, black and white/good vs. evil, singers in night clubs granting obscure epiphanies, flashing lights, non-linear time, prostitutes, and other dimensions. But could there be a deeper connection? Let me blow your mind with a fun fact, if you didn’t know already: David Lynch has told us that his movie Lost Highway takes place in “the same universe” as Twin Peaks.

[A brief explanation for any who don’t understand that statement, think of it this way: Superman has never met Mickey Mouse, because they don’t occupy the same “universe.” HOWEVER, Superman can team up with Batman, because they both occupy the same universe (The DC Comics Universe). Just like you can’t meet Dorothy Gale because she’s from a different, fictional universe, but you can go visit your aunt in the next town over, because you both live in this universe.]

So this means, the characters of Twin Peaks could interact with the characters from Lost Highway. Theoretically, if Fred Mason traveled up to Washington State, he could get cherry pie at the Double R, served to him by Norma, who might have heard about a woman who was mutilated down in LA, killer at large. And if Bobby pulled any delinquency in Los Angeles, Henry Rollins might be his prison guard. (OK, maybe not REALLY Henry Rollins…)

With today’s reports of Balthazar Getty (Lost Highway‘s Pete Dayton) being cast for Twin Peaks Season 3, the possibilities are… intriguing, to say the least.

“Balthazar? It’s David. We might finally be able to get you out of that weird dimension I trapped you in back in ’97…”

How else are these two works connected? Let’s look at Lost Highway: What does it have in common with Twin Peaks? Some see the Mystery Man as a sort of BOB figure; a manifestation of the evil inside of Fred Madison (Bill Pullman), just as BOB was, on one level, a representation of “the evil that men do.” Both movies have to do with the darker side of humanity (prostitution, drugs, murder, etc…), and the mask of “normalcy” that people wear to disguise it.

Let’s look at one scene in particular: Fred goes in to check the house after seeing a bright light flashing upstairs. He goes down the hallway, past some red curtains, and the phone rings. It is most likely the Mystery Man calling him. He doesn’t see anything, so he goes back outside, gets Renee, and they re-enter the house. While Renee is in the bathroom, Fred is staring into the hallway he went down earlier. It looks like a black void. He walks back down the hall (presumably passing the red curtains on the way). He comes to a mirror, and looks at his reflection in the darkness.

Fred disappears towards some red curtains.

Fred disappears towards some red curtains.

Just in this scene, we can find some strong ties to Twin Peaks: The red curtains in the Black Lodge, and the mirror that Cooper looks into in the final episode of Season 2, when he sees himself possessed by BOB (Who, of course, parallels the Mystery Man). I feel that this is an indication that Fred is symbolically entering the Black Lodge, while “The Mystery Man” (the evil inside of him) controls his body and kills Renee.

Now, how about this scene: Where Pete goes to a cabin (lodge) in the middle of the desert. The flame effect used on the cabin is the exact same that is used in Twin Peaks, when BOB captures Windom Earle. Inside this lodge is the Mystery Man, who is waiting for Pete, just as BOB is in the Lodge, waiting for Cooper. Fire is, of course, an all-important symbol in Twin Peaks: It represents the spirit of destruction, and symbolizes BOB himself. So the Mystery Man being so closely associated with fire here lends credence to the idea that he is either a being like BOB, or he is BOB himself in another form. Fire is also focused on earlier in the movie, when Fred is, quite probably “possessed” by the Mystery Man.

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There are many other parallels littered throughout the film: The Mystery Man shouting at Fred, “And your name — What the fuck is your name?” is similar to Philip Jeffries’ question “Who do you think that is there?” (Speaking to Gordon Cole, referring to Agent Cooper). The blond femme fatale (Alice/Laura) involved with the criminal business man (Mr Eddy/Ben Horne). Bright, flashing lights during essential scenes (Cooper in the Black Lodge, Pete venturing down the long hallway to find Alice). Video tapes play important roles in both (the video tapes received by Fred and Renee, and the video of Laura and Donna at the picnic). And of course, doppelgangers aplenty (Renee/Alice, Mr Eddy/Dick Laurent, Fred Madison/Pete Dayton…).

Fred looking up into a bright light, not unlike the kind that appears in Twin Peaks, and later Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire.

Fred looking up into a bright light, not unlike the kind that appears in Twin Peaks, and later, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire.

Everyone knows that each David Lynch film exists within a strange world so similar yet so different from our own world, that is ruled by broken laws of physics, and that is as likely to send you to Hell as to take you to Heaven. There are strange creatures that dwell here, and they may help or harm us; they speak in riddles that will reveal the secrets of the universe if only we are astute enough to fathom them. Each film has its own “rabbit hole” where the hero moves from the normal world into this other place. Agent Cooper and Laura enter the Black Lodge, Nikki Grace gets trapped within the film set and become Susan Blue, Fred Madison turns into Pete Dayton and enters a sort of parallel world, Betty and Rita open the Blue Box and are sucked in…

Here’s the bombshell: What if I told you that the Black Lodge, the Lost Highway, inside the Radiator, the Inland Empire, and Club Silencio were all the same place?

If you’re familiar with the Lynchian Universe at all, you are most likely also familiar with this recurring motif: The Red Curtains. They appear in virtually every Lynch work, most famously Twin Peaks where their familiar presence has led to the coining of the name “The Red Room.” But these curtains aren’t limited to the Black Lodge:1430778-red_room

– In Eraserhead, there are curtains on the stage, behind the Lady in the Radiator. The film is black and white, but I think it is a safe assumption to say they are red.

– In Blue Velvet, Dorothy Valens performs onstage in front of red curtains.

– In Lost Highway, there are red curtains in Fred and Renee’s house.

– In Mulholland Drive, there are red curtains in Club Silencio and Mr. Roque’s office.

– In Inland Empire, Sue enters a mysterious hallway that is decked in red curtains.

So what does this mean? It is my belief that the red curtains are a sign post to let viewers know You’re entering another dimension. And this dimension is the same one in every film: However, it changes based on its visitor’s psyche (but I’ll get back to that at a later date).

Slow_Club

Let’s take a look at more of the shared traits of these places: They are dreamlike places, which use heavy symbolism. Everything is shrouded and disorienting. Often they are occupied by magical and strange beings, such as The Man from Another Place, or the Rabbits. There is almost always music in the air; singers such as Little Jimmy Scott and Rebekah Del Rio appear. Revelatory messages are imparted in code.

I believe that these worlds aren’t just similar; they are THE SAME. The Lady in the Radiator could be an agent of the White Lodge, the Rabbits may have been watching Cooper from a distance all the time, and Nikki Grace may have entered Club Silencio to watch that footage of herself at the end of the film.

But how can we be sure of this? How can we be sure of anything, in a world that is so symbolic and convoluted?

I believe the movie Inland Empire is the key.

axxon-n

A doorway to the Inland Empire.

Inland Empire seems to be a film completely dedicated to the exploration of this other dimension, its power, the beings that live there, the people who fight to control it, and its possibilities. In fact, I think that this other dimension IS the “Inland Empire” referred to in the title: A dimension within dimensions (“inland”), a veritable empire of other worlds, all connected. The film shows us many motifs from earlier films, and contextualizes them. Using the symbols, events, and images from Inland Empire, one can crack the code of the entire Lynchian Universe.

In the next part, we will examine the symbols of Inland Empire, and use them as a Rosetta Stone to deciphering the rest of Lynch’s Universe, and produce evidence that all of Lynch’s films are connected.

Did You Know? Twin Peaks Edition

David Lynch and Michael Anderson, a.k.a. the Man From Another Place. Photo by Richard Beymer.

David Lynch and Michael Anderson, a.k.a. the Man From Another Place. Photo by Richard Beymer.

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Warning: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks (and also The Simpsons Season 7. Don’t ask why, these things just happen.)

So, it looks like Lynch and Frost have hit another snag in their most anticipated project, and the new season of Twin Peaks has been postponed until 2017. We Peakers have to put up with a lot sometimes, don’t we? But we’re patient people when it comes to our favorite series, and we’ve already waited 25 years, so what’s the harm in one more? To help you kill time and make it to 2017, I’ve compiled some fun facts that even you may not know about our beloved Twin Peaks.

Laura and her Doppelganger, Marilyn Monroe.

Laura and her Doppelganger, Marilyn Monroe.

Did you know? Before they began developing Twin Peaks, David Lynch and Mark Frost were attempting to do an adaptation of the Marilyn Monroe biography, which would have been titled Goddess. However, they could not acquire the rights, so some of the elements of their screenplay found their way into Twin Peaks, helping to form Laura’s character especially: She’s a blonde beauty queen, idolized by everyone but with many dark secrets including drug addiction and sexual abuse, who had an affair with a rich and powerful man, and it is suspected that she was killed because she possessed some sensitive information regarding him.

Did you know? Mark Frost comes from a talented family: The role of Doc Hayward is played by Warren Frost, his father, who also worked in theater as an actor and stage director. Mark’s sister Lindsay is an actress, and his brother Scott is a writer.

 

Did you know? Twin Peaks was partly inspired by the 1944 film noir Laura. Elements lifted from the film are, of course, the name Laura, the use of a murdered woman’s diary to solve a crime, the names Waldo and Lydecker, and a detective seeing a murdered woman in person after her death.

 

Did you know? David Lynch’s daughter, Jennifer Lynch, is a director in her own right. Her filmography includes Boxing Helena (1993), Surveillance (2008), and even an episode of The Walking Dead! Jennifer Lynch was also the one given the task of writing The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, and as such, she was one of three people who were told the identity of the killer.

 

Did you know? Three Twin Peaks actors appeared in the 1987 movie RoboCop: Ray Wise (Leland Palmer) played Leon Nash, Miguel Ferrer (Albert Rosenfield) played Bob Morton, and Dan O’Herlihy (Andrew Packard) played the unforgettable character known as “the Old Man.”

Ray Wise with his buddies in RoboCop.

Ray Wise with his buddies in RoboCop.

Did you know? Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer and Maddy Ferguson, makes a cameo appearance in the 2007 film Winter’s Bone. When she is first shown, a song is playing in the background, with lyrics that say, “I wonder if you still remember me, or has time erased your memory? As I listen to the breeze whisper gently through the threes, I wonder if you still remember me.” These lyrics are greatly reminiscent of the song Lynch and Badalamenti wrote for the final episode of Twin Peaks, “Sycamore Trees,” which features the lyrics, “and I’ll see you and you’ll see me, and I’ll see you in the branches that blow, in the trees.” Perhaps the director of Winter’s Bone is a Twin Peaks fan?

 

Did you know? The actress who plays Sandy’s mother in Blue Velvet is Hope Lange, who starred in the movie Peyton Place, which is credited as a source of inspiration for Twin Peaks: It’s about a small town that looks on the surface to be the American Dream, but in truth, it harbors many dark secrets.

Hope Lange in Peyton Place (1957)

Hope Lange in Peyton Place (1957)

Did you know? Pretty much every David Lynch film has featured a night club, usually with its own unique singer. Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me have the Roadhouse, where Julee Cruise’s band performs, and the Bang Bang Bar. Blue Velvet has the Slow Club where Dororthy Valens sings. Wild At Heart shows Sailor at a club singing Elvis Presley’s “Love Me.” In Lost Highway, Fred plays saxophone with a band at an unnamed club. Mulholland Drive features the infamous Club Silencio, where Rebekah Del Rio sings a Spanish version of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.” And in Inland Empire, Nikki/Sue runs into a night club where a burlesque dancer is performing.

 

Did you know? Clarence Williams III, who, in the second season of Twin Peaks, played Roger Hardy from Internal Affairs, appeared in the Mod Squad with Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings).

Did you know? Alicia Witt, who played Donna’s little sister Gerstin (the pianist) is still acting. She has appeared in recent series such as Justified and House of Lies.

Alicia Witt, a.k.a. Gerstin Hayward, in 2015

Alicia Witt, a.k.a. Gerstin Hayward, in 2015

Did you know? Sheriff Truman has a mounted deer head in his office, beneath which is a plaque declaring “The Buck Stopped Here.” This is a reference to President Harry Truman’s motto, “The Buck Stops Here.”

 

Did you know? Frank Silva (who played Killer BOB) was originally just a set dresser for Twin Peaks. However, his reflection was accidentally filmed in a scene in the pilot, which led to Lynch, who often utilizes accidents creatively, conceiving of the character BOB, and cast Silva in the role.

 

Did you know? Nearly all of Lynch’s films have had at least one actor from Twin Peaks:

  • Eraserhead has Jack Nance (Pete Martell) and Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs), and Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady) was behind the scenes. (She was originally going to be in the movie, but her scenes were cut.)
  • Blue Velvet has Kyle MacLachlan (Agent Cooper) and Jack Nance. Lynch also planned to have Isabella Rossellini appear in Twin Peaks, but she turned down the role which afterward went to Joan Chen.
  • Dune has Jack Nance and Kyle MacLachlan.
  • Wild at Heart has cameos from Jack Nance, Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer and Maddy Fergusson) and Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne)
  • Lost Highway has Jack Nance in a brief cameo, which also happens to be his last appearance.
  • The Straight Story features Everett McGill (Ed Hurley).
  • Mulholland Drive briefly features Michael Anderson (The Man from Another Place) as the mysterious Mr Roq.
  • Inland Empire has a cameo from Grace Zabriskie.

The only feature film to not contain an actor from the Twin Peaks series is The Elephant Man, which also happens to be the only Lynch film not to feature Jack Nance prior to his death in 1997.

 

Did you know? Jack Nance and Michael Horse (Deputy Hawk) also appear in David Lynch’s short, The Cowboy and the Frenchman (1987). Nance’s character is also called Pete.

 

Did you know? Jack Nance and Catherine Coulson were married from 1968-1976. Coulson jokingly accredited their divorce to the fact that she was Nance’s hairdresser for Eraserhead.

How many happy relationships must this monstrous coif destroy before it is satisfied?!

How many happy relationships must this monstrous coif destroy before it is satisfied?!

Did you know? Jennifer Lynch was largely given creative control over The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, aside from a few notes given by David Lynch and Mark Frost. Writing on a computer, she completed the first draft of the book in nine days, but, after flying to New York, found that the information was completely missing. This forced her to rewrite the entire thing, this time using a typewriter, to avoid any technical mishaps.

Did you know? Sherilyn Fenn insisted to the writers that it isn’t really possible to tie a cherry stem with with your tongue.

 

Did you know? Angelo Badalamenti has provided music for all of Lynch’s works from Blue Velvet (1986) to Mulholland Drive (2001). Inland Empire was the first film since Blue Velvet not to contain any work by the composer. Instead, Lynch drew mostly from pre-recorded materials by artists such as Nina Simone, Beck, and Ella Fitzgerald. Incidentally, Chrysta Bell, who co-wrote and sang “Polish Poem” for the soundtrack, has done a live cover of Beck’s “Black Tambourine,” which also appears on the soundtrack.

 

Did you know? Twin Peaks has a real-life connection to Marilyn Monroe: Actor Miguel Ferrer (Albert Rosenfield) was held by Marilyn Monroe as a baby, when his mother, actress and singer Rosemary Clooney, attended one of Monroe’s parties.

 

Did you know? Both Kyle MacLachlan and Lara Flynn Boyle actually hate cherry pie.

It kind of ruins the fantasy to realize that, behind that thumbs up, he's revolted.

It kind of ruins the fantasy to realize that, behind that thumbs up, he’s revolted.

Did you know? The character of Maddy Ferguson originally wasn’t part of the plan: Lynch and Frost invented her pretty much at the last minute as a way to keep Sheryl Lee in the show. The character’s name is a blatant reference to one of Lynch’s favorite films, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, which stars Jimmy Stewart as Scottie Ferguson and Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster.

 

Did you know? Jack Nance’s real, full name is Marvin John Nance.

Did you know? Mrs Tremond’s grandson was, in the series, played by David Lynch’s son, Austin Jack Lynch. He also showed up seventeen years later, in his father’s feature film Inland Empire (he is sitting on the couch in Devon’s dressing room). Austin Lynch also works as a director, though with a much smaller filmography than his dad: He filmed “The Making of…” documentary for the DVD extras for the film The New World (2005).

Austin Jack Lynch, all grown up.

Austin Jack Lynch, all grown up.

Did you know? Angelo Badalamenti sings on the track “A Real Indication” from the Fire Walk With Me soundtrack. The song was invented on the spot, inspired by Bobby and Laura’s interaction at the school.

Did you know? To keep information from leaking to the public when the identity of Laura’s killer was revealed, different versions of Maddy’s murder were filmed: One with just Leland, one with just BOB, and one with Ben Horne. The Simpsons later parodied this in their episode “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular,” which shows a alternate outcomes for the episode “Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 2,” wherein Mr. Burns’s assistant Smithers is revealed to be the killer. This was also allegedly created to keep the real killer’s identity from leaking to the public. Also, “Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 2” contains two Twin Peaks parodies: Its title is a play on the tagline “Who killed Laura Palmer,” and there is a scene where the police chief dreams of a Black Lodge-like place, where a “backwards-talking [girl] with flaming cards” gives him obscure clues. He awakes from the dream with his hair stuck in a cowlick, the same way Cooper awakes from his Black Lodge dream.

Did you know? References to Twin Peaks have appeared in countless shows. Psyche had its own Twin Peaks tribute episode which guest-starred many of the cast members. Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show parodied the Twin Peaks opening and used the tagline “Who Killed Hannibal?” (Hannibal Buress is the show’s co-host.) The Simpsons have referenced it three times (two are listed above), the third time showing a flashback of Homer watching Twin Peaks in the early 90s. Comedian Eddie Pepitone, in his special In Ruins, Laura Palmer’s murder as a key reference in one of his jokes. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer has referenced Twin Peaks twice (arguably): One episode takes place in the characters’ dreams, which are being controlled by a supernatural entity, and one dream features the character Willow walking down a hallway of red curtains. In another episode, Buffy references Lynch’s nonlinear film-making with the line, “Is that why time went all David Lynch?”

Buffy Summers has good taste in cinema.

Buffy Summers has good taste in cinema.

Did you know? Twin Peaks was nominated for the 2014 TCA Heritage Award, along with Lost, South Park, Saturday Night Live, and Star Trek. It lost to Saturday Night Live.

Did you know? Speaking of Twin Peaks and Star Trek, many actors from Twin Peaks have also appeared on the various incarnations of Star Trek, including Ray Wise (Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager), Madchen Amick, (Star Trek: The Next Generation) Wendy Robie (Deep Space 9), and Miguel Ferrer (feature film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock).

Wendy Robie in Stark Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Wendy Robie in Stark Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Did you know? Twin Peaks has inspired a number of songs, including “Wrapped in Plastic” by Marilyn Manson, “Spark” by Tori Amos, and “Nadine Hurley” by London punk girl band Skinny Girl Diet.

Did you know? The actors who played Ed and Nadine Hurley, Everett McGill and Wendy Robie respectively, also played a husband and wife in the 1991 horror film The People Under the Stairs.

Did you know? Twin Peaks has inspired many television shows, including Psyche, American Horror Story, Wayward Pines, Lost, True Detective, Louie (which had David Lynch himself guest-star in two episodes) and Hemlock Grove, to name just a few. Feature films inspired by Twin Peaks include Lake Mungo, Requiem for a Dream, and Donnie Darkko.

Did you know? Twin Peaks has also inspired several video games, such as the Silent Hill series, and the supernatural detective game Alan Wake. Even the popular game series The Legend of Zelda has drawn from Twin Peaks: Its 4th installment, Link’s Awakening, takes the protagonist to a dream world full of strange individuals who speak in cryptic phrases. It even includes a mysterious forest and an owl that is not what it seems. Some of these Twin Peaks-inspired elements would go on to recur throughout the series. In one of the games, the mysterious owl serves as a disguise for a wise old man who aids the protagonist. It seems even in video games, the owls are not what they seem.

 

Like BOB, the wise man in the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time disguises himself as an owl.

Like BOB, the wise man in the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time disguises himself as an owl.

That’s all for this edition. I hope you learned some interesting new info. Know any more fun facts about Twin Peaks? Post them in the comments below! I’ll see you again in 25 years. Meanwhile…

LauraScream

“Just Like a Movie Star”: The Evolution of Lynch’s “Judy”

The Many Faces of Judy?

The many faces of Judy?

Written by Eden Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

 

Judy is an enigmatic character, and a point of extreme interest for some die-hard Twin Peaks fans. Researchers have managed to uncover her original identity as Josie Packard’s sister and Phillip Jeffries’ informant, but is Judy more than just a character cut out of Fire Walk With Me for time? There are still many unanswered questions about her: For one, why does the monkey whisper her name? And how does she know about the existence of the Black Lodge? I have a theory that may explain this, and reveal the true face, or faces, of Judy. This theory also indicates that we have actually seen Judy much more than we originally thought. Let’s start with this quote from Inland Empire:

My friend Nico, who lives in Pomona has a blonde wig. She wears it at parties. But she’s on hard drugs and turning tricks now. She looks very good in her blonde wig just like a movie star. Even girls fall in love with her when she’s looking so good in her blonde star wig. She blows kisses and waves. But she has got a hole in her vagina wall. She has torn a hole into her intestine from her vagina. She has seen a doctor, but it is too expensive. And now she knows her time has run out. She [will] score a few more times, and then, like that, she will stay at home, with her monkey. She has a pet monkey. This monkey shits everywhere, but she doesn’t care! This monkey can scream. It screams like it in a horror movie. But there are those who are good with animals; who have a way with animals.

-“Street Person #2” (Nae), Inland Empire

Right off the bat, we can say that Judy and Nico have two things in common: 1) We know very little about them, but 2) we know they are both associated with monkeys, for whatever reason. That may not be much to go on, but the monkey connection is a strange enough one to merit some further rumination.

Nico has "a way with animals," one could say.

Nico has “a way with animals,” one could say.

So, who is Nico? According to her friend, she is a woman who turned to prostitution and drugs, but because of a perforation in her vagina wall, she will now live at home, with her pet monkey. Oh, and she wears a blonde wig, which makes her look “just like a movie star.” She is so beautiful, both men and women fall in love with her. It’s difficult to tell from the only shot we get of Nico, but the actress who plays her, Masuimi Max, is of Korean descent, which makes both Nico and Judy Asian.

Monkey

The monkey that mysteriously whispers the name “Judy” in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

But who is Judy? Thanks to some very loyal Twin Peaks fans, we have more info on Judy: She’s allegedly Josie Packard’s sister, an informant and possible love interest to Phillip Jeffries, and she seems to know something about a portal to the Black Lodge that exists in Buenos Aires. Through Josie, she may also be linked to prostitution. And a monkey mysteriously whispers her name in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

But what, if anything, does this mean?

Judy was meant to be a character in Fire Walk With Me, but when the script ran long, certain parts had to be taken out. And thus, poor Judy ended up on the cutting room floor… mostly. She’s mentioned, but never seen in the film, and never discussed at length. There are many theories about Judy, and whether or not the Judy mentioned in the final film product is still meant to be Josie’s sister, or a symbol for something else. According to my theory, it’s a little bit of both. Let’s look at another character, seen briefly in Inland Empire.

Although it’s Nico who’s described as blowing kisses and laughing, she does neither when we see her in the end credits. But someone does: Laura Harring, a.k.a. Camilla Rhodes, a.k.a. Rita, from Mulholland Drive. At first this may seem meaningless… until you realize that the character of Rita looks just like movie star Rita Hayworth, and wears a blonde wig. Even women have been known to fall in love with Rita when she’s looking so good in her blonde star wig. Now, because of the manner of storytelling utilized in Mulholland Drive, analysis gets a little tricky, but Rita may also be associated with the character of Diane Selwyn; a would-be movie starlet who had to resort to prostitution and maybe even drugs when her career fails. Many fans have debated about the film, its meaning, and the story behind its characters, and there are too many theories to recount in one place, but there is one I’d like to bring up at this point, and that is the theory that Camilla Rhodes was inspired by Lynch’s former girlfriend, actress Isabella Rossellini. Both Rossellini and Camilla are “exotic” actresses with dark hair, and they both dated well-known directors (Adam Kesher, played by Justin Theroux in Mulholland Drive, seems almost like a self-written parody of Lynch). Oh and as for the blonde wig…

isabella-rossellini-blonde

That’s Rossellini in Lynch’s film Wild At Heart, which he was working on concurrent to the second season of Twin Peaks. And if this isn’t building a clear enough pattern, it is known that Rossellini was originally going to play Josie Packard.

Before Josie Packard was played by Joan Chen, Lynch had written the part, originally named Giovanna, for Rossellini. She was, of course, Italian-American as opposed to Asian-American. But when Rossellini backed out of the project, Lynch re-worked the part and cast Chen instead. And Josie, of course, according to early drafts of the Fire Walk With Me script, is Judy’s sister, and is thought to have worked as a prostitute in Hong Kong.

But what does this all mean? Where is this going? To finally complete the picture, we need to look at another Judy…

Garland?

Garland?

Lynch’s fascination for the story of The Wizard of Oz is well-known among his fans, and it has been made evident again and again in his works. The motif of a girl traveling to a strange world, full of both magic and horror, is one that Lynch emulates in almost every one of his films. Sometimes the symbolism is even more blatant, such as having a character named Dorothy wear red shoes (Blue Velvet), or having Major Garland Briggs mention Judy Garland’s name in relation to his own (Twin Peaks). Women filling the role of “Dorothy Gale” in Lynch’s works include Laura Palmer, Nikki Grace, and Diane Selwyn: But the woman who most famously portrayed the original Dorothy Gale was Judy Garland.

Judy Garland, despite her tragic life, was forever immortalized as the hopeful and naive Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz.

Judy Garland, despite her tragic life, was forever immortalized as the hopeful and naive Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz.

Garland is, in many ways, the perfect symbol of the wonder and tragedy of Hollywood, a subject that Lynch is passionate about: Born Frances Ethel Gumm, “Judy” was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer when she was only thirteen, and played the famous role of Dorothy Gale three years later. She was originally supposed to wear a blond wig for the part, but ultimately the producers decided against it. Her many years in show business were plagued with woe: She suffered various heartbreaks, including a time when MGM forced her into a divorce, and potentially pressured her into having an abortion for the sake of her career. She eventually married director Vincente Minelli, with whom she had her daughter, Liza Minelli. The stress of living always in the public eye ate away at Garland, driving her to multiple suicide attempts, stays at mental wards, and addiction to morphine, alcohol and barbiturates. “All I could see ahead was more confusion,” Garland was quoted as saying, after one of her many career disasters. At the age of 59, Garland was found dead of a barbiturate overdose. According to doctors who examined her, she was already dying of cirrhosis, and only had a matter of time, anyway.

This dark, tragic life, full of turmoil and a sense of hopelessness, is such a jarring juxtaposition to the roles she was most famous for: Happy, bright young girls, always singing and dancing and full of cheer. This telling vision of Hollywood struck a chords with Lynch, and “Judy” has been a part of his films ever since.

Let’s look at the evolution of the character: Lynch, inspired by the story of Judy Garland, creates the character Dorothy Vallens, played by Isabella Rossellini, who notably wears red shoes. He writes the role of Italian-American “Giovanna” for Rossellini, but she decides to pass up the role. The role is rewritten as Chinese-American “Josie” and goes to Joan Chen. When Rossellini is cast in Wild At Heart, a movie filled with Wizard of Oz references, Lynch consciously or subconsciously dresses her in a blonde wig, a reference to the early wardrobe plans for Garland’s Dorothy. The early drafts of Fire Walk With Me are written, featuring a character named Judy; Josie’s sister, who seems to know the secrets of other worlds, and may even know how to get into them. After multiple drafts, Judy is mostly cut from the script, but in the film we still see the blue-lit face of a monkey whispering “Judy.” After a period of tempestuous reinvention, Mulholland Drive is released as a feature film, with Laura Elena Harring playing the exotic and seductive actress Camilla Rhodes, whose alter-ego “Rita” disguises her Hayworth-esque appearance with a short blonde wig. She is so beautiful, she both men and women fall head-over-heels in love with her. Naomi Watts plays Diane Selwyn, a failed actress who resorts to prostitution and possibly drugs just to survive in Hollywood. Years later, Inland Empire tells the story of Nikki Grace, a Hollywood actress, apparently past her prime and hoping for a comeback. She eventually slips into another world, where we meet her alter-ego Sue, who is a prostitute in Hollywood, and at one time opines “All I can see from here is blue tomorrows,” a possible reference to the Judy Garland quote. She is stabbed on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, where she staggers past a partially-obscured star on the Walk of Fame: Only the name “Dorothy” is visible. She collapses next to some homeless people and hears an Asian woman (played by Japanese actress Nae) talk about her friend Nico, a drug-addicted prostitute who wears a blonde wig, so she looks “just like a movie star,” and owns a pet monkey.

After initially being inspired by the story of Judy Garland, who was born Ethel, became Dorothy on the screen, and was Judy to the public, Lynch carried the character of “Judy” with him, and, as with any character that is destined to be, she took on a life of her own: Showing the dark, seedy truth covered up by the glamor of Hollywood and its promise of fame and fortune. It is a place where magic and beauty can be made, but it is at the expense of millions who try and fail to become a part of it, and often fall into the underground world of drugs and prostitution, and those who do make it have taken hold of a double-edged sword. It is a stark balance between light and dark, horror and beauty, power and poverty, fame and obscurity, painful truths and attractive lies. “Judy” represents the glory and tragedy of life and death, and a desire to enter another world: Through death, through magic, or through movies.