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Phenomenon

The Blu-ray special feature Phenomenon is broken into three distinct parts: Creation, Life After Death and Renaissance. As a whole, this feature is a fun but mostly boilerplate look at the series as a whole. It’s quick and to the point, and was likely originally cut to serve as more of a commercial for the revival series than a truly in-depth look at Twin Peaks. Creation looks at the show’s origins, from its time on ABC to the fan reaction, including the popular “watching parties” that had audiences coming together to experience each weekly episode as a group. Life After Death examines the growing cult fandom that sprung up after the show had been cancelled. Fan magazines and conventions gave Twin Peaks a whole new life, and kept the series alive for an entire new generation born after the first show had long been cancelled. Renaissance is a crash-course in bringing the show back to life on Showtime. Again, there’s no real insight here, or depth. Lynch and frost pop-up for quick soundbites, but anyone hoping for the creators to delve into the process of bringing Twin Peaks back from the dead need look elsewhere.

twin peaks behind the scenes

Behind the Red Curtain and I Had Bad Milk in Dehradun

Richard Beymer, who plays Twin Peaks character Ben Horne, shot these two mini-documentaries that appear in the Blu-ray special features. There’s no narrative thread to these two features. Instead, they provide a raw, uncensored look at Lynch and company on the Black Lodge set, setting up shots. These two features provide us with what will become a running theme of the behind-the-scenes footage provided on the Blu-ray: shot after shot of Lynch at work.

If you ever wanted to sit back and watch David Lynch direct, the features provided here are a gold mine. They also provide an amusing, even charming look at how normal it all is. Lynch deals with such strange, dark, violent material that it can be easy to think of him as a dark, brooding weirdo, but the footage here shows him as an affable, laid-back fellow who knows exactly what he wants from a scene and how to get it. These slice-of-life moments give us an opportunity to see Lynch help Kyle MacLachlan tie a necktie, or give Sherilyn Fenn a cigarette as he talks with her about her character. Speaking of cigarettes, get ready to see a lot of them. Lynch is constantly smoking in these behind-the-scenes moments, an American Spirit cigarette always perched in his mouth or resting between his fingers. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself longing for a smoke after watching all of this.

The only downside to this, and other behind-the-scenes features, is that some of the magic of the show is lost. We’re peeling back the red curtain here, and seeing how the sausage is made. The otherworldly nature of Twin Peaks drops away as we see numerous crew members making everything come together. In one amusing moment, we see Lynch and company watching a clip from the original Twin Peaks on YouTube so they can match a shot up to a new scene.

Twin Peaks David Lynch

In A Very Lovely Dream: One Week in Twin Peaks

Filmmaker Charles DeLauzirika put together this on-location feature that goes behind the scenes. Not much of the material here is very comprehensive, but it does provide a fly-on-the-wall look at the production, including actors discussing how strange it was to step back into roles they hadn’t played in more than two decades. The best moments come when we get to watch Lynch direct – almost always through a megaphone. If you’re looking for a bit more, however, this isn’t the feature for you. Instead, you should move quickly to IMPRESSIONS: A Journey Behind the Scenes of Twin Peaks.

IMPRESSIONS: A Journey Behind the Scenes of Twin Peaks

Without question, the best features on the new Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series Blu-ray release are the series of behind-the-scenes films bundled together as IMPRESSIONS: A Journey Behind the Scenes of Twin Peaks. Longtime Lynch documentarian and friend Jason S. shot these 10 revealing, fascinating films (each runs about 30 minutes), covering almost the entire filming schedule of the new series.

Once again, we have Lynch constantly smoking his American Spirit cigarettes, but these features are much more in-depth than Behind the Red Curtain and I Had Bad Milk in Dehradun. We get to watch as Lynch and his crew come up with character names on the fly, and cracking up when he thinks up silly-sounding names. This feature also reveals how hands-on Lynch is: at one point, we see him sculpting one of the show’s props himself – a spout made of styrofoam that will eventually serve as the giant teapot-like contraption that took the place of the dearly departed David Bowie.

Again, the best moments are those when we get to watch Lynch direct, like a sequence where he chats with Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern in a motel room set. Lynch has nicknames for all his actors, and it’s charming to listen to him refer to Dern as “Tidbit” and MacLachlan as “Kale.” Later, he has to talk Dern into letting makeup artists cover her face in bread dough. After the scene is complete, Dern gets payback by applying the same dough to Lynch’s face. It’s a charming, funny glimpse into the carefree, friendly atmosphere prevalent on Lynch’s sets. “I wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for David,” MacLachlan said once. “He pretty much brought me up in the film world and spoiled me; we’ve all spoken about how the set is, he creates the environment and the joyfulness and the creativity. I’ve been spoiled forever working with David.” The footage here is proof positive of that statement.

Still, there are moments where Lynch can lose his temper. In one sequence, not filmed on set but rather in a meeting with his crew, Lynch gets frustrated when he’s told that they’ll only be able to film in one location for two days. The filmmaker grows apoplectic at this time constraint, shouting, “Why do I only have two fucking days?” and complaining that given the chance, he could spend “weeks” on certain sets “dreaming up new ideas.”

The only negative thing I’ll say about this feature: the footage is (sporadically) narrated by Josef Maria Schäfers, in what I presume is an attempt to mock (or perhaps pay loving tribute to) the existential narration that filmmaker Werner Herzog usually gives his documentaries. The narration here is unnecessary and distracting, and grows truly tiresome after a while.

Goodbye, Margaret

Other features on the Blu-ray include a series of David Lynch produced promos for the series. Lynch managed to avoid having to cut a proper trailer for the Showtime revival, and instead put together these abstract clips that teased the tone without giving anything away. Also included is a behind-the-scenes photo gallery, a series of alternating versions of the Rancho Rosa production logo that started each episode, and the full San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Twin Peaks Panel, which you can watch in full above.

As a whole, the Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series Blu-ray is a must-own for any David Lynch or Twin Peaks fan. There’s a wealth of material here beyond the series itself, but best of all is the opportunity to watch the episodes back-to-back, and watch as the create an elaborate, hypnotic saga the likes of which we’ll never see again.

Full list of special features:

BLU-RAY AND DVD:

  • IMPRESSIONS: A Journey Behind the Scenes of Twin Peaks
    • The Man with the Grey Elevated Hair (29:40)
    • Tell it Martin (29:08)
    • Two Blue Balls (24:14)
    • The Number of Completion (29:17)
    • Bad Binoculars (28:08)
    • See You on the Other Side Dear Friend (30:00)
    • Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers (26:44)
    • A Bloody Finger in Your Mouth (26:49)
    • The Polish Accountant (28:05)
    • A Pot of Boiling Oil (38:32)
  • Phenomenon
    • Part 1: Creation (4:40)
    • Part 2: Life After Death (4:50)
    • Part 3: Renaissance (4:50)
    • Behind-the-scenes Photo Gallery
  • Rancho Rosa Logos (2:25)
  • San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Twin Peaks Panel (61:26)
  • David Lynch Produced Promos
    • Piano (1:02)
    • Donut (:32)
    • Woods (:32)
    • People (:32)
    • Places (:32)
    • Albert (1:02)
    • In – cinema (1:32)

BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE:

  • A Very Lovely Dream: One Week in Twin Peaks (27:09)
  • Behind the Red Curtain (29:17)
  • I Had Bad Milk in Dehradun (28:11)

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