Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel “THE I IN EVIL”, and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
“TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY” (Blu-ray Review)Movies/TV,News,Reviews Ken W. Hanley
When CBS and Paramount Pictures teamed to bring TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY to Blu-ray this summer, there was no question as to whether or not this would be the definitive home release of the series and prequel film, FIRE WALK WITH ME. The concept of a definitive set pales in comparison to the reality: a massive 10-disc set that felt as physically dense as the content it held within. In an age where physical media is being given the short shrift time and time again, TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY is any tried-and-true genre fan’s golden ticket.
In a way, the design of THE ENTIRE MYSTERY, adorned with iconic imagery, is a very proper reflection of the series itself. Every image carries a mysterious duality, with the promise of a nightmarish darkness underneath every quaint or absurd visage. And while some may attribute this appeal to kitsch or camp, there’s a very sincere and hypnotic nature to the meticulously crafted box set. That care carries over to the discs themselves, populated with interactive menus and a plethora of features, as well as a stunning high definition transfer of each and every episode on there, as well as FIRE WALK WITH ME.
For those unfamiliar with the series, TWIN PEAKS follows the story of the titular town as its inhabitants are stunned by the murder of local teenager Laura Palmer. With the arrival of the cordial and charismatic FBI Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks reveals itself a town of dark secrets, some of which are supernatural in nature. With a massive cast, incredible visual style and a brilliant balance of dark humor and unsettling horror, TWIN PEAKS brought the aesthetics of David Lynch and Mark Frost to television and changed the way the medium was made forever.
While the notoriously complicated production history of TWIN PEAKS is well documented, the series itself holds up incredibly well, especially when viewed as a wholes. Manipulating the aesthetics of noir by placing them in a remote location and clouding them with a surreal backdrop, TWIN PEAKS has intrigue, hilarity, terror and romance in spades. In fact, many times these elements will be found in simultaneous scenes, all the while bringing the multiple stories and coinciding drama to their boiling point. It’s a fascinating program if there ever was one, and it’s a series that not only feels confident in its direction (yes, even through the wayward latter half) but also revelatory upon each successive viewing.
Luckily, THE ENTIRE MYSTERY provides even further insight into the series, as well as more content than most TWIN PEAKS fans can handle, the crown jewel of which being the 90 minutes of cut footage from FIRE WALK WITH ME entitled “The Missing Pieces.” The deleted footage varies from odd and humorous exchanges, most of which is used to wedge smaller characters from the series into the narrative despite having no real place within the story; to the bold and macabre, including some dread-inspiring sequences rooted in the supernatural side of TWIN PEAKS. Of course, the most appealing of the missing pieces are those that flesh out the characters introduced within FIRE WALK WITH ME, primarily being Agents Philip Jefferies (played brilliantly by David Bowie) and Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak) as both figures feel more integrated into the PEAKS universe after viewing “The Missing Pieces.”
But THE ENTIRE MYSTERY also includes an onslaught of other phenomenal special features, including brand-new deleted scenes from the series, the alternate international version of the pilot, Log Lady intros for every episode of the series, a plethora of featurettes new and old, and the newly produced “Between Two Worlds” interviews that act as the closest thing to new PEAKS content fans may ever get.
Speaking to Ray Wise, Grace Zabriskie and Sheryl Lee both in-and-out of character (as the Palmer family, respectively), Lynch allows fans to look at the actors more intimately as well as how they perceived their fictional counterparts. It’s a truly engaging and surreal experience, divided by a color and black-and-white presentation as well as Lynch’s free-roaming moderation of the discussion. As for the other features, they’re all excellently produced. The depths of which viewers are willing to go into the hours upon hours of content is only limited by their fandom (or in some cases, obsession).
In any case, TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY is without a doubt one of the most impressive Blu-ray sets ever produced, and spectacularly fitting of a series worth revisiting time and time again. While most fans will be drawn to “The Missing Pieces” and “Between Two Worlds” primarily, the mere fact that so much content is available is worthy of championing, let alone the incredible high-definition transfer and stellar audio mix on both the series and FIRE WALK WITH ME. It’s truly the best the series has- and likely will ever- look and sound, and for those looking to return or introduce others to the world of TWIN PEAKS, THE ENTIRE MYSTERY is the road worth traveling.