Sesame Street does David Lynch, in the Monsterpiece Theater adaptation of Twin Peaks.
Alistair Cookie’s version is an homage to the TV show, but let’s stick to Fire Walk With Me, the movie prequel which reveals the last days of Laura Palmer, expertly played by Sheryl Lee. This 1992 horror film requires no familiarity with the TV show, but does spoil its plot. Many original cast members return, with the glaring exception of Lara Flynn Boyle; her absence is a far greater loss than the death of Laura Palmer, who this film reveals to be a complete arsehole. I’m glad she’s dead. But it’s not her fault she’s being tormented by Frank Silva’s Bob, one of the most terrifying villains of recent history. It’s probably the double denim.
It’s an entirely different beast to Twin Peaks, opting for pure psychological horror over the police procedural and satirical humour of the original. It also feels much messier, introducing characters at the start who are then completely forgotten about, including Kiefer Sutherland and David (Zavid) Bowie. This cinematic spin-off is simply not as brilliant as the TV show.
But Fire Walk With Me deserves to be taken on its own terms, made clear by the opening image of a TV being smashed. The combination of David Lynch’s strange visuals and Angelo Badalamenti’s rich music give the film a truly mesmerising ambience. David Lynch’s films are the cinematic equivalent of nightmares, and not just because weird things happen; they actually have the qualities of nightmares and feel like the closest we can experience to bad dreams while being awake. Fire Walk With Me is no exception, lingering in the darkest corners of the viewer’s mind.
The Cookie Monster plays Agent Cookie in what is frankly a spot-on impression of Agent Cooper. Twin Beaks is just based on a pun, but teaches us the importance of asking questions. Throw in some jokes about eating a plate and the Log Lady, and Sesame Street have a hell of a Twin Peaks parody, and what a thing to parody. And to quote South Park: “Simpsons did it!”