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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
In the center of the poster is half of a golden heart-shaped necklace with a picture of a blonde woman (Laura Palmer) inside it. The necklace is on fire. In the background is red curtains and black-and-white zig-zag flooring.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Lynch
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Twin Peaks 
by David Lynch & Mark Frost
Music by Angelo Badalamenti
Cinematography Ron Garcia
Edited by Mary Sweeney
Distributed by
Release dates
  • May 1992 (1992-05) (Cannes)
  • July 3, 1992 (1992-07-03) (France)
  • August 28, 1992 (1992-08-28) (United States)
Running time
134 minutes[1]
  • France
  • United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Box office $4.2 million[2]

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a 1992 French-American psychological horror film,[3] directed by David Lynch and written by Lynch and Robert Engels.

It is a continuation of the short-lived television series Twin Peaks (1990–91), created by Lynch and Mark Frost, and revolves around the investigation into the murder of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) and the last seven days in the life of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), a popular high school student in the fictional Washington town of Twin Peaks. Additionally, the film's narrative references and clarifies Agent Dale Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) fate in the series finale. Thus, while the film is often considered a prequel, it also has features more typical of a sequel.

Most of the television cast returned for the film, with the notable exceptions of Lara Flynn Boyle, who declined to return as Laura's best friend Donna Hayward (she was replaced by Moira Kelly), and Sherilyn Fenn, due to scheduling conflicts. Kyle MacLachlan, who starred as Special Agent Dale Cooper in the TV series, was reluctant to return out of fear of getting typecast, so his presence in the film is smaller than originally planned.

Fire Walk with Me was greeted at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival with booing and jeers from the audience and met with negative reviews in the United States. In subsequent years, the film has been received more positively.[4] The film fared poorly in the United States at the box office, partially because it was released almost a year after the television series was canceled (due to a sharp ratings decline in the second season). However, it was a commercial hit in Japan.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Themes 4
  • Release 5
    • Critical reception 5.1
  • Home media 6
    • Legacy and sequel 6.1
  • Soundtrack 7
  • Awards and nominations 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The following day at FBI headquarters in Philadelphia, long-lost Agent Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) re-appears. He tells Cole about a meeting he witnessed involving the Man from Another Place, Bob, Mrs. Chalfont (Frances Bay), and her grandson. Suddenly, Jeffries begins to scream and disappears. Desmond is reported missing and Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is sent to Deer Meadow to investigate his disappearance. The clues to Teresa Banks' murder lead to a dead end but Cooper is certain her killer will strike again.

One year later in Twin Peaks, high school homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) and her best friend Donna Hayward (Moira Kelly) attend school. Laura is addicted to cocaine and is cheating on her boyfriend, the arrogant and ill-tempered jock, Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), with the biker James Hurley (James Marshall).

Laura realizes pages are missing from her secret diary and tells her friend, the agoraphobic Harold Smith (Lenny Von Dohlen) that Bob took them. Laura insists that Bob is real and will kill her if she does not allow him to possess her. Laura's face then changes color as she utters the words, "Fire walk with me." She quickly returns to normal and visibly shaken, Laura gives Harold her diary to keep. She leaves, stating she does not know when, or if, she will return.

During her Meals on Wheels rounds, Laura sees Mrs. Chalfont and her grandson who give Laura a painting and warn her that the "man behind the mask" is in Laura's room. Laura runs home, where she sees Bob. Laura rushes outside in terror, but sees her father, Leland (Ray Wise), emerge from the house. Laura begins to suspect her father is Bob. Later that evening, the Palmer family is eating dinner. Leland sees Laura's half-heart necklace and questions her about her "lovers." Looking at her finger, Leland insinuates there is dirt underneath the nail. Later, Leland goes into his daughter's bedroom and tells Laura he loves her. Laura wonders if he could truly be Bob.

Before bed, Laura hangs the painting on her wall and then falls asleep. She dreams about entering the Black Lodge. Suddenly, Cooper and the Man from Another Place appear in her dream. The Man from Another Place tells Cooper that he is "the arm" and offers Teresa's ring to Laura, but Cooper tells her not to take it. Laura finds Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham) next to her in bed, covered in blood. Annie tells Laura to write in her diary that "the good Dale" is trapped in the lodge and can't leave. Laura sees the ring in her hand and is frightened. After looking outside her bedroom door, Laura finds herself inside the painting.

Laura awakens in the morning with the ring gone from her hand. Disturbed, she removes the painting from her wall. Meanwhile, Bobby, Leo, and Jacques Renault discuss drug scores. Jacques agrees to send someone to meet with him. That same evening, Laura prepares to go to the Bang Bang Bar where she encounters the Log Lady. Inside the bar, Jacques introduces Laura to two men. The group is about to leave for the Pink Room to have sex, but Donna shows up. The men are impressed with her "audition kiss" and they allow her to come along.

In the Pink Room, Laura discusses Teresa Banks' murder with Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine). She then engages in oral sex with the men. Laura becomes distraught when she sees a topless Donna making out with one of the men. She takes Donna home and in the morning, Laura tells Donna she does not want Donna to become like her. Leland arrives to take Laura back home. On the way home, Mike (Al Strobel), the one-armed man, shouts at Leland that "the thread will be torn" and shows Laura Teresa's ring, but Leland and Laura become frightened and drive away.

Leland pulls into a gas station parking lot to gather his wits, and recalls his affair with Teresa. He had asked Teresa to set up a foursome and invite some of her friends, but fled when he discovered Laura was among them. Teresa realized who he was and plotted to blackmail him and he killed her to prevent his secrets from being revealed. Laura realizes that Mike's ring was the same one from her dream, and was also worn by Teresa.

The next night, Laura and Bobby take cocaine in the woods, and wait for Jacques' drug messenger, the sheriff's deputy from Deer Meadow. The messenger delivers the drugs and takes out a gun, but Bobby shoots him first. He hastily tries to bury the messenger as Laura laughs maniacally, high on drugs. The following night, Bob comes through Laura's window and begins having sex with her. She asks Bob repeatedly who he is and then suddenly realizes that he is Leland, and warns Leland away from her the next morning. Upset, Laura uses more cocaine and has trouble concentrating at school. Bobby attempts to initiate sex with her, but Laura refuses. Bobby realizes Laura was only using him for his access to cocaine. He hands her his stash, breaking off their relationship. The angel in Laura's painting disappears.

In the woods, Laura tells James that "his Laura" is gone. She tells him that she loves him and runs into the woods where she meets Ronette, Jacques, and Leo. They hold an

Bob/Leland places Laura's body in the lake. As her corpse drifts away, Bob/Leland enters the Black Lodge, where he encounters Mike and the Man from Another Place who tell Bob they want all their garmonbozia ("pain and sorrow"). Bob pulls the blood from Leland's wound and flings it to the floor. Laura's body washes up on the lakeshore, where it is found by the Sheriff's department the following morning. Laura's spirit later sits in the Black Lodge and notices Agent Cooper at her side. He places a comforting hand on her shoulder. Laura sees an angel appear and begins to cry and then laugh.



Twin Peaks had been canceled only a month when David Lynch announced he would be making a film with French company CIBY-2000 financing what would be the first film of a three-picture deal.[5] However, on July 11, 1991, Ken Scherer, CEO of Lynch/Frost productions, announced that the film was not going to be made because series star Kyle MacLachlan did not want to reprise his role of Special Agent Dale Cooper. A month later, MacLachlan had changed his mind and the film was back on.

The film was made without Twin Peaks series regulars Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn, and Richard Beymer. At the time, these absences were attributed to scheduling conflicts, but in a 1995 interview, Fenn revealed that the real reason was that she "was extremely disappointed in the way the second season got off track. As far as Fire Walk with Me, it was something that I chose not to be a part of."[5] However, Fenn stated in a 2014 interview that it was ultimately a scheduling conflict with Of Mice and Men that prevented her from committing to the film.[6] Fenn's character was cut from the script, Boyle was recast with Moira Kelly, and Beymer's scenes were not filmed. In a September 2007 interview, Beymer claimed that he did not appear in any scenes shot for the film, although his character, Benjamin Horne, appeared in the script.[7]

MacLachlan's reluctance was also caused by a decline of quality in the second season of the show. He said "David and Mark [Frost] were only around for the first season... I think we all felt a little abandoned. So I was fairly resentful when the film, Fire Walk with Me, came around."[5] Although he agreed to be in the film, MacLachlan wanted a smaller role, forcing Lynch and co-writer Robert Engels to re-write the screenplay so that the Teresa Banks murder was investigated by Agent Chester Desmond and not by Cooper as originally planned. MacLachlan ended up working only five days on the movie.

Another missing figure from Twin Peaks was co-creator Mark Frost. The relationship between Lynch and Frost had become strained during the second season and after the series ended. Frost went on to direct his own film, Storyville (1992), and was unable to collaborate with Lynch on Fire Walk with Me.[8]

David Bowie had this to say about his part of the film: "They crammed me. I did all my scenes in four or five days, because I was in rehearsals for the 1991 Tin Machine tour. I was there for only a few days."[9]

Principal photography began on September 5, 1991 in Snoqualmie, Washington and lasted until October of the same year, with four weeks dedicated to locations in Washington and another four weeks of interiors and additional locations in Los Angeles, California. When shooting went over schedule in Seattle, Washington, Laura's death in the train car had to be shot in Los Angeles on soundstage during the last day of shooting, October 31.[10]


Lynch wanted to make a Twin Peaks film because, as he claimed in an interview, "I couldn't get myself to leave the world of Twin Peaks. I was in love with the character of Laura Palmer and her contradictions: radiant on the surface but dying inside. I wanted to see her live, move and talk. I was in love with that world and I hadn't finished with it. But making the movie wasn't just to hold onto it; it seemed that there was more stuff that could be done", [11] and that he was "not yet finished with the material".[12]

Actress Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer, also echoed these sentiments. "I never got to be Laura alive, just in flashbacks; it allowed me to come full circle with the character."[5] According to Lynch, the movie is about "the loneliness, shame, guilt, confusion and devastation of the victim of incest. It also dealt with the torment of the father – the war within him."[11]


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me received a reaction quite the contrary to the television series. The film was entered into the 1992 Cannes Film Festival,[13] where it was greeted with booing from the audience and met with almost unanimous negative reviews. According to Roger Ebert from The Chicago Sun-Times, the film was met with two extremes, one side being overall positive, while the other side being the exact opposite.[14] Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who was also in attendance, confessed in a 1992 interview, "After I saw Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me at Cannes, David Lynch had disappeared so far up his own ass that I have no desire to see another David Lynch movie until I hear something different. And you know, I loved him. I loved him."[15]

Even the CIBY-2000 party at Cannes did not go well. According to Lynch, Francis Bouygues (then head of CIBY) was not well liked in France and this only added to the film's demise at the festival.[16] After the Cannes showing, Lynch said "It was a little bit of a sadness, [...] You'd like to have everybody there, but their characters didn't have a bearing on the life of her [Laura Palmer]".[17]

U.S. distributor New Line Cinema released the film in America on August 28, 1992. It grossed a total of USD$1.8 million in 691 theaters in its opening weekend and went on to gross a total of $4.2 million in North America.[2]

Despite its mixed critical and poor commercial response, Fire Walk with Me gained attention at awards time. The film was nominated for five Saturn Awards and two Independent Spirit Awards, including Sheryl Lee being nominated for Best Actress. The only awards won by the film were for Angelo Badalamenti's musical score, which won a Spirit Award, a Saturn Award and a Brit Award.[18]

Critical reception

Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream film critics, reported that there were "generally unfavorable reviews", with an average score of 28% based on 16 reviews.[19]

The film holds a 61% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with 37 of 61 critics giving the film a positive review. The site wrote of the critics' consensus: "For better or worse, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is every bit as strange and twisted as you'd expect from David Lynch".[20]

Most negative reviews came from American film critics. Among the negative reviews, Janet Maslin from The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Lynch's taste for brain-dead grotesque has lost its novelty".[5] Fellow Times film critic Vincent Canby concurred, "It's not the worst movie ever made; it just seems to be".[21] In his review for Variety magazine, Todd McCarthy said, "Laura Palmer, after all the talk, is not a very interesting or compelling character and long before the climax has become a tiresome teenager".[22] USA Today gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four, calling it, "a morbidly joyless affair".[23] Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers wrote, "though the movie ups the TV ante on nudity, language and violence, Lynch's control falters. But if inspiration is lacking, talent is not. Count Lynch down but never out".[24] In her review for The Washington Post, Rita Kempley described the film as a "perversely moving, profoundly self-indulgent prequel".[25]

Most positive reviews came from British film critics. Among the positive reviews, Kim Newman from the British magazine Sight & Sound stated: "The film's many moments of horror [...] demonstrate just how tidy, conventional and domesticated the generic horror movie of the 1980s and 1990s has become".[26] Mark Kermode hailed the film as Lynch's "masterpiece".[27] Slant Magazine gave the film a four out of four stars,[28] listing it in their '100 Essential Films' list.[29] Appearing on the podcast The Cinephiliacs, filmmaker James Gray called it "an incredible film," "a masterpiece," and "a classic example of how the critics get it wrong." Further speaking of Fire Walk with Me, he said, "I've never seen a movie that's been made in the last 30 years... haven't seen a movie in the last thirty years, in America, which so asks us to understand and be in the shoes of a person suffering so profoundly. It's a thing of beauty."[30]

In the book Lynch on Lynch, Chris Rodley described the film as "brilliant but excoriating", writing that "by the time Lynch unveiled Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me in 1992, critical reaction had become hostile, and only now is the movie enjoying a degree of cautious but sympathetic critical re-evaluation. It is, undoubtedly, one of Lynch's cruellest, bleakest neighbourhood visions, and even managed to displease die-hard fans of the series. [...] In exposing the very heart of the TV series, Lynch was forced to accept that he was unlikely to return to the town of Twin Peaks again."[31]

Home media

Lynch originally shot over five hours of footage that was subsequently cut down to two hours and fourteen minutes. The footage nearly appeared on New Line's Special Edition DVD in 2002, but was nixed over budgetary and running-time concerns.[32]

Most of the deleted scenes feature additional characters from the television series who ultimately did not appear in the finished film.[33] Lynch has said that "I had a limit on the running time of the picture. We shot many scenes that—for a regular feature—were too tangential to keep the main story progressing properly. We thought it might be good sometime to do a longer version with these other things in, because a lot of the characters that are missing in the finished movie had been filmed. They're part of the picture, they're just not necessary for the main story."[31] According to Lynch, had the movie included these scenes, it "wouldn't have been quite so dark. To me it obeyed the laws of Twin Peaks. But a little bit of the goofiness had to be removed."[31]

In 2007, reported that MK2 was in final negotiations with Lynch about a new two-disc special edition that would include seventeen deleted scenes hand-picked by the director himself. It had been tentatively scheduled for release on October 17, 2007, but MK2 subsequently opted instead to re-release a bare-bones edition of Fire Walk with Me, citing a new version including the deleted scenes has been put on hold indefinitely. In November 2008, Lynch said the following regarding the deleted scenes:

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is owned by a company called MK2 in France. And I spoke to them a couple of months ago. [...] I've spoke to them several times about this. [...] I think it will happen, but maybe the financial crisis is [...] affecting that in some way. I'm not sure what's going on. I'm pretty sure there's seventeen scenes in that at least but it's been a while since we've looked into that.[34]

Paramount Pictures, which has DVD distribution rights to the TV series, acquired the rights in Germany and most of the world excluding the US, UK, France and Canada. Paramount released their DVD in 2007. The DVD was a port straight from the MK2 French edition.

Fire Walk with Me was released on Blu-ray in France on November 3, 2010 by MK2.[35]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia by Madman Entertainment on February 8, 2012, marking the 20th anniversary of the film's theatrical release.[36]

The film was also released on Blu-ray on June 4, 2012 in the UK by Universal UK Home Video, although it has been reported that the release suffers from defects in the audio track.[37] The film has been released on Blu-ray in North America on July 29, 2014, as part of the Twin Peaks complete mystery Blu-ray collection, and contains over 90 minutes of deleted and extended scenes from the film.[38]

Legacy and sequel

According to cinematographer Ron Garcia, the film was popular in Japan, in particular with women, as Martha Nochimson wrote in her book on Lynch's work, "he surmises that the enthusiasm of the Japanese women comes from a gratification of seeing in Laura some acknowledgment of their suffering in a repressive society."[39] Released under the title Twin Peaks: The Last Seven Days of Laura Palmer, it was greeted with long lines of moviegoers at theaters.[40]

In retrospect, Lynch has said, "I feel bad that Fire Walk with Me did no business and that a lot of people hate the film. But I really like the film. But it had a lot of baggage with it. It's as free and as experimental as it could be within the dictates it had to follow."[16]

Mary Sweeney, the film's editor, said, "They so badly wanted it to be like the TV show, and it wasn't. It was a David Lynch feature. And people were very angry about it. They felt betrayed."[5] For her part, Lee is very proud of the film, saying, "I have had many people, victims of incest, approach me since the film was released, so glad that it had been made because it helped them to release a lot."[5]

After Fire Walk with Me was released, Lynch reportedly planned two more films that would have continued and then concluded the series' narrative. But in a 2001 interview, he said that the Twin Peaks franchise is "dead as a doornail."[41] In 2014, however, it was announced that the series would continue with Lynch involved.


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
Soundtrack album by Angelo Badalamenti
Released August 11, 1992 (1992-08-11)
Genre Jazz, ambient
Length 57:04
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch

The soundtrack to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was released on Warner Bros. Records on August 11, 1992.[42] It includes music by Angelo Badalamenti, who had composed and conducted the music on the television series and its original soundtrack.

In addition to his instrumental compositions, Fire Walk with Me‍ '​s soundtrack features vocal accompanient to Badalamenti's songs by jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott and dream pop singer Julee Cruise. Badalamenti performs vocals on "A Real Indication" and "The Black Dog Runs at Night", two songs by the Thought Gang, a musical project between Badalamenti and David Lynch. Lynch wrote the lyrics for several of the soundtrack's songs, including "Sycamore Trees", "Questions in a World of Blue", "A Real Indiction" and "The Black Dog Runs at Night", and was the soundtrack's producer alongside Badalamenti.[43]

Upon its release, Fire Walk with Me‍ '​s soundtrack charted in the United States, peaking at number 173 on the Billboard 200.[44] It was nominated for, and later received, the Best Music at the 1992 Saturn Awards[45] and Best Original Score at the Independent Spirit Awards.[46] In March 2011, British music publication NME placed Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me‍ '​s soundtrack at number 1 on their list of the 50 Best Film soundtracks Ever, describing it as "combining plangent beauty with a kind of clanking evil jazz, this is one of those endlessly evocative soundtracks that takes up residence in your subconscious and never leaves."[47]

Awards and nominations

Category — Recipient(s)
Independent Spirit Awards Best Original Score — Angelo Badalamenti[45]
Saturn Awards Best Music — Angelo Badalamenti[46]
Category — Nominee(s)
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or — David Lynch[48]
Independent Spirit Awards Best Female LeadSheryl Lee[45]
Saturn Awards Best Actress — Sheryl Lee
Best Horror FilmTwin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
Best Supporting ActorRay Wise
Best Writing — David Lynch and Robert Engels[49]


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