David Lynch has also been painted as the the first cinematic surrealist of importance, as well as a man who shows viewers the ugly and dark sides of normalcy and the beauty of life in general. He shows audiences things that they care not to see beneath the surface, and in many cases images that can never be unseen.
He has had this wiring in his brain ever since he was very small. Lynch was a child who could look upon something as simple and somewhat majestic as a cherry tree only to see a black, oozing pitch with red ants scurrying around it, something that he was unsettled by. If you view his incredible documentary The Art Life you will also hear of another encounter of a naked, crying woman he had witnessed in his little suburban town.
Everything simple and quaint has a dark side, be it a location or frame of mind. A small suburb can sleep while the most violent and sexually deviant thugs roam the streets, or it can be rocked by the brutal murder of a young teenage girl, who in the eyes of its inhabitants is a perfect and pure beauty queen.
David Lynch has the ability to reveal the most terrifying truths and show us the blackness in the human psyche, as well as in humanity himself. In his own life he is a kind, highly intelligent, and by societal standards a man of importance when it comes to success and wealth. But just like his films, he goes against the grain of what is and acts, dresses, and works just like any working class joe.
He is Americana personified, a man who still believes in fine art, the smell of an old book, the feel of a brush going against a canvas, and the fragrant aroma of cup of coffee and a cigarette. He is a man with simple tastes with a creative capacity that could never be contained, and in many cases even transcends time and space as well as worlds.
David Lynch is a wellspring of deep thought, someone who always questions but is very comfortable in their spiritual center, and from a spectator viewpoint, a human being who appreciates life for what it is and has light in creativity, family, music, and meditiaton, in which he is a large advocate.
So when you hear about all of the positive energies within this iconic artist, there is also a cavernous pitch black section of his mind. A place where the supernatural run rampant, where the worst of man exists, and pure violence, pain, and evil dwells. It is the place where a family sits for a picture with smiles on their faces, while the loving wife conceals a blackened eye with cosmetics. It is the place where a police officer can be awarded for his civic duty with the knowledge of killing an innocent bystander for his color hidden from view. It is the seemingly good life with even better people, and the lie that this notion in some cases represents.
David Lynch has a beacon of light within him and an even darker ocean that seems to wash out onto the celluloid of his work.
This has been the case ever since the first time he has picked up a camera and created short films on a shoe string budget and his own ingenuity such as Six Men Getting Sick and The Alphabet. If you have not seen any of these artistic leaks from his earlier mind, Six Men is essentially an art installation involving fire and vomit, and The Alphabet involves a character called simply The Girl who recites the alphabet before hemorrhaging in her bed and violently dying. Lynch has stated that these ideas were mostly from a subconscious wave of his mind, and it may be that most of his brilliance is unintentional, almost as if his abilities are wide awake while his mind rests in another plane of conscious as he draws them out to the other side on whatever type of palate he is using at that moment.
In the same vein of subconscious, this man’s work is something that has no category and can never be caged into a genre except for one that was coined years ago: Lynchian.
But even though his work holds no baring to any particular trope, he has shown us many different sides of himself through a larger lens. He can craft a love story, he can also give fans some of the finest crime noir stories they have ever had the pleasure to crack as they watch and decipher every scene. All of this may be unintentional, just like the epic cinematic world that seems to be the outline of the return of Twin Peaks. But there are many characteristics to a larger whole to the works of David Lynch and has always been a common thread, almost as if everything connects when it comes to different styles and inspirations.
Building terror through image and sound has always been a mainstay in almost his entire catalog, which is why I am speaking of him today.
It has been a question for the ages for merely a handful of diehard viewers and entertainment professionals because no one wants to place him in a genre that is still deemed dirty and offensive to some. A genre that has been mainstream for decades but is still on the fringes of good taste, and to some also art and storytelling. But there is no getting away from this next fact.
Although it was probably something he never desired, or even something that he would honor himself, there is no question that David Lynch is a Master of Horror.
Horror is not always blood and guts, nudity and gratuitous and obscene as most casual viewers of cinema feel, there are many great pieces involving intricate story and direction when it comes to the genre. From James Whale with his emotional beats recreating the work of Mary Shelley for Universal to Wes Craven who unknowingly created a massive franchise as well as icon through a script and a character that was birthed from his fascination of Brugada Syndrome and Eastern religion.
The genre and many of its classic tales carry a deeper intellect and higher meaning which culminates into sheer terror and fear.
David Lynch’s work is no different simply because at its base form it incites the viewer to think and take a deep, and at many times unexplained journey only to scare the hell out of you during the ride of the senses he taken you on. His films open your mind’s eye and thrusts your cortex into high gear while showing you the world around us: its glorious and fruitful appearance and its putrid, rotted underbelly. There is good and evil in this life, it walks amongst us and makes us who we are, it all depends on the path we choose to take. Where there is deep affectations of the heart and warm cherry pie there is psychological conflicts, violence, and extreme pain. Lynch’s work can be the optimistic landscape from the mind of an adult Boy Scout or the portrait of Hell and fire itself. It can be the goodness of a man or his dark, twisted deeds held secret as he stalks the night.
David Lynch knows terror in all of its forms.
Which brings us to the next honor that should be bestowed this man in this genre, as well as his partner Mark Frost.
We have all spoken extensively about the eighth chapter of Twin Peaks. It has been deciphered ad nauseum and dissected like The Woodsmens’ supernatural surgery when it came to BadCoop, but this main note was never addressed.
There have been many surprises and pieces of work this year like The Void, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and Get Out. They received much praise and acclaim from not only many fans but critics.
But all of these projects share a common thread and that is they use tropes that have been seen before in their own way, which is effective and unique to a certain degree, but does not stand out.
They are film experiences that will always hold a place in terms of success and fandom but will never be something that not only shocked a world of viewers but shook them to their very core. An art installation where fans saw a dark landscape only to be dragged into another hole that was not easy to escape.
In one hour this tour de force not only presented a story that gave many nightmares and a picture they could not shake from their minds, it changed the entire twenty-five year world of a beloved series and a cult film which I think is a masterwork. There will never be anything like it again on television or film for that matter, and although I am highly onboard with upcoming films like IT I would be hardpressed to think we would see anything better this year.
It took people’s breath away, kept on many lights after its first viewing, and showed us all that the folly of man can truly result in death and suffering while creating a rift in the ethereal planes beyond.
Even though it is not technically a short film or a feature Twin Peaks Part 8 is the finest thing to happen in horror so far in 2017.
I always thought of Lynch and Frost as a wonderful collaborative team and I have always worshipped the films of Lynch himself, but this one hour not only left my mind reeling and plagued me as I slept, it made David a god on another level for me.
I have always had a deep admiration and love for many directors like Hooper, Carpenter, Bava, Garris, Craven, Kubrick, along with a massive list after. But Lynch and Frost not only crafted a nightmare together, they stepped into a realm of respect that is higher than anyone. David Lynch instantly became the king of the horror genre, a man who was so high on the mountaintop he could not be touched by other artists.
He became the one just as Laura Palmer is the one in the latest installment of the series. I am proof positive it was never his intention to be amongst the other deities of fear, there is no escaping it. He should be honored when these other names are mentioned or there is a special list detailing the many that made horror beloved by so many.
As I had stated before, because this is a badge of honor in itself and there is no shame in being a part of this world, David Lynch is undisputedly a Master of Horror.
He is an artist, a man with his own vision, a writer, a painter, an entrepreneur, and all of the many other things we can say about him.
But David Lynch is also a giant canister of nightmare fuel, a weaver of the bloodcurdling and the strange, and we should all be proud to include him in our fold when we honor all of those who gave us their own legendary glimpses into the darkness. Let us all who work in and love this genre start now.