Inspiring filmmakers across the globe in stories such as Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead and many more, the legacy of experimental pioneer David Lynch is a truly remarkable one. Becoming a cultural phenomenon in the early ’90s, Twin Peaks would have perhaps the largest impact of any of his projects, changing the landscape of television forever.
Twin Peaks became a mystery that embroiled the whole of popular culture throughout the ’90s, so much so that the series even broke Japan and captured the imagination of thousands with the simple premise ‘who killed Laura Palmer?’. It’s no understatement to say the seismic popularity was unprecedented for television. Up until this point, it was viewed as the inferior, lowbrow cousin of filmmaking. While cinema was universinally acknowledged as art, in comparison, television was seen as mere pop culture fodder.
Creating an idea of a wider, more elaborate universe is, of course, a concept that is now regularly utilised in contemporary pop culture, with several platforms including films, television programmes and online content, each feeding into a singular ‘franchise’. Yet, this was something that David Lynch pioneered, creating a plethora of content for fans to dissect.
Such fans included actors and filmmakers too. However, with Danish provocateur Lars von Trier commenting, “I watched Twin Peaks on TV and I was thrilled,” in a behind the scenes documentary from The Kingdom, a Danish mini-series created by the director in 1994.
In a separate interview, von Trier elaborated on his love of the series, explaining, “David Lynch cheated a little, we were all knocked over by the first Twin Peaks. I thought, ‘Damn, this is good!'”.
Detailing just why he loves the series so much, he stated, “It’s based on the assumption, which I didn’t think about – that you expect all these peculiar things – at the end will lead to a greater meaning. He never intended that. That’s not his approach, I know that. The reason you’re impressed like that – is that you think this is – some of the best that’s ever been made”.
As he concludes, he jokingly asserts, “the funniest thing is to tease – and not reach a conclusion. The problem is I’m too conscious of it, I contemplate too much, I don’t think Lynch does that,” von Trier laughs.
In fact, so inspired was the Dane, that in 1994 he released The Kingdom, a series that bared many similarities to Lynch’s classic, born from his own fear of the medical world, the director explains, “It’s hard to explain what this angst derives from…The insecurity and the feeling of your life being in other people’s hands is very unpleasant for me”.
Take a look at the trailer for Lars von Trier’s series, which is quickly gaining cult popularity.