Growing Up in Twin Peaks
I must have been about 11 or 12 when Twin Peaks went on the air. My family was pretty boring and very much routine based. So, every night at 6pm dinner was ready on TV trays in the living room so my stepfather could watch the news while eating and reading the paper. Then at 7pm Entertainment Tonight with John Tesh and Mary Hart came on. This was my life Monday through Friday.
I would sit quietly doing whatever it was I was doing, hoping John and Mary would talk about something that related to me, which did happen, but not very often. Then I heard one of the strangest things I ever heard. “I think the log did it.” I remember looking up from whatever I was doing being really confused. I knew they were talking about some show. They were interviewing people on the street and asking them a question, according to Mary Hart it was The Question on Everybody’s Mind… Who killed Laura Palmer?
I didn’t understand how a log could commit murder. The person seemed very set in their belief. I turned to look at my folks and they were chuckling on the couch. Then when the reporter on the street went back to John and Mary, they were chuckling too and one of them said, “I think they’re onto something there.”
What the hell was going on? Was I the only sane person in the room? How the hell could a log murder someone. I asked my parents what the that meant and they very nonchalantly explained that there was a woman on the show who talked to a log that she carried around with her all the time. They said it like it was no big deal. My parents were not like this. They watched 48 Hours and 60 Minutes. The craziest they got was Murphy Brown and even that caused uproars of anger throughout the house when it was on.
I told them I wanted to watch this Twin Peaks thing and they said absolutely not before I even finished asking. Of course, this made me want to watch it even more. My stepfather watched it without my mom but he talked her into watching an episode of it. So with both of my parents downstairs on the couch, they couldn’t know that I was sitting on the landing of the stairs, not watching, but listening! I heard my first episode of Twin Peaks and was hooked. I would try to sneak my head around the corner to see a face every once in a while but it far too risky.
For weeks, going to the grocery store with my mom was murder. We would get to the checkout line and I would see all these different magazines and tabloids with Laura Palmer on them or Agent Cooper. It was driving me crazy. That lasted until Fire Walk With Me came out on video. I grabbed it and ran home. I waited until everyone was asleep, and put it on.
BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!
I was so horrified. Everything about it scared me. From Lil, to the man asking twice if they were asking about that poor girl who was murdered, to flickering lights, to David Bowie, to ‘this would look good on your wall’ to BOB. Everything in that scared the crap out of me. Laura’s face when it changed was horrible. Backwards moving anything was too much. Even at the end, while I sat there in my pissed pants, and spent far too long on a smiling face, I thought for sure it was a set up.
I couldn’t sleep. I thought I had done something bad, something wrong. One by one, I showed it to my friends. Watched it over and over. Thought for sure that there were deeper meanings.
Once I found out that some local video stores had the show, I was constantly tracking them all down. I had accounts at four different video stores so I could watch the series. That was a pain in the ass. Then the next amazing thing in my life happened… the Season 1 DVD.
I was anti DVD’s until this happened. There was BONUS features! Are you kidding me?!? I was I hog heaven. My friend bought it and then about a week later needed money and I convoked him to sell to Music Plus and then I went in there and bought it for $10 bucks under retail (my friend wouldn’t sell it to me). I then met a large scary man behind the shopping center selling DVD players out of the back of his truck. $10, score!
The next few weeks were a blur of my life. That DVD set changed me.
Around that time, I started putting together a story I was working on that had elements of Twin Peaks in it. I was afraid that it was too Twin Peaks or Lynchian. So I tried to expand my search. The Prisoner was first on my hit list. That show blew me away but it didn’t have the same ‘canon’ feel as Twin Peaks did for me. I even got hooked on a reality show that I felt was very close to Twin Peaks called Murder in Small Town X and then much later found out that Robert Engels was a writer on that. Show after show I would watch and nothing would feel right to me.
As the years went on, more shows came and went that would come out saying they were ‘the next Twin Peaks’ and it never really worked for me. When Lost came out, I felt that I was getting close to something that might be what I want! By this time in my life, I had been already working in the film industry and as much as I liked Lost, I felt that they never really knew where they were going with it. The biggest problem on Lost was that if they communicated with each other, it seemed like 90% of their problems would go away. They also relied too much on flashbacks as far as I was concerned. That turned into the new hot thing and then every show was doing it. That drove me crazy.
The difference with Twin Peaks was that, it didn’t really matter if everyone communicated or not, something was out in those woods. Something that no one understood. Just like Harry said to Cooper, it’s the price they pay for living there, and they don’t mind it one bit.
One of the most striking things for me with Twin Peaks is the whole duality of man thing it has going for it. Every single character on that show was given the opportunity to do something great and do something horrible. Things that everyone goes through. A lot of shows do this too, mainly soap operas and WWE, but for some reason, they just do it better in Twin Peaks. Lynch characters are different than any characters out there. They aren’t tested by executives or focus groups, they are real people it seems. That is something that most television misses.
As I went back into writing my Twin Peaks type story, years would go by. One because I was making around 7-10 films a year. I just didn’t have time to work on it, but the characters were always doing something in the back of my head. After making films for about 7 years, one thing started to pull on my heart. I was making all these characters and creating all of these places and then I would make the movie and they were done. They had to go back into the farthest part of my brain and never come back out.
I started to really feel guilty. I felt that I owed it to my characters to watch them grow old, make mistakes, celebrate victories, etc. But most of my characters were now tied up with other companies or locked away in distribution hell where I had no control of when they would come out or not come out.
I decided that I would take my Twin Peaks type of show, that was now called Black Star Canyon (named after a place near where I grew up in Orange County, California that was surrounded by weird legends that I always heard while I was a kid) and I would make it a serialized book series. I have had all the story arcs down on most of the characters for years. This would be a fun thing for me.
Once people started to hear about it, some producers I worked with tried to set up meetings with me and other producers and networks. I really wanted to put this out though and get a fan base for it before handing it over willy-nilly and have it turned into something it should never have been. So I dragged my heels with those and finally was able to put out the first episode on Christmas 2013.
I did a free promotion and pushed the hell out of it. Then every week a new episode would come out. I did that for 5 weeks and then put out the Complete First Season as a novel. It worked out great and I got a ton of super positive response for it. It was great to see people falling into like like they would a TV show. Every week the next episode would get eaten up by my readers and the cliffhangers would have them sending me hate mail then the next episode would come out and they would write me fan mail! It was amazing for me to be able to ride that with people. It was a totally new experience.
For those of you that don’t know, Black Star Canyon is about an investigation of a mysterious young woman who had been murdered and found by the mayor. The detectives on the case start unraveling dark secrets about almost everyone in town and each time they do it seems that another person either goes missing or ends up dead. The surreal and otherworldly elements play hard in each episode. It’s cliffhanger after cliffhanger.
The thing that I want Black Star Canyon to be, is the fun, quirky small town feel of the Twin Peaks television show mixed heavily with strange unnerving elements of FWWM. The show had moments of this but they were way to limited and far between each other. I think now with the ground that has been broken by shows like Lost, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, I might have a pretty good chance of getting this on television very close to the way I envision it.
I had more meetings with TV people and after knowing not to hold my breath, I finally decided to go ahead with Season 2. Season 2 starts Sunday, June 1st. We are having a live launch party on Facebook all day with previews, games, giveaways, contest, reveals and much, much more. You can RSVP to the event here
To keep in fashion with Twin Peaks, if you get the first episode on launch day (for only .99 by the way), you will also get a bonus book called Welcome to Black Star Canyon: Tour Guide of the Town along with it. This fictional, non-fiction book is ‘written’ by town historian Earnest Wilson and has facts and secrets about the town.
Season 1 is on sale now for $2.99 and the first episode you can get for free to try out at amazon, iTunes, kobo or at my site, www.creepersin.com. We are also getting paperbacks for those of you who prefer those to ebooks and they will be available next week.
I was also going to tell you the story about when I put together a Lynch hunt and tracked him down in a basement at the University of Oregon! Maybe the guys will have me back to share that tale.
I really want to thank the amazing Red Room Podcast for letting me share with you here. If you ever want to take a vacation from Twin Peaks, I hear Black Star Canyon is nice this time of year.
Creep Creepersin is an author of over 25 books, a filmmaker of over 50 titles and the frontman of the horror punk / goth rock band Creepersin. He is a homeschooling father and lives in North Hollywood, California.
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