Random Creepy Scene #767: Fire Walk With Me

Fire Walk With Me marked David Lynch’s return to his beloved Twin Peaks; albeit a return lovers of the series didn’t quite expect. Not only was it a prequel, charting the bleak and disturbing last seven days of Laura Palmer’s life, but it also marked a drastic shift in tone that left many fans out in the cold. Gone were the cherry pies and damn fine coffees, and in their place was a dark tale of domestic abuse, incest and what lurks in the sick, twisted underbelly of small town America.

As it serves as an exploration of poor Laura’s tragic demise, it isn’t surprising that Fire Walk With Me exhibits some of the most poignant, creepy and nightmarishly bizarre moments and imagery from Lynch’s work to date. All set to the strains of one of Angelo Badalamenti’s most evocative and haunting scores yet.

We follow Laura (Sheryl Lee) as she descends into an ever hopeless spiral of drugs, prostitution and ritualistic abuse at the hands of those she’s closest to. Throughout the course of the film Lynch tentatively paints a hopelessly romantic, relentlessly unsettling and doomfully tragic portrait of a vulnerable young woman who, in her darkest hours, feels she has no one to turn to in the place she calls home…

"I just know I'm going to get lost in those woods again, tonight."

The film is full of typically Lynchian moments and dream-like imagery. However, one of the most disturbing and creepy moments comes courtesy of the scene in which Laura returns home after entrusting her diary to her confidante, reclusive agoraphobic Harold Smith, and having a strange encounter with Mrs. Tremond/Chalfont and her grandson, who whispers cryptically to Laura that "the man behind the mask is looking for the book with the pages torn out. He is going towards the hiding place."

As Laura gingerly makes her way upstairs to her bedroom, the silence in her house is deafening. Only the whirring of a ceiling fan breaks the stifling quiet, and along with it comes an air of foreboding impossible to ignore. Opening her door slowly, Laura peeks into her room and is horrified to discover Bob – the filthy molester who visits her in her dreams – emerging from behind her bureau… The sight of this dirty, ravenous pervert in the supposedly safe sanctuary and domesticity of Laura's home is utterly unforgettable.

As fans know, this is also the moment when Laura soon realises who Bob really is, and that her darkest moments in life are yet to come…

Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see
Once chants out between two worlds:
Fire, walk with me…


An amazing moment from a truly amazing and incredibly under appreciated film.
Matthew Coniam said…
Yeah, terrifying scene, amazing film.
Went to see it three days in a row on release. I was a student living in Greenwich, and would get the underground to a cinema, now gone I think, in Tottenham Court Road every day. Just couldn't stop watching it.

Are you Peaks-buff enough to have spotted what, so far as I can see, is the one major continuity lapse in terms of the 'subsequent' plot as developed in the earlier series?
(I'm assuming this is a safe house for Peaks ultra-nerdishness...)
James said…
This is indeed a safe house for Peaks ultra-nerdishness – in fact I would actively encourage it! It has been ages since I’ve watched the series though – despite my best efforts, my housemate refuses to indulge. I may have to use force.
I seem to recall a couple of little continuity discrepancies between the film and the series. Are you talking about the note? Or something to do with Dale and the Lodge? Please – let’s discuss!
Matthew Coniam said…
You must tell me about the note!

It's been a long time since I've seen it too, but it struck me at the time that in that (fantastic) scene where one-armed Mike pulls up alongside Leland and Laura in his car, and in all his behaviour thereafter, including at the fatal train car itself, he clearly knows that Bob is operating through Leland.
But after her death, in the series, he forgets this, and spends about twenty episodes trying to work it out...
James said…
Well, it's been a while since I've see it too - but I seem to recall some issue with the note found in the train carriage where BOB took Laura and Ronette. Was it also in the series? Damn my wine-soiled memory.
I had completely forgot about that scene involving Mike, too. But you're right - in the series he doesn't seem aware of who Bob is...

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