Say, I'm not sure if anyone ever made this connection but reading about Lovecraft's work and mythos lately (without actually having read one of his books, as of yet), it struck me how a lot of the supernatural horror elements underlying Twin Peaks harken back to the same themes Lovecraft used in his fiction.
Especially the idea of a small American town being threatened by or occasionally interacting with horrors from other dimensions seems highly similar to Twin Peaks. Here's a section from Wikipedia on Lovecraft's idea of the "Dreamlands":
"To reach the Dreamlands, a sleeper must find an unusual stairway in a conventional dream and walk down the Seventy Steps of Light Slumber to face the judgment of powerful gatekeepers named Nasht and Kaman-Tha. If judged worthy (that is, able to survive the dangers of the Dreamlands), the dreamer is allowed to descend the Seven Hundred Steps of Deeper Slumber and emerges in the Enchanted Wood. When entering the Dreamlands this way, the person leaves his or her physical body safely in the waking world. If the dreamer is killed during his or her travels, the person's corporeal body will suffer only a shock. Sometimes, however, this can be fatal — dream death of this kind makes return to the Dreamlands impossible. Waking up causes a person's dream self to disappear; thus the individual may have difficulty recalling anything learned or experienced while asleep (similar to conventional dreaming). A dreamer who dies in the real world while his dream self is still alive may have the option of retiring to the Dreamlands for the remainder of his dream self's "life."
The Dreamlands can be entered in other ways, including physically. This usually requires passing through very dangerous areas of both the waking world and the Dreamlands. Consequently, real death becomes a risk. However, the visitor does receive the prolonged lifespan of a native of the Dreamlands, so the traveller's time there is no longer limited to the duration of a night's sleep on earth.
Time flows at a different rate in the Dreamlands — each hour on earth represents a week or more there. Consequently, a traveller can spend months in the Dreamlands during a single night's sleep on earth. Fortunately for dreamers, inhabitants of the Dreamlands are either long-lived or immortal, provided they avoid injury or disease.
Despite its accelerated time, the Dreamlands rarely experiences change. Its geography, politics, and population remain fairly static. Dreamers, however, can exert great change over the topography, such as by creating entire cities with accompanying populations.
The Dreamlands has its own pantheon known as the Great Ones or the gods of Earth, which resemble gods of Greek or Roman mythology in that ordinary humans can wound, deceive, and seduce them. They are evidently presided over by some aspect of Nyarlathotep, the avatar of the Outer Gods. Otherwise, the rest of the deities of the mythos, who figure prominently in Lovecraft's other writings (such as the Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods), have little interest in or influence over the Dreamlands."
Interesting, isn't it? I wonder if Lynch ever read any Lovecraft stories.
There's a good chance he has been strongly influenced by Lovecraft in some way or another. He seems to try and hide a lot of his influences. I mean Lovecraft has massively influenced the world of horror and fantasy, but there might just be a direct influence their.
before you start posting on lovecraft, you really sould read him, sourdust. theres much more than than the theme of normalcy and familiarity threatened by or implied by or invaded by evil(i.e. things we dont understand, things that are alien to us, what we call our monsters(most of which are internally made, as we know))and contextualizes the idea which lynch embodies in film so well. which leads to his other major themes about the divided self, self against itself, and the wholly integrated divided self, one that draws power from difference, but cannot hold oneself together. these traits are found in both artists' work. identity is fluid and and even deliberately obtuse in lynch's films, and certain protagonists of lovecraft are just as distancted from the reality of others close to them, as to almost not be of this world. many times they werent. i dont doubt lynch or frost may have read him, hell, theres supposed satantic and occult belief systems that are taken difectly from lovecraft's book. but is TP indebted? they werent aping the stories, but the moods. its a shame we have to resort to using authors to evoke our complicated emtions or situation
And though I can appreciate Lovecraft, I associate him with the wilds of New England, specifically the ocean. And he was allegedly a huge racist. Beyond the vague thematic ideas JFK posited as parallel, I would only concede that Lovecraft made horror what it is today, permeating all dark fantasy, and Twin Peaks has the same roots in Gothic fiction/film.
The threatening of the safety of small towns is a common theme among scifi and horror films. It's the whole us and them concept. Lynch has never mentioned Lovecraft as an influence to my knowledge nor have I read any of his works. I see alot of Hitchcock elements in Twin Peaks myself.
QUOTE:The threatening of the safety of small towns is a common theme among scifi and horror films.
Well, yes but these aren't mere aliens or a monster lurking in the woods. It's a Tibetan cult residing in an extradimensional realm where ordinary people are driven insane.
Anyway, a volume of collected Lovecraft stories is coming my way. More evidence (either for or against) to be presented soon! I'm not saying Lynch was definitely influenced by Lovecraft, I just see some Lovecraftian themes here...
I posted a thread a while back on the Arkham Horror (a Lovecraftian game) forum where people were asking for recommendations for Lovecraftian films - I recommended Twin Peaks. I've always been a big fan of Lynch and Lovecraft and really think Lynch must have had some exposure to him. The main connection, I feel, is Lynch's depiction of a kind of oppressive dread - there's that quote about his filmic worlds feeling one step away removed from nightmare. It's not unique to Lovecraft but he is one of the biggest names in it and so many roads lead back to him.