Shana's Halloween Watch-A-Thon: When Not Watching Twin Peaks


So, I disappeared into that k-hole (does that make me sound old yet) that is Twin Peaks for awhile and apparently that stopped my writing full stop. Things I have watched since we last talked, you can just imagine Twin Peaks is gettting watched in the background the majority of the time:

Oct 13: Robocop w/Kit
I know this doesn't really count as a Halloween movie but it's got all the makings of a great costume... or like dozens of great costumes. Go check out the show to hear what I have to say about Robocop. (Whenever Kit gets around to posting it, hint, hint.) Like literally, from beginning to end. Kit is far too kind and laughs at all the silly things I say but I understand how dear this satirical action hero is to Kit; with good reason.
Oct 14-15: Stranger Things TBD w/Kit
I rewatched Stranger Things, with new criticism in mind, and I quickly felll in love with it all over again. Kit and I plan to podcast this in the nearish future so I won't go into much detail so instead I'm writing a short love letter to Winona Ryder.
Dear Ms. Ryder,
Thank you for representing so many women I know with your vulnerable tenacity and unwillingness to fake sanity. Some are taking notice to it now for the first time but to those of us girls who have always recognized their strange and unusual selves in the characters you brought to life, who learned to use our sensitivity as a weapon of radical self ownership, and who would definitely take their kids to go see the horror movies and learn the weird geeky things those we care about love. 
Femme love from Michigan
...and from me in general for like the last couple decades
Oct 16: 1931 Frankenstein at Alamo
It was an absolute delight to get to see the glory of this classic in a theater. I'm familiar with the Karloff performance as character but had never seen the movie from beginning to end. It was more than worth it and I was happy to have waited to see it in large scale. The theatrical production style of early movies still feels larger than life. The horror of humanity is still visceral and the fashion of a wealthy family's wedding from this period is decadent. I especially loved the bride's gown and the dramatic veil that she becomes wrapped up in during her fight with the monster. The iconic ending images of the man carrying the body of his dead daughter into town; the monster going down in a burning windmill are tragic but so has been the treatment of the monster. Epic for all the reasons classics are epic.
Oct 17: Glitch (first few episodes)
I was completely surprised by this Netflix series, a show set in the small Austrailian town of Yooroona, where a small group of dead from across time come back to life. They're not zombies but there's a really interesting interplay of classic undead tropes, the history of the town, and the personal history of the individuals as we get flashbacks to fill in the amnesia they all woke up with. I don't want to give any spoilers because this show is really about the writing and performances. Also, when the racist dude (because 1800s) calls the brown kid a "native," the kid basically gets to tell him to fuck off. I'm especially enamoured with the performance of Emma Booth, so expect a more thorough response when I've actually finished watching it.
Oct 18-19: Finishing Twin Peaks
I posted to Facebook this weekend that I was having a hard time finishing Twin Peaks and mostly received comments about how the pacing slows down and lags at the end. I was startled that nobody actually commented on what *was* giving me so much trouble. David Duchovny's "cross dressing" detective is so transphobic, the performance is so cringeworthy, that my stomach hurt. It hurt enough that the casual misogyny and Fifty Shades level bad kink got harder to overlook. So did the freakish presentation of disabled characters and the romanticized view abused women. 
What was edgy when it first aired is now almost criminally naive. I say this as someone who really appreciates how women can be shown to use their sexuality as a source of agency and power, the majority of the women in this movie are really very young. Laura Palmer and her friend's exploration of their sexuality is a dark descent into a dangerous mystery. And then it gets supernatural. How did I go this long, knowing basically the whole story before having watched it, and not know the amount of supernatural in this? I understand why people I know who saw this when they were younger appreciate the story, its imagery and characters, and I'll probably write up a whole something eventually so that we can talk about the music of Mr. Badalamenti because OMG! I love MacLlachlan's performance of the completely non-judgemental dreamy detective, I genuinely love some of the characters but I just was not impressed with where it went.   Sorry (not sorry) folx, I missed out on liking this.
Oct 19: The Uninvited/The 13th
I haven't finished it yet because fibro fog is a real thing folx but so far it's exactly what you'd think it was based on the trailer/movie poster/netflix images. Also, because Daniel has been watching The 13th and so, I have been watching it as well. The horror of our own history is masterfully told and I don't think I'll be returning to horror fiction afterwards.
Looking forward to watching the shiny pop horror back over and catching up on my fun Halloween watch. Also, I've started my Lydia Deetz costume for Halloween. 


SpaceSquid 1 year, 1 month ago

So glad I skipped the Lynch-less episodes when I finally got round to season 2 last year. I've seen Duchovny's first scene in the show from else, though, and yeah: yikes.

(I didn't immediately clock that the Alamo was where you'd seen Frankenstein and briefly dared hope you were referring to a film where Victor himself ended up in Texas. I am now a little bit sad that such a thing doesn't exist).

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Michael 1 year, 1 month ago

I was relatively okay with Duchovny's character mainly for how naturalistically and low-key he played the role and Cooper's instant acceptance of his old friend's new identity. That said, I am not a trans person, it's abundantly clear that the writers probably did not know the first thing about LGBT people, and David Duchovny is also very much not a trans person, so I can't really blame anyone for being incredibly uncomfortable with the character.

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Jarl 1 year, 1 month ago

Basically how I feel about it, also as a cis male who doesn't really have a properly informed opinion. A big part of the problem, visible right away, seems to be that they can't decide if Denise is a gay transwoman or a straight male transvestite, probably because the difference wasn't well understood in pop culture of the time.

My opinion is that Denise is actually Fox Mulder, rather than just appearing to be him in all but name and gender identity, and the unevenness of the portrayal is thus Fox's natural personality surfacing and making him break character.

Speaking of, according to DD, Denise is in season 3, so we'll see how she turns out. Can't wait.

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Jarl 1 year, 1 month ago

Love the Lydia cosplay(?), btw. I loved that movie as a kid, really made me fall in love with her as a performer.

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Anton B 1 year, 1 month ago

So the problem is the refusal to label Denise as either 'straight male transvestite' or 'Gay transwoman'? I'm sorry, to my eyes 'not labelling' is not a problem. Her background and gender identity decisions are clearly described by the character herself within minutes of her arrival onscreen. Most of the main characters (at least the ones we generally sympathise with) accept her immediately.

No Denise is not "actually Fox Mulder, rather than just appearing to be him in all but name and gender identity" How could that be the case? The character of Denise predates the X Files so surely, even if you want to make that argument, you should be saying Fox Mulder is actually Denise. It's incredibly insulting to an actor to suggest they are effectively "just playing themselves". Implying both lack of talent and research. Not an accusation anyone could fairly level at Duchovny. I'm assuming you don't actually know the actor personally so how would you know that anyway? As a dramaturge I'm not sure how using aspects of one's own persona to find a character is unacceptable.

Shana I love your writing and your podcasts but on this occasion I'd like some chapter and verse on exactly why Duchovney's portrayal was 'cringeworthy' and 'made your stomach hurt'. Please understand I'm not criticising, I ask out of general interest and hoping for some clarification as I found his performance sensitive and understated. If it's the writing of the character you object to rather than the performance perhaps you could make clear why.

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Kiki Basco 1 year, 1 month ago

Duchovny doesn't like ham it up or anything, but basically every one of Denise's scenes has a piece of dialogue that amounts to "jsyk i'm a guy lol." There's a scene in, uh, "Masked Ball" I think? Where the camera lingers on this sexy red high heel... and then we pan up and see (shock, gasp) it belongs to David Duchovny! Which is kind of insulting regardless of whether Denise is transgender or a crossdresser.

And people still conflate the two to this day-- witness the media's labeling Conchita Wurst's Eurovision performance as a watershed moment for the trans community, or the frankly baffling decision to have Laverne Cox play Frank N. Furter in last week's trainwreck television production of "Rocky Horror."

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Anton B 1 year, 1 month ago

"the camera lingers on this sexy red high heel... and then we pan up and see (shock, gasp) it belongs to David Duchovny!"

No. Please explain how that shot is different from (for example) an earlier scene where the camera lingers on some black patent strap over shoes and then we pan up to see it's Audrey Horne. The "shock, gasp" is totally your own own addition. Neither myself as viewer or any of the characters in that scene had that reaction. The only reveal is a perfectly normal one of "Oh It's Denise"

Your Eurovision example depends,totally on whether Conchita wished to be perceived that way. I have no idea. She certainly seemed to relish the publicity.

I didn't know about or see the Rocky Horror Show performance you cite so I can't comment.

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Jarl 1 year, 1 month ago

My satirically (dirty word warning) Watsonian reading of Denise was that any inconsistencies in her identity were the result of her being an uneven portrayal by Fox Mulder, not by David Duchovny. I don't literally think Fox Mulder and Denise Bryson are actually the same fictional character and nor did I wish to imply it was my true, actual belief. At most it's just an amusing mental game I like to play when watching the Denise episodes, or certain episodes of the X-Files.

And I feel the camera treats Denise as much of an object of glamour (which I would here define as separate from "desire", at least in Twin Peaks) as it does most of the other non-Sarah Palmer females in the cast, with the exception of when she goes boymode for the sting. Again, though, that's just my unnecessary and unqualified opinion as a cis male.

I like Denise a lot, I guess is what I'm saying.

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Anton B 1 year, 1 month ago

Okay, I get what you were saying now. That you "like Denise a lot" puts a different complexion on it. I apologise for misinterpreting you. My hackles as a dramaturge were raised on behalf of Duchovny who I think gives,an impressively understated performance.

You posit a cute take on the character, however in drama and literary criticism it's often futile to ascribe motivations or inner thought processes to fictional characters who have no life outside of the author's and the performer who interprets the text's intention, which we can never really know.

I think I just destroyed Fanfic. Lol.
My job here is done.

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Jarl 1 year ago

Fictional characters exist as much in our heads as they do the heads of the creators directly responsible for them. And Alan Moore said that was good enough, so I win!

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