Twin Peaks - The Pilot Episode (1990) (Import)

This is the pilot episode of the Emmy-winning prime-time soap created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. It details the discovery of murder victim Laura Palmer's body, the beginning of the investigation run by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, and begins several dozen story arcs. It has also never been released to video in the United States.

One of the methods used by Lynch and Frost to guarantee their autonomy in this experiment was to procure financial backing in Europe, with the stipulation that the pilot episode be released theatrically on the continent. To that end, Lynch crafted a bizarre ending that attempted to tie up Palmer's murder case in three minutes or so (much of the strange footage found its way into the "Cooper's Dream" segment of Episode 03). It is this theatrical version that was released to video in the States. The original broadcast version has remained just that: seen only on ABC or the Bravo cable channel.

In light of the release of the First Season Box Set, this remains particularly puzzling, as the broadcast version remains in the limbo of rights struggles - though this import is becoming so pervasively marketed, it seems only a matter of time until somebody realizes they are losing money, and America finally sees its own domestic release, hopefully done with the same care as the Artisan Box Set.

The film is in very good shape for the most part. There is some occasional artifacting and ghosting, but by and large the colors are stable and the blacks strong, and the picture never less than clear and watchable. The audio, though, is where this pressing runs into trouble. Likely taken from a PAL source tape, there is an unwelcome amount of phasing in the high end of the sound spectrum, and the audio is slightly speeded up - especially noticeable in Kyle MacLachlan's lines, for some reason.

But what are you going to do? It's the only game in town at the moment, and it at least looks great. Turn on the English subtitles and make a drinking game out of counting misspellings, but only if you want alcohol poisoning.

There are trailers for One Against The Wind, Class Cruise, Live Nude Girls, and Witchboard 2: The Devil's Doorway. Please stay in an orderly line as you rush to the video store to rent them.

Dr. Freex, 4/14/2002