Here’s the deal:
I don’t like many of David Lynch’s films, but I’m glad he exists. Of his filmed work, I really appreciate his handling of The Elephant Man story/play and I love the twisted and poetic horror that is Eraserhead, but much of the rest of his work I find too self-indulgent to enjoy. But damn if the guy isn’t interesting.
With news of a Twin Peaks revival happening, Lynch is back in the zeitgeist, ready to fill our lives with more backward-talking dreams and dancing unicorns. I wish him well on the project and I hope it can “repair” Twin Peaks in a way. Much like Deadwood, Twin Peaks always felt like an incomplete piece of art. Though I know Lynch isn’t known for putting pretty bows on his work (unless those bows are tied around a dead gorilla’s head or something), I’ve always felt Twin Peaks could benefit from a revisiting and a planned exit.
So while he’s not my favorite director, I greatly respect his artistic vision and try to watch anything he works on, always hoping for it to click. This is how I found Rabbits.
Rabbits was an online series Lynch released on his website in the early 2000s. It presents a world in which three anthropomorphic rabbits interact on a sitcom-style set, while an ominous score, rain, demonic voices and burning holes create an unsettling ambiance. Also, because this is David Lynch, nothing the rabbits say makes sense, at least as far as conversations go.
Each will say a sentence or two, like “Do not forget that today is Friday” or “I have heard those things being said before.” These statements never directly link to any others, and often long gaps will fall between the characters’ dialogue.
In addition to this, a laugh track will occasionally respond to a statement as though it were a punchline in a bad sitcom, and this same unseen audience will cheer wildly when characters enter a room. What Lynch created was not only a fitting satire of the emptiness of many sitcoms, but also his own “horror sitcom” by using those (already) bizarre devices in a much more uncomfortable way.
Lynch later incorporated portions of these episodes into his film Inland Empire, but friends and I discovered the show in the only way appropriate: in a dank college dorm room through Limewire (it was a simpler time). Thoroughly creeped out by the episodes, we all lost our minds when the dorm phone rang (an odd occurrence in itself) at the same moment one rang in the show. We picked it up despite being sure David Lynch was calling to tell us of the moment of our deaths (he didn’t).
Like most of Lynch’s work, Rabbits isn’t for everyone, but it’s a pretty fascinating experiment nonetheless. For your Halloween viewing this month, I encourage you to turn off the lights and let David Lynch tell you his ghost story.
But seriously, David Lynch is from another planet.