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The Reel Alternative Special Edition: Halloween Streaming Recommendations

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Photo credit: The Communicator Archives

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Written by: Zachary D. ElickOctober 26, 2016

‘Twin Peaks’: Seasons 1 & 2 (1990-1991) — 

David Lynch’s iconic television series “Twin Peaks” is just as eerie and compelling today as it was when it became a critical and commercial phenomenon during its short-lived run on ABC in the early 1990s. Coincidentally, the co-creators of the series, Lynch and Mark Foster, have recently announced it will be returning for a limited run on Showtime sometime in 2017.

Well-stocked with dark humor and dreamlike atmosphere, “Twin Peaks” centers on the murder investigation of a popular high school student, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), in a small fictional town of the same name. Leading the inquiry is the eccentric and benevolent FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan), who remains one of the most memorable television or film characters of all time.

As the series progresses, Cooper, along with the audience, slowly uncovers many of Twin Peaks’ secrets, the most disturbing being the sordid double life Palmer lived before it was violently put to an end.

With its multiple secret romances and interlocking storylines, “Twin Peaks” may seem uncomfortably close to a traditional soap opera. Yet, Twin peaks is actually a perversion of that format. Lynch’s directing, augmented by Angelo Badalamenti’s pulsating and hypnotic score, maintains a sense of unease that keeps viewers on edge and, at times, rattles them to their core.

Unfortunately, about midway through its second season, the series starts to dip in quality; however, Twin Peaks ends on a high note with a mind-bending final episode.

‘Trollhunter’ (2010)

“Trollhunter” is a “found footage” mockumentary about a group of college students following around a mysterious hunter, Hans (Otto Jesperson), working on top-secret assignments in the Norwegian landscape.

The faux-documentary filming technique works very well for “Trollhunter,” adding tension to several scenes. While the film is not exactly scary, it has some entertaining special effects that any fan of monster movies would appreciate.

Just like Twin Peaks, the film puts viewers in the middle of a seemingly innocuous situation that gets weirder as the film goes on, augmented by a healthy dose of dark humor. Yet, instead of exploring the dark side of human nature, as Twin Peaks did, “Trollhunter” is happy to mock the absurdity of overreaching bureaucracies.

“Trollhunter” is a must-see for fans of wry takes on old folk tales and myths.

Non-streaming Recommendations: 

David Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr” (2001) is every bit as mysterious and alluring as Twin Peaks, yet all encased in a 147-minute feature.

“Paranormal Activity” (2007) is another example of the “found footage” genre done well.