Gregg Araki Cites the ‘Visionary Insanity’ of ‘Twin Peaks’ as His Biggest Filmmaking Inspiration

From its inception as a primetime soap opera that captivated America with a groundbreaking serialized format to its return as a misunderstood (and subsequently reappraised) movie to its epic coda in the form of one of the most acclaimed limited series of all time, the legacy of “Twin Peaks” has only grown over the past 30 years. David Lynch’s story of Laura Palmer’s murder and its traumatic ripple effects on her small logging town is regarded by many as the auteur’s finest work, condensing many of the themes and motifs that he spent his career exploring into a singular masterpiece.

Gregg Araki certainly thinks so. In a new interview with Deadline, the “Doom Generation” director was asked to name a movie that inspired him to pursue a career in filmmaking. He singled out the formula-shattering “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” as his favorite David Lynch movie, though he heaped praise on the entire series. In addition to being a fan of the idiosyncratic ABC show, Araki explained that its impact on pop culture made it seem possible to do subversive work in mainstream spaces.

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“‘Fire Walk with Me’ is my favorite David Lynch film. I think it’s so underrated and I just think it’s a masterpiece,” Araki said. “But ‘Twin Peaks,’ also, if you’re gonna expand [the question] into series, was so influential to me in the sense that ‘this was on network TV.’ This visionary insanity was coming over the airwaves, and I remember that just being such a cultural zeitgeist moment.”

Araki’s admiration for Lynch doesn’t end with “Twin Peaks.” The filmmaker explained that Lynch’s distinct aesthetic and lifelong commitment to pursuing creative independence shaped the way he approached his own artistic career from both a stylistic and business standpoint.

“Just in general, Lynch and his sensibility, just being so visionary and subversive and artistic and crazy, marching to his own drum and doing his own thing, was so, so influential on me as a young filmmaker,” he said. “Particularly his interest in surrealism and stylized reality is definitely kind of a trademark of my own movies.”

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