I saw my first David Lynch film when I was 11. My dad brought home a laserdisc of this movie called Eraserhead and asked if I wanted to watch it with him. “it’s a movie by David Lynch,” he said, as if his 11 year old son would know what the fuck a David Lynch film was. Showing it to me was probably tantamount to child abuse. “Daddy, why does David Lynch make movies like that?” I asked him. “I don’t know. I think he’s disturbed.” I was too young to even know what ‘disturbed’ meant.
When I taught independent film at Ateneo I always made it a point to show Eraserhead first, before anything else, and I introduced the film with a question: “are you ready to get fucked up?” Without fail, when the final reflection papers came in after 3 months they all still talked about Eraserhead. Reactions vary, from “I cant understand why anyone would make a film like that, it’s really horrible” to “I can’t believe I’ve never seen a film like that, it’s beautiful”. You can love a Lynch film, you can hate a Lynch film, but you will never forget a Lynch film.
In the same year my father was into a TV show called "Twin Peaks". I was able to see a scene where the detective in question would try and figure out who Laura Palmer’s killer was by throwing stones and seeing if they would correspond to suspects’ names being read aloud. The year after they showed it on Channel 2, right after Beverly Hills 90210 and before the World Tonight. By happenstance, I tuned in on the same scene and decided to finish the episode. The episode ended with this...
I didn’t know what it meant, and everything seemed so strange to me. I didn’t realize that the scene was shot backwards, and the way the little man was speaking and dancing really messed with my head. I couldn’t sleep that night. I was trying to figure out what the little man was saying meant. After that I became obsessed. I’d watch week after week. I’d take notes. Every Friday afternoon, after school I’d tell all my classmates to watch Twin Peaks. Then I made a little comic about all of them called Twin Geeks (which I still have hahaha). It was so bad that looking at my grade school yearbook the only fricking dedication I ever got from people was “Quark! Watch Twin Peaks!” I even joined the “who killed Laura Palmer” contest at Showbiz Lingo hosted by Butch Francisco and Cristy Fermin.
When I turned 13 my mother asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and the only thing I asked her for was to finally allow me to watch Blue Velvet. She and her then-boyfriend had a long discussion on if I would finally be allowed to see the film. I had to see it with her boyfriend. I was disappointed at first, but over the years I’ve seen it maybe 10 more times, and it’s become one of my 5 favorite films of all time.
In the summer of 94 (which, in retrospect, was the most important summer of my life), my sister and I went to Blockbuster Video. It had been 2 years since Twin Peaks ended, but I was still obsessed with it. The clerk said that he had Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Cristalle and I started jumping for joy and screaming like kids in the video store. I think Cristalle just did that because I was her idol back then. She watched the movie with me and was too terrified to sleep that night.
I was a Lynch fan before I was a film fan. Those days I didn’t even know that I wanted to be a filmmaker. I just wanted to watch David Lynch films.
This is my favorite David Lynch story-- after 10 years of being a fan of this filmmaker I decide to take my then-classmate Lia out to watch her first Lynch film ever. It was a film called Mulholland Dr, and it was also my first David Lynch film in a movie theater (remember: we never count Dune). It started out pretty corny, then turned into something that I feel Lynch had been trying to achieve his whole life—a piece of cinema that made no sense at all but simply felt right. When the final scene came, of the lady with the blue hair saying “Silencio”, the guy behind me started going “please don’t be the ending please don’t be the ending please don’t be the ending please don’t – fuck. FUUUUUUUCK!” Everyone was silent, and I was in that state of pure bliss Lynch always talks about. Lia walked out of that theater in a daze.
I realize, while writing this, that this is also my favorite experience in a movie theater ever.
In the summer of 2010 I meet the one man I have wanted to meet all my life. It’s short and sweet. I thank him for changing my life, and tell him that I extended my flight just to meet him. He’s surprised, and gives me a big smile, wishing me luck on my career. I greet him a happy 20th anniversary to Twin Peaks and he thanks me for the earnest greeting. He walks away, totally unaware of how much he’s shaped the person he's just spoken with.
endnote: I must thank all of you who sent tweets of of support and threats that he will die and I will regret if I don’t extend my stay. Thanks for knocking some sense into me. Also, special thanks must be given to the generous loving heart of my good friend Jeff Cabal (who later on tells me that all the Lynch films he’s seen are because of me), who took care of a very aggravated man sick w asthma and recurring nosebleeds ready to go home after the traumatic experience of having his wallet stolen and being penniless in America.