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Friday, 27 July 2012

Observations: Keep it in the family: the dark visions of Jennifer Lynch

The screenwriter and director, Jennifer Chambers Lynch, 44, daughter of Twin Peaks director David Lynch is not into “torture porn”. “There are plenty of filmmakers out there who will happily and effectively make 'torture porn'. I am not one of them,” she says.

Chained, her new psychological chiller, which has its UK premiere next month at Frightfest, has been described as the nastiest film since 1986's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. It stars Vincent D'Onofrio as a deranged serial-killing cab driver, Bob, who kidnaps a mother (Julia Ormond) and her nine-year-old son (Eamon Farren). After getting rid of the mum, Bob grooms the chained-up son to become his protégé serial killer, in return for his freedom.

“The subject matter is upsetting, no doubt about it. It should be. It is a horrible thing, violence,” says Lynch. “When the project first came to me I was not 'turned on'.”

Instead, Lynch wanted to create a study of “how monsters are made”. “In my mind, real-life monsters are born of wounds: of sorrows. Of pains not spoken or healed. I wanted to promote a dialogue about child abuse. I did not want to excuse terrible acts, but to bring the human monster to light.”

What real-life events or films influenced her? “Everything I have ever seen or done influenced me,” she says. “Truly. The love I was given. The fears I had and still have. The questions I ask each day. All of them were part of my telling this story.”

As a child Lynch played a little girl in her father's film Eraserhead in 1977, then worked as a production assistant on his Blue Velvet in 1986. Aged 22, she wrote the bestseller The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, a spin-off novel from her father's TV series Twin Peaks, about a girl who is abused and murdered by Killer BOB (played by Frank Silva in the show). Her debut film Boxing Helena, released in 1993, about a doctor who amputates a woman's legs and arms, in the hope she will fall in love with him, was slated by critics.

Battling spinal injuries from a car accident, she attended Co-Dependent's Anonymous for relationship addiction and gave up drugs and alcohol. She didn't return to films for 15 years until 2008's Surveillance, which starred Ormond and Bill Pullman as FBI detectives investigating murders. Hisss followed in 2010, starring Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat as a snake who takes human form.

Chained is billed as a horror film, but it isn't one. “I didn't want to make a horror film in the traditional sense of the word. It is a film about horrific acts and pains. To me, it is a different thing.”

'Chained', Empire Cinema Leicester Square, London WC2 (, 27 August, 3.15pm. (



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It still seems like a horror film to me. I don't like graphically violent films. Although this is a character study of sorts and stars one of my favorite actors, I am going to pass on this one.

    28 July 2012 10:02

  3. Ooh, just booked my ticket by phone, and they said 3.35. Must be sure to get there early in case.

  4. Faith, you're not alone with be a big fan and passing on this film. It's not for everyone.

    Val! That's so exciting!! Would love to hear what you think of it.

  5. Dan Zukovic's "DARK ARC", a bizarre and disturbing modern noir dark comedy called "Absolutely brilliant...truly and completely different..." in Film Threat, was recently released on DVD and Netflix through Vanguard Cinema (, and is currently
    debuting on Cable Video On Demand. The film had it's World Premiere at the Montreal Festival, and it's US Premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival. Featuring Sarah Strange ("White Noise"), Kurt Max Runte ("X-Men", "Battlestar Gallactica",) and Dan Zukovic (director and star of the cult comedy "The Last Big Thing"). Featuring the glam/punk tunes "Dark Fruition", "Ire and Angst" and "F.ByronFitzBaudelaire", and a dark orchestral score by Neil Burnett.


    ***** (Five stars) "Absolutely brilliant...truly and completely different...something you've never tasted
    before..." Film Threat
    "A black comedy about a very strange love triangle" Seattle Times
    "Consistently stunning images...a bizarre blend of art, sex, and opium, "Dark Arc" plays like a candy-coloured
    version of David Lynch. " IFC News
    "Sarah Strange is as decadent as Angelina Jolie thinks she is...Don't see this movie sober!" Metroactive Movies
    "Equal parts film noir intrigue, pop culture send-up, brain teaser and visual feast. " American Cinematheque