On last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, troubled Iraq War vet Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) had a night terror set off by his g.f. Cristina’s ceiling fan swirling round and around. The sight of Owen going nuts — and then rolling over in bed to strangle poor Cristina — immediately gave me flashbacks to Twin Peaks which, IMHO, remains the scariest bit of storytelling ever to hit the television airwaves. You’ll recall that in both David Lynch’s TV series and big-screen prequel, Fire Walk With Me, the ceiling fan was a key storytelling device. The camera would flash to it ominously whenever the killer BOB was around. (Click on the embedded video below…if you dare!) That it lived at the top of the stairs, near Laura Palmer’s bedroom, only added to the creepiness. The way it whirred and whooshed in hypnotic slow motion scared the bejeezus out of me — almost as much as BOB himself. It was the perfect Lynchian treatment: Take an everyday household item and turn it into a terrifying object. The banality of evil, if you will. (Speaking of BOB…! Have worn-and-torn jeans ever looked more nefarious?) For years, I swore I’d never, ever allow any home of mine to have any kind of air-circulation apparatus that operated above my head. I still don’t like the things very much. But at least I’ve made it to the point where the mere sight of them doesn’t stop me dead in my tracks, paralyzed with fear as I wait for the odor of burning oil to wash over me.
Did any of you notice the connection last night? Anyone else out there scarred for life by Twin Peaks, or perhaps other seemingly harmless objects used to horrifying effect in pop culture? Do share!
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