Twenty-five years ago, the entire population of the United States was obsessing over a question posed by David Lynch and Mark Frost in their cult-classic television series Twin Peaks: "Who killed Laura Palmer?" The show's pilot will play at the Alamo Drafthouse tonight, and from noon Saturday through noon Sunday, diehard fans will be gathering there to watch the complete series -- without interruption, for free!
"This weekend, we are digging deep into the mystery that is Twin Peaks and Laura Palmer," says Keith Garcia, creative director at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
"David Lynch has said that the perfect way to view Twin Peaks is to create a movie theater setting in your home -- total darkness, no distractions, a great sound system and the biggest screen you can have. We're doing that work for you. We've got that setup for you, but you have to bring yourself."
With Netflix and online streaming making entire television series available to viewers in one sitting, marathon screenings have become a standard way to gorge on a program -- but generally not at a blockbuster theater. Alamo is experimenting with whether Denver audiences are ready for this epic experience. "I'd like to hope that there are definitely some completists out there willing to take this challenge," Garcia says.
Even if one bedraggled guy makes it to the end and stumbles out of the theater at one in the afternoon on Sunday, Garcia will feel like he and his team have accomplished something big.
"There will be some magic that occurs in the wee hours of the marathon, between sleepiness and euphoria, that will perhaps crack open some new piece of the puzzle that we've been lacking before because we watched it like normal," he says.
Even Garcia --- who has programmed movies for a living for over a decade -- has never completed a 24-hour movie-watching binge. The longest film he has seen, in one sitting, is Claude Lanzmann's Shoah, a ten-hour-and thirteen-minute Holocaust documentary.
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He has some seasoned advice for endurance viewers, though. "We're running the series straight through. We'll have opening credits and ending credits of every episode. We have to change the disks every three hours, which will take a few minutes. Your bathroom breaks will be during that time," he advises.
"Pace yourself. Spend your $30 food and beverage voucher over the course of the evening. Make sure you have coffee and soda, but don't ramp up on soda, because you'll get tired. Make sure to portion it out," he concludes.
The pilot will screen tonight at 7 p.m.; tickets cost $10. The free marathon starts Saturday at noon. Viewers can reserve a seat for $30, and get a $30 voucher in exchange, which they can apply to food and drink throughout the afternoon, night and next morning. And fair warning: no texting or phone calls will be permitted during the marathon, per Alamo's usual policy. The prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me will play August 20 at 7 and tickets will cost $10.
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Find me on Twitter: @kyle_a_harris