Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
In 1990, the groundbreaking television series Twin Peaks, co-created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, opened with a murder mystery when a beautiful homecoming queen, wrapped in plastic, washed up on a cold and rocky beach. Laura Palmer’s character began as a plot device that triggered a small town to face its fractured self. But after three seasons and a film, Laura Palmer is no longer just a plot device. Instead of solely focusing on the murderer, like most traditional storytelling at the time, the audience gets to know the victim, a complex young woman who explores her sexuality and endures incredible abuse. Laura’s Ghost: Women Speak About Twin Peaks is an examination of Laura Palmer’s legacy on the 30th anniversary of Twin Peaks. Palmer’s character was one of the few frank and horrific representations of sexual abuse victims which did not diminish the strength and complexity of the victim. Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer, discusses the challenges of the role and how it has impacted herself as well as women she has met over the years, many of whom are survivors of sexual abuse. The role demanded Lee give all of her vulnerability as an actor to this role. This role is one she cannot escape, one with which she will forever be identified. It’s a role that still haunts her today. For many women, this character represents them. Here was a woman who was not just a victim, but who was owning her sexuality as well—a woman coming into her own and discovering her sources of power. This book is a reckoning in which women from the show and community speak about grief, mischief, humor, sexuality, strength, weakness, wickedness, and survival.
Courtenay Stallings is a writer, scholar and professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She is the senior editor for the Blue Rose magazine which covers Twin Peaks.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
“Please. Have mercy. I’ve been wearing the same underwear since Tuesday.”
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and the forthcoming The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently working on a memoir about his marriages and a feature-length documentary about his father, jazz musician and composer Dave Zoller.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. He has the attention span of a gnat.