27 June 2004 | RJC-99
"Pets or Food"
The single camera is fixed on a wide shot of a sparsely-furnished, eerily-lit apartment, a subdued den of deco and menace. Yes, a glance confirms, Mr. Lynch is caretaker here.
For five minutes, as Badalamenti's synths sigh over distant fog horns and muted thunder, we watch the rabbit people--actors in cheap rabbit suits worn under drab human clothing. Their day is winding down. They work at an ironing board, sit on the art deco sofa, rise, sit down again, exit, return, sing some verses about "dark, smiling teeth," and trade dark, smiling dialogue. The rabbit people play to an unseen studio audience, which greets their entrances with on-cue applause and their oblique lines with canned laughter. Minutes pass. . . Then: a superimposed mouth begins a demonic incantation. A huge match burns. The camera blurs out of focus, and then--you'd better believe it!--refocuses.
That's it. The result is weird, beautiful, unnerving, and, frankly, never far from being boring.