#76 | Blue Velvet – An Antz Perspective
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David Lynch movies aren’t for everybody. For every viewer happy to follow him down his rabbit holes of sexual violence and surrealistic imagery, others struggle to connect with his warped world view and confusing – often incomprehensible plot lines. Hell, even frequent collaborator Laura Dern admitted she had no idea what was going on at any given time while shooting Inland Empire. For those willing to join him on the ride though, Blue Velvet is probably still the most accessible gateway drug.
Released in 1986, Blue Velvet concerns a young man who returns home from college to care for his sick father, and gets drawn into a mystery surrounding a severed ear, a mysterious nightclub singer and a twisted drug addict named Frank. By Lynch standards, that actually counts as fairly straightforward, even after you factor in the infamous voyeuristic sex scenes and terrifying use of Roy Orbison’s In Dreams.
In this week’s episode we compare our differing reactions to this and other Lynch movies, and discuss the delicate balance between campy satire and straightforward horror the film achieves – from the soft filter suburban scenes to Isabella Rossellini’s iconic turn as a masochistic club singer with a surprisingly limited repertoire, plus Dennis Hopper’s demented portrayal of Frank – possibly the scariest movie villain this side of Hannibal Lecter, and a role he reportedly pursued because he felt it was the closest character to his true personality that he’d ever read. We’re hoping he was joking about that last part…
Sequel ideas this week include a Frank and Ben origin story, a retelling of the movie as a straightforward comedy – complete with laugh track – and an unlikely crossover with largely forgotten late-90s Dreamworks production Antz, taking place almost entirely within the severed ear that sets the plot into motion for the original movie. We reckon even Lynch himself might be scratching his head over that one…
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Next week, we’ll be continuing our little theme of weird and wonderful cult movies with a look at a little-known cult horror that takes some very unexpected twists and turns. Until then, happy listening!