HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
   
 
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
   
 
  Blue Velvet Now It's Dark
Year: 1986
Director: David Lynch
Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, George Dickerson, Priscilla Pointer, Frances Bay, Jack Harvey, Ken Stovitz, Brad Dourif, Jack Nance, J. Michael Hunter, Dick Green, Fred Pickler, Philip Markert
Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller, Romance, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  10 (from 1 vote)
Review: This is Lumbertown, an all-American smalltown where everything is as wholesome as apple pie, and the home of Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) who has been away at college, but is forced to return for a while when his father has a serious stroke while watering the garden. He loves his town of origin, but wishes he could be back under happier circumstances, and on the walk to the hospital to see his ailing parent he idly throws a stone or two at a rusting drum dumped by the path. After having seen his father and been upset that he could barely speak, he is in even more of a gloomy mood so is even more determined to hit that barrel, but then he notices something in the long grass: a human ear.

Here's a film that goes in one ear and out the other, but almost everybody who viewed Blue Velvet back in the nineteen-eighties wondered "What the hell did I just watch?" whether they enjoyed it or downright hated it. There were plenty of naysayers who refused to get onboard with writer and director David Lynch's vision of his youth, but if you got what he was aiming for, that mixture of the young man's optimistic view of the world and the brutal reality of how depressing that world could be once experience had knocked the hope and belief in good old-fashioned decency out of you, then you would likely find the whole film to be a masterpiece from beginning to end. Pretentious was a word often levelled at it, yet Lynch was so sincere it didn't apply at all.

As was noted by many, you could sum up the entire story simply by watching that opening sequence, all the cheeriness of the innocence and righteousness of the townsfolk suddenly turned grim when both the older man collapses, and more symbolically when the camera's view moves through the green grass into the seething undergrowth of insect-ridden filth beneath, but Lynch wanted to expand on that, thus we got a tale that seems to take place somewhere beyond time, a mixture of the fifties and the eighties which could be his idea of the landscape of a modern folk tale, but just as much spoke to those mid-twentieth century troubles which tried to reconcile setting out for the bright future and knowing the depravities of the previous decade were all too present in the memory.

Peyton Place, the Grace Metallious novel which scandalised polite society yet became a must-read bestseller, was the major work which evoked that sensation back in the fifties, and it was made into a blockbuster movie too (Hope Lange, one of its stars, was no accidental casting in this), so if Lynch had not read it then he had certainly soaked up its lessons and observations. Thus Blue Velvet was very much part of that Hollywood movement, often an almost soap operatic style, designed to expose the unlovely underbelly of a society that was not as ideal as many wanted to accept it as, except here the advances of what was permissable in movies gave Lynch carte blanche to be as violent and sexual, and at times violently sexual, as he wished, crafting a mood that swayed back and forth between dreamtime and nightmare.

This was very identifiable as part of the horror movie movement of its decade, except none of its peers were prepared to go as far as Lynch did in conjuring that combination of terror and humour. Many didn't catch the humour in this at all, but the chief villain was both absolutely evil and very amusing as he bulldozed his way through any notion of how civilised people behave. That villain was Frank Booth played by Dennis Hopper in a career-changing performance that brought him out of the wilderness of low budget efforts, the occasional Apocalypse Now apart, and into play as a major character actor; he's quite brilliant here as he perfectly understood how to render Frank both menacing and fascinating, in stark contrast to Jeffrey who wants to be the nice guy and laments uselessly to his almost-girlfriend and embodiment of purity Sandy (Laura Dern), "Why are there people like Frank?"

To answer that question didn't need a battallion of psychologists, but undeniably attracted a psychological explanation as sweetness and light were contrasted with darkness and revulsion as if locked in neverending combat, just as one gets the upper hand the other makes a comeback, and so on, never allowing us to forget one while going through its opposite. The other key player was Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini), the torch singer who brings Jeffrey into the world of Frank when he hides in her apartment to discover what is really going on with that severed ear. When he is found after witnessing a fetishistic bout of sadomasochism between her and Frank he is changed forever, as he becomes Dorothy's lover - and she wishes him to hit her since she enjoys humiliation (her own or his, we can ponder?).

A mystery will always draw in the curious, yet here it is like a black hole from which nothing can escape, and it was extremely intelligent though its surface seems naive, with frequent, bizarre asides turned setpieces such as drugged up but suave Dean Stockwell's mime to the deeply appropriate In Dreams by the otherworldy-sounding Roy Orbison. When that song is reprised as Frank teaches Jeffrey a lesson, it is one of the most intense sequences in the cinema of this decade, and the sole reason our hero does not die appears to be because Lynch needs him for the ending of the movie. There is such a texture of dream logic that not only do selected shots seem lifted directed from your most troubled slumber because that's the only way they make sense, but the actual conspiracy happening in Lumbertown is vague to the point of irrelevancy, all we need to know is there are sinister forces making themselves apparent and Jeffrey is up to his neck in them. Angelo Badalamenti's vintage-sounding music and the sound effects threaded through each scene completed an exquisitely balanced classic.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3252 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

David Lynch  (1946 - )

One-of-a-kind American writer-director and artist. His low budget debut Eraserhead set the trends for his work: surreal, unnerving but with a unique sense of humour. After Mel Brooks offered him The Elephant Man, Dino De Laurentiis gave Lynch Dune to direct, but it was an unhappy experience for him.

Luckily, despite the failure of Dune, De Laurentiis was prepared to produce Lynch's script for Blue Velvet, which has since become regarded as a classic. He moved into television with Twin Peaks and On the Air, but it was with film that he was most comfortable: Cannes winner Wild at Heart, prequel/sequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, plot-twisting Lost Highway, the out of character but sweet-natured The Straight Story, the mysterious Mulholland Drive and the rambling, willfully obscure Inland Empire. His return to directing after a long gap with the revival of Twin Peaks on television was regarded as a triumph.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: