My first exposure to the world of David Lynch was at too young of an age. I remember my dad dubbing a VHS of Eraserhead for my uncle one night in the mid ‘80s. I walked in on the baby spitting up, to which I asked “Dad, what’s wrong with the baby?”
“It’s just a little messed up.”
After that, I, too, was a little messed up.
When Twin Peaks hit the air in 1990, my good friend and I took a huge liking to Kyle MacLachlan. A few years later, we rented any movie we could with him, including Blue Velvet, in which slowing down the chewed VHS tape in choice scenes was worthless, because, well, it was a chewed VHS tape.
There are so many fantastic elements in the film that just scream what you can now call “Lynch” and I am very proud to say that my first exposure to Blu-ray is David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.
To start, I literally just got Blu-ray player. I am late to the game, right? However, I’ve spent many a day at Costco going ‘Whoaaa’ as I watch something on a sample TV that makes me feel like I’m looking through a window.
For a 25 year old film, Blue Velvet may not fully display in the manner of modern Blu-ray HD quality; however, the print is cleaned up so nicely that it looks as a film made this past week. Some of the outdoor shots, including the insects in the grass, look absolutely amazing. The sound, too, is great. A perfect example is when Jeffrey (MacLachlan) checks out Dorothy Vallen’s apartment building. The elevator sign that is shorting out is buzzing about in a prominent manner, where in the prints I’ve ever seen, it is not. Basically, the quality is so good for its age that if my friend and I had this quality back in the day, we wouldn’t have been bored on the weekends.
I think my personal draw to Lynch is the atmosphere, which is probably best summed up in Blue Velvet. The atmosphere encompasses exactly what a nightmare is like, and not in a negative sense. More so in the ‘What the f*** is going on!?’ sense. Almost to the point that you feel as out of your mind as Dennis Hopper had to have been during production. However, the nightmare components are so damn intriguing, you’re constantly trying to make sense of them, and quite possibly there is no sense to be made. The fact that the film has made its way to Blu-ray will just emphasize all of these elements that make it so breathtaking.
On a side note, you should definitely invest in this disc if you’re as big (or small) of a Twin Peaks fan as I am (ex. I have Laura Palmer’s picture on a shelf in my house). One should adore Blue Velvet for all of the TP precursors, including the score, the dramatic elements, the use of a football head character named Mike, use of curtains, small town mentality – basically any theory you can just Google online to save space here.
The extras include some great things starting with the original Siskel & Ebert review that begins with Roger Ebert stating the film is cruelly unfair to its actors. They go on to basically proclaim how they don’t go for it. I must disagree, sir. I give it two thumbs up.
Mysteries of Love, an hour long documentary, starts from the origins of the story and follows it to fruition. If you were confused on what that VHS thing I was talking about earlier was, just watch this and you will see. The clips of young David Lynch just make me beam. You might think the disc could be worth the documentary alone.
The outtakes and lost footage are the reason why you need this Blu-ray. Remember that nightmare element I spoke of earlier? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Like who the hell knew that Megan Mullally played Kyle MacLachlan’s girlfriend in a cut scene? Who knew that if you pay attention and don’t fast forward around minute 2:55 of the outtakes that you will see a woman light her nipples on fire?!
In the end, Blue Velvet is awesome. It has so many of those amazing beautiful moments, down to the music that you see echoed throughout Lynch’s later work. The Blu-ray keeps it complete, adding in essential additions of lost footage, reviews, documentaries and more.
In the immortal words of Frank, “Heineken?! Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!”