Cookies notification

This website uses cookies to provide you with a better experience

You can adjust your cookie settings at any time at the bottom of each page. If you do not adjust your settings, you are consenting to us issuing all cookies to you

The classic David Lynch moments we can’t erase from our minds #TwinPeaks

screen-poster

The Black Lodge has been re-opened. The owls are calling. And 1990s TV sensation Twin Peaks has returned to our screens.

David Lynch's cult masterpiece, co-created with Mark Frost, made its return last night on American network Showtime. To celebrate this landmark moment we're delving into the cinema vaults to bring you the most unforgettable Lynchian moments.

From the surreal to the sublime, the terrifying to the tear-jerking, this is our celebration of one of the greatest filmmakers on the planet.

Eraserhead (1977)

Lynch's debut feature is a black and white industrial nightmare that defies easy explanation. Thrumming with a deeply menacing sound design and resplendent in a whole host of perverse imagery (the mutated baby takes some forgetting), it announced his style to the world.

For sheer weirdness though, nothing can top the hamster-cheeked singing lady living within the radiator of Jack Nance's central character. "In heaven, everything is fine..."


The Elephant Man (1980)

Although Lynch is renowned for his nightmarish touch he is also capable of delicate, heartrending emotion. His masterful account of the deformed John Merrick (played by an extraordinary John Hurt under layers of make-up) remains one of his most moving films, a portrayal of gentle humanity and decency amidst a grotesque, mechanical Victorian landscape.

The scene where Merrick is introduced to the wife (Hannah Gordon) of Doctor Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) strikes one of the most powerfully dignified notes in the director's canon.


Blue Velvet (1986)

Lynch gained international fame – and more than a little notoriety – for his infamously shocking depiction of American suburbia.

Blue Velvet cements the themes that have consumed the director, portraying an outwardly idyllic US suburb that conceals raging undercurrents of sex, violence and madness. It all begins when Kyle MacLachlan's wide-eyed innocent discovers an ear in the field, unleashing a chain of events that lead to Isabella Rossellini's tormented lounge singer and Dennis Hopper's terrifying villain Frank.

Hard-living Hopper's character is undoubtedly one of of cinema's scariest ("I am Frank!" he told Lynch when cast) but rivalling him for sheer creepiness is Dean Stockwell miming Roy Orbison's 'In Dreams' into a mic. Don't say you weren't warned...


Wild at Heart (1990)

Fittingly enough for a director pre-occupied with American life, Lynch turned his attention to that most American of pursuits: the road trip.

Of course in his hands it's a lurid cocktail of sex and violence as Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern's young murderous couple on the run, who come into contact with a whole host of unpleasant characters.

Talking of which, they don't come more unseemly than Willem Dafoe's Bobby Peru, possessor of possibly the creepiest teeth ever seen in a movie. 


Twin Peaks (1990)

TV was never the same after the premiere of Lynch's seminal mini-series. Taking place in the eponymous American town, a deceptively tranquil haven of eccentrics and misnomers harbouring some seriously dark secrets, Twin Peaks was acclaimed for its engrossingly eerie atmosphere, ping-ponging between light humour and utter terror at will.

It's essentially Blue Velvet in TV form with any number of quotes and scenes that have passed into popular consciousness. Damn fine coffee, who killed Laura Palmer, the red room – it was all anybody could talk about at the time. And with the advent of the new series, the conversation is about to burst into life again.

Talking of the red room, we couldn't fail to include it here...


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

Lynch's big screen prequel divided opinion and sank at the box office at the time. However it's gained in stature over the years, audiences responding more warmly to its depiction of the ill-fated Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).

Even darker and weirder than the series (if that were possible), the movie resonates with a genuine sense of dread. And scenes don't come more gasp-inducingly scary than when Laura discovers the leering, malevolent Bob (Frank Silva) hiding in her bedroom.

What makes the scene even more impressive is that it takes place in broad daylight, in the apparently safe confines of an ordinary American home. Only Lynch could transform such a recognisable environment into a den of pure terror. New trousers, please.


Lost Highway (1997)

After a five year absence Lynch returned with a typically head-scratching conundrum of a movie. Anyone who expected him to have gone soft after Twin Peaks were in for a shock – if anything Lost Highway is even more kaleidoscopically strange than anything he'd made before.

The plot defies description, suffice to say it involves a saxophonist (played by Independence Day's Bill Pullman) whose life appears to split in two after he seemingly murders his wife. Or does he? Lynch's roving camerawork and Angelo Badalamenti's typically prowling score have us guessing throughout.

It also features one of the most genuinely unnerving scenes from any of Lynch's movies, as Pullman is approached at a party by a demonic Mystery Man – who calls our central character from his own house. Say what??


The Straight Story (1999)

That's enough creepy Lynch (for now, at least). It's time to soak up the splendour of what is arguably his warmest and most beautifully humane movie, an account of a truly remarkable real-life road trip.

Veteran stuntman turned actor Richard Farnsworth, who was dying from cancer during filming, delivers an exquisite performance as the ageing Alvin Straight, a man who makes a 400-mile road trip on a lawnmower to see his ailing, estranged brother.

Drenched in the bucolic rhythms of rural American life with vast reservoirs of compassion for its central character, the movie is a real tear-jerker. And in the central role, the late Farnsworth is the very embodiment of decency.


Mulholland Drive (2001)

If The Straight Story was a sentimental, homely diversion for Lynch, he soon steered himself back onto a far more sinister and familiar course.

This gorgeously shot, time-bending masterpiece is both an identity crisis drama and a damning critique of the movie industry rolled into one. A stunning Naomi Watts, in her first major movie role, makes a vivid impression as the young Los Angeles ingenue who must help another woman (Laura Harring) recover her identity. But this being Lynch, thing's aren't that simple...

Imploding our perceptions of what's real and what's imaginary, the movie is a reflection of the real-life 'dream factory', one laced with equal parts inspiration and bone-chilling horror. And when it comes to the latter, it doesn't get scarier than the infamous Winkies diner scene...


INLAND EMPIRE (2006)

This remains Lynch's final movie (to date) and is less a conventional film than an utterly perplexing cinematic experiment. 

Shot on grainy digital, which gives the unfolding nightmare a completely different texture to Lynch's other movies, it centres on Laura Dern's actress whose life begins to mirror the character she's playing.

Dern's brilliant performance is our guide down the rabbit hole as a whole host of famous faces, Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton, William H. Macy and more, all pop up to make memorable appearances. The scene where Dern confronts a phantom bearing her own distorted visage still creeps us out to this day.

What are your favourite David Lynch moments? Let us know @Cineworld.