Remember the feel-good movies of 1986?

“Hoosiers,” “Pretty In Pink,” “Peggy Sue Got Married”?

Right in the middle of all that, crazy old David Lynch dropped in “Blue Velvet,” a big old hot coal that shook the town and filled the drive-ins with cars full of curious teens.

Parents thought, “Blue Velvet? You mean that great Bobby Vinton and Tony Bennett ballad from the ’50s? And who’s David Lynch?”

Then the promo for David Lynch’s 1986 “Blue Velvet” came out.

“Writer Director David Lynch crafted this hallucinogenic mystery-thriller that probes beneath the cheerful surface of suburban America to discover sadomasochistic violence, corruption, drug abuse, crime and perversion.”

The book clubs and sewing circle groups asked, “There’s sadomasochistic violence, corruption, drug abuse, crime and perversion right here in one of those Frank Capra-ish suburban American hometowns?”

Has David Lynch gone all Sloan Wilson “Summer Place” in the head? Are we about to see Jon Cryer and Molly Ringwald strolling down Lincoln Street in peaceful Lumberton, as Ferris Bueller drives by in a hot rod?

Relax, that ain’t gonna happen. You thrill freaks who heard about this film from the ’80s are gonna get all the sadomasochistic violence, corruption, drug abuse, crime and perversion you can handle.

“Blue Velvet” opens with soft ’50s music (be patient now), and the camera takes us on a nostalgic ride through pleasant, shady tree-lined neighborhood streets (sit down and be patient), past an old MGM house with bright red roses against its white picket fence. Yes, that’s Bobby Vinton singing “Blue Velvet,” and those are red flowers against a white picket fence.

See the kids walking to school? No, they don’t get killed.

A man (Jack Harvey), while watering the lawn, has a stroke and falls. His dog stands on him, biting at the hose water.

Wait, don’t leave. Isn’t that a super-young Kyle MacLachlan walking in tall weeds and tossing rocks at a shack?

He sees something. It’s a human ear (aren’t you feeling better?) with beetles crawling over it, as they eat other insects.

The camera sinks into the sliced-off ear and down the ear canal. Hold on; after 2 hours and 1 minute of this we emerge from Kyle MacLachlan’s ear as he rests in a lawn chair. In that 2 hours and 1 minute, the late Dennis Hopper will treat you to all the sadomasochistic violence and drug abuse you can handle, while he inhales amyl nitrate through a hospital mask.

Now you’re listening?

There will be plenty of local Lumberton corruption, some crime, and scene after scene of lusciously colored sexual perversion.

Happy now?

We’ll meet the very young and gorgeous Laura Dern as you’ll never see her on HBO’s “Big Little Lies.” In fact, everyone in this thing is 33 years younger.

Here, she’s Kyle’s sweet, naive girlfriend helping him solve a mystery.

You’ll see Ingrid Bergman’s little girl Isabella Rossellini as a drugged-out lounge singer who can only sing Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris’ “Blue Velvet.” She will sing it many times and will appear totally nude in a couple of scenes. In fact, so will Kyle when she seduces him. See what I told you?

Dean Stockwell will sing to you, and the great Hope Lange will appear as Laura Dern’s mother in this “hallucinogenic mystery thriller.”

The late, famed film critic Pauline Kael, who is featured in this year’s MIFF selections, was quoted in a lengthy New Yorker magazine piece at the time saying, “It’s the work of a genius naif.”

She went on to say, “Lynch doesn’t censor his sexual fantasies, and the film’s hyper-charged erotic atmosphere makes it something of a trance-out, but his humor keeps breaking through, too.” That’s true.

She finished by saying, “Maybe I’m sick, but I want to see that again.”

Her words. Not mine.


J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and screen actor.

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