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Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh
2116-D New Bern Ave., Raleigh, North Carolina 27610
Absolutely no one was prepared for director David Lynch's BLUE VELVET in 1986, least of all Hollywood. Unable to find a single distributor that would touch this fascinating, frightening, queasily funny and thoroughly original film, producer Dino DeLaurentiis stepped in and created his own DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group to distribute the movie. DEG would go down in flames within a couple of years, but BLUE VELVET has remained one of the most controversial and provocative works in cinema history.
Initially, Lynch paints a serene yet slightly disturbing landscape as college student Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) returns home to Lumberton, N.C. to visit his ailing dad. On his way through town, Jeffrey stumbles upon a severed human ear, which he turns in to the local police. But the cops aren't nearly as interested in the mystery as Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), a detective's daughter. She and Jeffrey team up to investigate the origins of the ear and are soon drawn into the bizarre world of a severely troubled nightclub star, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), known as «the Blue Lady» because of her tormented rendition of Bobby Vinton's classic «Blue Velvet.»
Dorothy is being strong-armed by one of the most striking psychopaths ever to cross the screen, Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), who has kidnapped her son and husband and regularly tortures Dorothy, both physically and psychologically. (Never again will you be able to listen to Roy Orbison's «In Dreams» without shuddering.)
Critics called the thriller «Hitchcockian,» but it's much more than that. Beauty and brutality, love and lust, savage violence and sunny sentimentality frequently collide as Lynch reveals the unsavory underworld beneath Lumberton's sweet surface. This movie was the blueprint for Lynch's TWIN PEAKS, which debuted a few years later and did for TV what BLUE VELVET did for movies. You'll laugh, you'll scream, you'll gasp and you'll never forget BLUE VELVET. (James Sanford)