Lost Highway

*Originally written in 2004 (and another where I inexplicably give a plot synopsis, so don’t read if you haven’t seen).


David Lynch creates another incredibly interesting, mesmerizing, beautiful, and dark experience which at times surpasses both Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, but one which will likely confuse and frustrate, at least the first time you see it. Featuring vast amounts of imagery, apparently differing and interweaving plots, and a large, excellent cast Lost Highway is a film which you are not likely to forget.

Bill Pullman stars as Fred, a saxophonist who is in an awkward relationship with his beautiful wife Renee, played by Patricia Arquette. He never seems to be able to get close to her, even though they have been together supposedly for years. When he finds a videotape at his doorstep, he watches in horror as it shows the inside of their house -someone has been coming in and watching them sleep. At a party, a mystery man (Robert Blake) seems overly interested in Fred and claims he is at Fred’s house now, even though they are standing together at this party at another house. Fred phones home, and the mystery man answers, being at both ends of the phone. Later, Fred finds another tape – this one showing him killing his wife – he is arrested shortly after as his wife actually has been killed. On death row Fred vanishes from his cell and in his place another man – Pete, appears instead. The cops let him go, but follow him. He is a mechanic who, like in Blue Velvet, becomes involved with a shady character called Mr Eddy with a violent temper and his mistress Alice, also played by Arquette. Pete is intrigued by Alice, and the two sleep together. Alice cries out to be rescued from her life, so Pete concocts a plan to save her. However, she does not appear to be all she seems, and Pete knows he is in too deep to escape. He cannot get a concrete hold of Alice. Then things get strange….

As with any real piece of art, you can come up with your own thoughts and explanations of what you see and hear while watching Lost Highway. The entire film is designed to haunt and disturb, from the slightly abnormal sets, to the look of certain characters, to the music, images and performances. At times this is incredibly quiet, and the volume must be played at full blast to hear what is being said. There are a few violent scenes, lots of sex which never seems erotic, but always necessary. Most of the actors give understated, cold performances and rarely try to explain or understand what is happening to themselves, but special mention must go to Richard Pryor. He plays the wheelchair bound Arnie who works with Pete, but it must rank as one of the most terrifying performances ever. It is deeply unsettling, his eyes seeming to see everything that no-one would ever want to see. Apparently at early showings, certain scenes were mixed up so the film played in a different order. Perhaps linear story-telling is not always needed. Unfortunately for most people, the story needs to be safe and simple, so many will be turned off by this. The film never attempts to show any sense of happiness, hope, or light in the traditional sense, is distant, yet seduces us to pay close attention and inevitably succumb to the unsavoury acts and tone which can become almost unbearable. If you want a thoroughly challenging and original film, then Lost Highway is a must.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Lost Highway!


A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors

*Originally written in 2005

Definitely the second best in the series, Elm Street Part 3 brings back Nancy, the heroine of the first movie, and happily disregards the events of the fairly awful Freddy’s Revenge. Featuring a good cast- Langenkamp, Saxon, Fishburne, Arquette, and a decent script by Frank Darabont, Dream Warriors should not be seen as a rubbish sequel due to its many good points overcoming the handful of bad ones.

Since the events of the first film, Nancy has become a therapist/social worker for disturbed kids, specialising in traumas brought about by nightmares and fantasies. The film is situated mostly in a home/hospital for these kids, with Nancy bringing her expertise when it appears that an old enemy is up to new tricks. At first the kids do not trust her, but once she reveals herself as someone who has been through similar events they treat her as a powerful ally. Unlike the rest of the doctors, Nancy does not believe that they are experiencing some kind of group psychosis. The bond between Nancy and each of the kids feels genuine – a motherly bond that both she and them are lacking. It becomes apparent that Freddy is back, and is stalking more kids. The key to stopping Kruger this time lies with the gifts each kid has, a skill only they can bring into the ‘dream world’ with them, whether it be great strength or magic powers. However, the most powerful gift belongs to Alice (Patricia Arquette), who can bring outsiders into her dreams meaning they can all fight Freddy together. As they fight for survival one of Nancy’s colleagues, together with her estranged father (John Saxon) hunt for Kruger’s bones to give them a suitable burial which will hopefully end his curse.

The plot is wildly imaginative, and sometimes flies all over the place, but that is also what made the original original. Again the kids are alone and misunderstood, but it is Nancy who teaches them to have confidence in their own strengths and to not be afraid. Arquette and Langenkamp work well together, and the rest of the group includes the usual stereotypes of jock, nerd, addict etc. Unlike later films in the series, and most films of its ilk, we grow to care about these characters and want to see who, if any, will survive. We spend a fair amount of time getting to know them, their fears, and even see a little of ourselves in them. Being a horror movie though, we know that not everyone is getting out of this nightmare alive, leading to many gruesome kills including a few that are highlights of the series. The film has many excellent effects, although the series here begins to show a reliance on gore. There are a decent amount of scares and a fair amount of tension is built up before the climactic battle. Englund once again steals the show, but the one liners are starting to make an appearance – the more we get to know the bad guy, the less scary he becomes, and soon we are rooting for him and forgetting that he is a child-killing molester. Luckily this film doesn’t go too far down that road, but it certainly opens the door. Overall a very good horror film with so many ideas it could have been warranted being split over the course of two films as a nicely rounded trilogy. The DVD doesn’t contain any features of note, better to check out the Never Sleep Again documentary as it has plenty of extras regarding this entry.

What do you think of Dream Warriors – is it your favourite sequel, or does it stray too far into fantasy and away from horror? Let us know in the comments!