Blue Velvet At 35: Revisiting David Lynch’s Dark Suburbia

David Lynch didn’t invent the idea of the American suburbs hiding darkness in plain sight.

If anything, the opening images of his 1986 masterwork Blue Velvet, celebrating its 35th anniversary this weekend, showcase the stereotypical visuals countless filmmakers had utilised up to that point.

This introductory montage emphasises blood red roses contrasted with looming white picket fences and unassuming citizens hiding behind their living room curtains to watch violent movies, culminating in an unexpected near death experience which cuts through the tranquility of this idealised neighbourhood.


It’s a striking opening – a playful satire of “dark suburbia” narratives, that hides the full extent of the unrelenting nightmare that’s to follow.

To celebrate this classic movie’s anniversary, we take a look at how Lynch pulled back the curtains on idyllic suburbia, exposing the horrors that lie within.

Read the full feature for free in the latest issue of our digital magazine The Lowdown.

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Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder


Alistair is a culture journalist and lover of bad puns from Leeds. Subject yourself to his bad tweets by following him on Twitter @YesItsAlistair.