David Lynch's Blue Velvet Is Streaming On Hulu For Only One Month

Good news, everyone! David Lynch's revered neo-noir thriller "Blue Velvet" is coming to Hulu at the start of March 2022. Also, uh, bad news, everyone! David Lynch's revered neo-noir thriller "Blue Velvet" is leaving Hulu at the end of March 2022. Yeah, I don't get it either, but that's just how the cookie crumbles in this strange time we call the streaming era. Whatever the reason is for this, that means it's more urgent than ever that you check out or revisit Lynch's twisted, bizarre classic, before it vanishes to who-knows-where in the streaming void.

Four years before Kyle MacLachlan played Special FBI Agent Dale Cooper — world-famous for his love of damn fine coffee and pie — for the first time in Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost's cult series "Twin Peaks," he reunited with his "Dune" (1984) director for an equally surreal odyssey into the dark side of small-town America with 1986's "Blue Velvet." MacLachlan stars in the movie as Jeffrey Beaumont, a college student who returns home to Lumberton, North Carolina after his father suffers a nearly-fatal stroke. But what starts out as an otherwise pleasant reunion with his old friends and family (his father's condition aside) quickly turns into a nightmare for Jeffrey after he stumbles upon a severed human ear in an open field. Before he knows it, our maybe-not-so-innocent hero is pulled into an even darker situation involving an enigmatic lounge singer named Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), an extremely violent, amyl nitrate-huffing drug lord who reigns over Lumberton's criminal underbelly.

'It's a strange world'

While I recently described "Blue Velvet" as being one of Lynch's more "accessible" films in the sense that its plot isn't rooted in dream-logic storytelling the way "Eraserhead," "Lost Highway," and "Mulholland Drive" are, that's not to say it's an easy watch. Far from it: The movie's opening scene alone is creepy as heck, dissolving from sunny, cheerful imagery of flower beds, firetrucks, and kids crossing the street to Jeffrey's father suffering a terrible stroke, only for the camera to push in on the grass near his fallen body, revealing a legion of clicking, clacking insects in the soil beneath. This visual also serves as the perfect summation of the film's themes about the darkness lurking beneath innocuous surfaces, long before Frank shows up.

"Blue Velvet" acted as Lynch's rebound after the critical and box office failure of "Dune," snagging him a Best Director Oscar nod (his second after he was nominated for 1980's "The Elephant Man") and kicking off his string of collaborations with Laura Dern, who co-starred in the movie as Sandy Williams, a young woman who re-connects with Jeffrey upon his return to Lumberton. At the same time, the film was hugely controversial among critics. Roger Ebert infamously gave "Blue Velvet" a one-star rating in his review, criticizing Lynch for the scenes where Dorothy is subjected to horrifying physical and sexual violence at Frank's hands while also praising Rosellini for her "convincing and courageous" acting in the role. Ebert never retracted his critiques, either, even after he came to regard Lynch as a masterful filmmaker for his later work.

36 years later, "Blue Velvet" is still as disturbing as it ever was and very much worth a look for anyone who's ever had an interest in Lynch's output as a director. Just be sure to prepare yourself ahead of time, should you decide to check it out while it's still available on Hulu.