Wild At Heart, David Lynch’s rainbow-infused Romeo and Juliet on an ultra-sexed, mega-violent road trip through Southern Gothic Oz, where the Wicked Witch of the West threatens true love, but Glenda the Good Witch rewards it all to a soundtrack of heavy metal, big band jazz, and rockabilly. Originally released in 1990, it would usher in a decade of rebel love with big soundtracks, directors, and screenplays to match—True Romance, Natural Born Killers, Love and a .45, etcetera. Elvis had a presence in more than one of these. Chris Isaac’s most famous song, “Wicked Game,” a perfect bridge from Lynch’s use of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” in Blue Velvet, would premiere here only a few years before Isaac’s performance as F.B.I. Special Agent Chester Desmond in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. It has been well-analyzed over the years, a film made in the years of Nicholas Cage’s best one-liners and during Lynch’s indeterminable period pieces—the fifties or the nineties, the future or the past?
This special edition Wild At Heart Blu-ray by Shout! Factory was announced at the end of January 2018, just a few months after the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return. It includes the special feature of 75-plus minutes of deleted and extended scenes, which have not been on any officially accessible edition since the rare Lime Green box and Twilight Time DVD editions. This Shout! Factory Blu-ray edition also includes a brand new interview with novelist Barry Gifford, which will be discussed here. This article is specific to the new Blu-ray edition, which has had its street release pushed back to August 21st. Those who ordered the disc before May 16th directly from Shout Factory will be receiving a corrected re-issue of the disc before that date. See the statement below. It was released by e-mail on May 16th, 2018. The original release date was set for May 22nd.
Also, those who pre-ordered the disc from Shout! Factory received a poster of the cover art. Still, referencing my copy of the 2004 MGM Home Entertainment “Special Edition” DVD of “David Lynch’s Wild At Heart” (title from cover), many of the special features on Shout! Factory’s release were already included there.
- “Love, Death, Elvis, & OZ: The Making of Wild At Heart” Featurette
- “Dell’s Lunch Counter” Extended Interviews
- Sailor & Lula Image Gallery
- “Specific Spontaneity: Focus on David Lynch” Featurette
- David Lynch on the DVD Process
- Original Making-of Featurette
- 4 TV Spots
- Original Theatrical Trailer
The MGM special edition DVD boasts a “stunning new transfer supervised by David Lynch, with upgraded picture and sound.” The Shout! Factory Blu-ray appears to be the same transfer with an update to support 1080p High Definition. Questions fans have asked regard whether or not the deleted and extended scenes were cleaned up to improve color and remove scratches, etc. While this author does not have a Lime Green box or Twilight Time Edition to compare, the evidence available suggests that these improvements did not occur for this edition. They appear to be exact transfers from those previous editions. And while this is not cause for cheer from dedicated fans of old, Twin Peaks: The Return is introducing a new audience to the works of David Lynch. Indeed, even listening to dedicated podcasts the past year and a half, I find myself surprised at the number of Twin Peaks fans who are only now reaching out into David Lynch’s other films. And this is cool. This is “solid gold,” as the man says, because we’re moving forward from this point together, and this Blu-ray may be these fans’ first edition in hand.
This all said, there is no new analysis of Wild At Heart I can necessarily offer that is better than another as there is nothing specifically new here. Most recently, the Bickering Peaks podcast released an informative review of the film, which can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/bickering-peaks/david-lynch-wild-at-heart. An up-coming live episode of 25 Years Later’s partner podcast, Twin Peaks Unwrapped, will include our Associate Editor and Staff Writer, J.C. Hotchkiss’s first-time reaction to the film. [Note: The link will be added here upon its release. You should catch it live, if you are reading this before that update.] What I would like to do here is to gather just a few pieces of evidence from this Blu-ray release regarding our collective Lynch-verse thoughts since Twin Peaks: The Return. What can we learn here that applies there? The following are a few that stuck out to me.
I would like to start by looking at Barry Gifford’s 30-minute interview. The early portions are him explaining what he saw as a well-executed adaptation of the novel by Lynch. All flourishes are approved and welcome. At minute 2:45, he exclaims that while people come to him, saying, “but it’s not what you wrote,” he sees that as false. He asserts that 80% of the dialogue is taken from the novel. But it is one particular excerpt from the end of his interview that I would like to point out. This portion begins at 25 minutes into the interview.
An interesting aspect of the Sailor and Lula novels is the compression of time. Sailor and Lula obviously age. Sailor from his early twenties to his mid-sixties, Lula from her late teen years to her eighties, Pace from his birth to his eighties. But yet the timeframe that they inhabit, the frame of reference in terms of time, is now … I had to have them inhabit this universe, that we live in … He [Pace] wants to write about them [Sailor and Lula] … And he writes the stories of Sailor and Lula. He writes Wild At Heart and all of the novels that follow. … The thing is like Faulkner, he created Yoknapatawpha County, and he populated his county with all of these characters that he created, but if you read through the Yoknapatawpha novels, the dates don’t always cohere; they don’t always add up. Sometimes the characters have different names, different birth places, different times of death and life and all of this sort of thing, and partners and so on. It was his universe. He created it, and he could do whatever he wanted with these characters. And that’s how I felt with Sailor and Lula.
Upon hearing that explanation, that whole lives needed to be revealed in a time he understood, the now, my mind began to connect some dots. He wouldn’t have understood Lula in a space ship, he explains. She could not age in real-time with him, because he’d die before she, maybe. Still, he would need us to experience the life of Pace from birth into his 80’s, though he was only born in 1988. These characters could not age as we, film audiences, have been awed to observe in the making of Richard Linklater’s The Before Trilogy or Boyhood as well as David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Return. Then, he goes on to explain Faulkner’s creative ownership of his fictional county and the lives that populate it. Twin Peaks fans experienced a similar conundrum with tying-in the details to a populated Twin Peaks as given us by Mark Frost in The Secret History of Twin Peaks, an epistolary novel that has been and continues to be discussed on this very site, most notably by John Bernardy, a man on a mission to reconcile the puzzle box to the narrative. But it strikes me that this gives an exhausted portion of the audience some recourse. Now the story’s details are simply different, just as in Faulkner’s universe as noted by Gifford. We all get to reconcile the red herrings or miscalculations with the mystery we believe Frost and Lynch to have meticulously woven or with a whim under the Faulkner scope. It’s no less enjoyable though the details have been adjusted. It could be a matter of recorded memory, of errant timelines, of consequences, or it could be subject to the creators’ discretion in the moment. Papers can be found on the rightness or wrongness of a creator’s rights to do so once it has percolated with its audience, a kind of fandom contract over time, but here it is plainly stated. The greats of literature have chosen over fan expectations before, they’ll do it again. At the very least, this is how Gifford feels about his Sailor and Lula novels, and this Blu-ray exclusive interview gives us the excerpt to consider.
I am far from the only one who has noted a connection to the leather jacket and snake-skin pattern shirt of Mr. C as a nod to Sailor’s snake-skin jacket in Parts 1-3. We’ll call that point 1). Let’s note a few others, all relating to Twin Peaks: The Return.
2) In Part 3, we see the golden orb. My perspective keeps relating the orbs of The Return to the crystal ball and Good Witch Glenda’s orb-like aura. It does this because of the effects, perhaps the sounds, and based on the scryer’s mysterious and auguring nature of such imagery–one foreboding, one hopeful.
3) In Part 7—we first saw an example in Part 4—we get the mention of the dog legs. One was in Mr. C’s trunk, the other three “went out” with the information Warden Murphy is thinking about. My notes from my initial watch of The Return ask if these dog legs don’t act like the silver dollars in Wild At Heart that Mr. Reindeer so covets, the silver dollars that so judiciously hire his assassins, much like Mr. C’s Hutch and Chantal. This also makes us examine Mr. C as a kind of Santos or Mr. Reindeer. Note that Chantal was specifically asked by Hutch if she would like to torture the Warden. It reminds me of the Louisiana Trio’s, especially Grace Zabriski’s character of Juana Durango, in their deathly antagonistic ritual with Harry Dean Stanton’s Johnnie Farragut.
4) If we are to continue following the orbs, we have the infamous Part 8, where orb imagery is essential—as I said earlier: one foreboding (BOB) and one hopeful (Laura). This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Sheryl Lee floating in an orb in Lynch’s work, then, is it?
5) Of course, there is the sharp-nailed finger gliding over the interior black of Sarah Palmer’s opened face in Part 14 with it’s wicked question “Do you really want to fuck with this?” I was immediately reminded of the black-painted nails of the witch’s hand gliding over the crystal ball in Wild At Heart.
6) In Part 18, who could ignore that David Lynch with the help of Mark Frost has taken us back to Texas, not Big Tuna, but rather Odessa, Texas. And while Odessa is much more developed than the border/dessert appearance of Big Tuna, Carrie Page’s life and home interior look like they could have been curated right out of Big Tuna.
Now, my last point. At minute 20:00 of the featurette “Love, Death, Elvis, and Oz: The Making of Wild At Heart” Documentary, Crispin Glover speaks to his direction by David Lynch, which he claims to have more specific direction in than one might think, or that he experienced in previous roles. This regards the scene where Lula’s disturbed cousin Dell is writhing on the floor in his underwear, painfully, desperately holding a rubber glove down in a taped-off square on the floor with a yardstick. In that scene, Lula explains that “He would say that he felt there’s men with black rubber gloves was following him around … ideas were being destroyed by aliens wearing black gloves. The aliens would get Dell to do all kinds of weird things.” This reminds us of some of the descriptions of the Lemurians in Mark Frost’s The Secret History.
In the making-of featurette, Crispin Glover says that David said to him about that scene in particular: “As I recall, the scene with the yard stick and glove, David said if I let that glove go, it would be really, really bad. (laughter) And I understood what he meant by that.” And while the glove isn’t green, rather black, I have made my own synapse connection here. We know that after an encounter with The Fireman, Freddie Sykes was led to a store where he found a box of gardening gloves with one missing. According to Freddie, The Fireman told him “”One package will already be open with only a right-handed glove inside. Purchase that package and place the glove on your right hand.” This would become the powerful glove that would adhere itself permanently to his body and ultimately become the gauntlet that would have the power to destroy BOB. A quick look at the glove on Dell’s floor reveal the thumb to identify it as a left hand glove. And while I am unable to quote it at this time, before its release date, there is a detail I would like to add upon the release of David Lynch’s biography/memoir, Room to Dream, here as well. I can still allude to it by saying that his idea for the green glove manifested much, much earlier than The Return in Lynch’s mind and was meant for someone else, perhaps for something else entirely. [Note: Edited upon release: “I had the green-glove idea from long ago and originally Jack Nance was going to wear it, and that would’ve been a whole different thing.”] Still, if this could be true as one interpretation, then Dell’s madness may not be a simple infliction. Like Johnny Horne, he may have been touched … by the Lodge denizens. Unable to confront his moment as a Dweller on the Threshold without fear, refusing to accept the mantle of the glove to defeat BOB or use it in his service, Dell may very well have been driven to a method behind his madness.
I will have some help in covering Room to Dream for a series next month, starting June 21st as a Lynch Night limited feature. Still, the only way you can decide for yourself is to grab your favorite copy of Wild At Heart or look forward to this Blu-ray release by Shout! Entertainment in the now pushed-back date of August 21, 2018. Regardless, a further look into the statements in this release may lead us to some very interesting connections, which we can discuss for years to come with old and new fans alike.
 Gifford, Barry. “Interview with Novelist Barry Gifford,” 25:00-28:15. Wild At Heart, collector’s ed., Blu-ray. Directed by David Lynch. Los Angeles, CA: Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Studios, distributed by Shout! Factory, 2018.
 Glover, Crispin. “’Love, Death, Elvis, and OZ: The Making of Wild At Heart’ Documentary,” 28:00. Wild At Heart, collector’s ed., Blu-ray. Directed by David Lynch. Los Angeles, CA: Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Studios, distributed by Shout! Factory, 2018.
 Lynch, David and Kristine McKenna. Room to Dream (New York: Random House, 2018), 500.