“Lost Highway” and other David Lynch films; “Body Snatchers”: can people ever trade bodies?

One of the most controversial films of David Lynch is “Lost Highway” (1997).  In the plot, a troubled saxophone player Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) is taunted by a “Mystery Man” and intrusive video tapes left at his home.  He winds up accused of killing his wife and in prison, even on death row. Suddenly he seems to switch bodies with a young auto mechanic named Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty).  Eventually, he switches back.

One can read the entire plot synopsis on Wikipedia, with all its twists and connections between the two protagonists’ narratives. But does it really make sense to “trade bodies”?  Would the composite person have recollection of both lives?  Would he bear the consequences of his actions in both lives?  Of course, we could pose the questions for “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and its remakes.  And remember that in Season 3 of Smallville, Clark Kent and Lex Luthor switch bodies for one episode?

Some commentators say that the Dayton part of the (“Lost Highway”) film is a  “fiction fantasy” where Fred has to come to terms with his own inherent evil. Others say he is an impotent “incomplete character”, like J. Afred Prurock.

Other films have this aspect of strangeness.  “Blue Velvet” (with its famous song) presents Kyle MacLachlan as a college student, returning home to Lumberton, NC “where woodchucks chuck.”  His finding of a severed ear and his curiosity leads him on an odyssey, hiding in a nightclub singer’s apartment, as her child has been kidnapped.


Maybe one of the most layered is “Inland Empire” (2006), where an actress’s life starts to mimic the film she is making, and which was a remake of a project that had failed before because of a tragedy.


Another odyssey was “Wild at Heart”, a cockroach and vomit-laced road trip from North Carolina.

“Eraserhead”, one of the earliest films, gave us a monster born fetus for the forlorn couple to raise.  “In Heaven, everything is fine” according to the Radiator Lady” (link).  Lynch talks about this film on “The City of Absurdity” here; a wiki explains this odd lady character here.

Of course, we all remember the famous CBS series “Twin Peaks” in the early 1990s.  The mystery kept building up, with echoes of aliens and wood spirits in the background.  I remember the episode that ended with the line “Warm Milk”.

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