Out for a walk one afternoon in his well-manicured suburban hometown, fresh-faced everylad Jeffrey Beaumont (MacLachlan) discovers a severed ear in a field, and promptly notifies the police. When they respond with curious indifference, Jeffrey decides to investigate with the help of his girlfriend, Sandy (Dern), and uncovers a nocturnal world of crime, sexual perversion, and drug-addled weirdness involving mysterious chanteuse Dorothy Vallens (Rossellini) and her frighteningly brutal companion, Frank Booth (Hopper).
This hallucinogenic mystery-thriller from cult director Lynch explores the twisted underside of small-town American life, fusing perverse noirish elements with a classic Hitchcockian whodunit. Lynch's imprint is everywhere, including MacLachlan's deliberately trance-like acting, Rossellini's melodramatic distress, and Hopper's over-the-top turn as the angry, liquid ether-inhaling sadist who has a violently sexual hold on Dorothy. (Also check out Dean Stockwell's sublime, campy turn as one of Frank's odd-ball colleagues!) Even the music — the title Bobby Vinton song and Angelo Badalamenti's eerie score — completes the director's disquieting effect. "Blue Velvet" stands as a cult classic: a lurid parable about innocence and evil that mystery/noir fans will find irresistible.