David Lynch is not a horror director. He's never made a horror movie. While his movies deconstruct the very idea of narrative, they seldom show interest in different types of narrative conventions, and specifically horror conventions. None of his movies can specifically be considered vampire movies. None are haunted house movies. None are werewolf movies.
That doesn't mean his work holds little interest to the horror fan or horror writer. Unease and dread run through much of his filmography, and one can make the case that the contents of his movies terrify far more effectively than most horror fare. This is in part because the masters that populate his universe are more personal than the standard pantheon of either the Universal Classic Monsters or those from Hammer Studios. Both the Experiment and the Woodsmen from Twin Peaks: The Return come from the fathomless depths of Lynch's id; both are so jarring they fill one's blood with Freon.
Most horror guides point to Eraserhead as Lynch's go-to horror effort, but the first Lynch I ever encountered was Blue Velvet. It's more of a Neo-noir or psychological or erotic thriller, but it functions equally well as a horror movie. Frank Booth is one of the most psychotic characters you're likely to find outside of Patrick Bateman, while the underworld Jeffrey Beaumont enters is as surreal and uncanny as anything you'd find in the works of Clive Barker.
What is your favorite David Lynch movie? How about your favorite movie that is not marketed as horror but functions as one? Let me know in the comments.
Derek Austin Johnson has lived most of his life in the Lone Star State. A member of the Turkey City Writer's Workshop, his work has appeared in The Horror Zine, Tell-Tale Press, Skull Fragments: A Skelos Sampler, Rick Klaw's Rayguns Over Texas!, Nova Express, Moving Pictures, Her Majesty's Secret Servant, and Revolution SF. His film column "Watching the Future" appeared each month at Hugo Award-winning SF Signal.
He lives in Central Texas.