Blue Velvet sent a shock wave through the film world in 1986, just when Hollywood was in another one of its factory-production heydays. While most pictures were being engineered by studio marketing departments, here was a movie that seeped directly from its maker’s consciousness (a crazy consciousness at that). Blue Velvet opens in a satirically picturesque vision of Small Town U.S.A, where a college student (Kyle MacLachlan) has reluctantly returned home. When he stumbles across a severed ear in a field, it leads him and a stereotypical girl next door (Laura Dern) into a mystery that involves a nightclub singer (Isabella Rossellini) and the violent, perverted drug dealer who obsesses over her (Dennis Hopper, single-handedly turning the film into a bad trip). This is largely regarded as a spoof of suburbia – and indeed, its opening scene, in which the camera pans below a manicured lawn to reveal squirming bugs underneath, may be the genre’s defining image. But the movie is more about the danger of flirting with your dark side (especially when it leads to others who have darker sides than you). Spying on the singer from her closet, MacLachlan’s Jeffrey gets to see more than he bargained for when Hopper’s Frank arrives for a scary S&M session. From there, Jeffrey spirals further away from squeaky-clean Americana and into a lurid underworld populated by aggressively cryptic characters and heavyset prostitutes doing the twist to Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams.