Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Mulholland Drive Diner Scene from Modern Scene on Vimeo.
This scene is amazing because Dan tells you exactly what happens in the dream, so when he confronts it and everything unfolds in the same manner he described, you'd think it'd take the scare tension away because you already know what's going to happen. You end up feeling every bit of dread the character does all the way up until that final moment.
I especially love the touch of the ENTRANCE sign hanging up on the wall that's pointing the opposite direction in which they are walking. Once they pass that point, there's no going back.
If I had to pick a scariest moment, it’s the diner scene from Mulholland Dr. Even in a movie full of abstract digressions and symbolism, the scene has nothing to do with plot. It’s so simple, it’s almost stupid—a guy tells another guy about a bad dream, and then they go outside and see the bad dream is real. Part of the reason it’s so effective is that you know what’s going to happen. Lynch uses that knowledge to make it worse, to get to the primal nerve endings where it doesn’t matter if I’m a grown-up and I own a car and I have a job and I know that shadows at night don’t mean anything. The scene, like the best horror-movie scenes, stares viewers straight in the eye and then just keeps on staring.
Although it was hilarious when we watched it in company, the scene is sublimely creepy when seen alone, with headphones, in the dark. For all of Lynch’s difficult subject matter and idiosyncrasies, he knows how to craft a scene. Some might argue that’s all he knows how to do, and his movies are just a collection of such scenes. In any case, the tension here is terrific; the nervous laugh of the tormented man telling the story of his dream; the sinister ambient noise and muted background; his sheer panicked sweat, despite the Winkie’s air-conditioning. As the long shots travel down to the back of the diner, the viewer is filled with a dread much more powerful than the appearance of the actual dream man. It’s quite comical the way that he doesn’t so much step out from behind the wall, but looks wheeled out by some unseen gurney of spookery. All in all, the man is much more unsettling in the minds of the audience, which is exactly how Mr. Lynch wanted him to be.