10 | Eraserhead (1977) – Lady in the Radiator (Lauren Near)
Lady in the Radiator has puffy cheeks and looks more or less like a cauliflower. Like most of Lynch’s creations, there is no traditional explanation at to who she is and where she’s come from except in a form of Henry’s (Jack Nance) hallucinations. In one surreal moment, Lady in the Radiator dances to carnivalesque music and squishes dropping placentas with her shoe. Perhaps, this represents Henry’s baby guilt and sexual encounter with the lady across the hallway. You be the judge.
9 | Wild at Heart (1990) – Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe)
Not so much odd in a strange sense, but definitely creepy. In Peru’s most memorable moment he barrages in on Lula (Laura Dern) asking for her boyfriend Sailor (Nicolas Cage), but uses the toilet instead. Peru turns from pleasant to utterly horrible. His sleazy leather jacket and slicked back hair gives him a tough appearance but the close up camera work of his defective teeth and Peru’s voice changing an octave higher adjusts the power dynamics and shows him as truly deformed and a freakish kinda guy.
8 | Twin Peaks (1990) – The Man from Another Place (Michael J. Anderson)
What a legend this guy is, famously dressed in a red suit while speaking backwards. The Man from Another Place is found in the Black Lodge (aka the Red Room), a strange dreamlike space for unanswered truths, where he supplies Special Agent Dale Copper (Kyle MacLachlan) with cryptic clues regarding Lauren Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) death. Besides being presented in such an odd environment, the man from another place is actually an uplifting character, especially when he pulls a few dance moves.
7 | Twin Peaks (1990) – The Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson)
Her real name is Margaret Lanterman, but hey, it’s the Log Lady. The Log Lady speaks telepathically through her, um, log, which she holds like a child. “My log hears things I cannot hear. But my log tells me about the sounds, about the new worlds. Even though it has stopped growing larger, my log is aware”. The Log Lady is a bearer of truth and an insightful character who knows the town’s secrets more than anyone else.
6 | Eraserhead (1977) – Mutant baby
Who could forget the mutant baby from Eraserhead. Apparently it was created from an embalmed foetus belonging to a cow. It doesn’t have a name but it definitely has charm and surreal beauty of its own. The creature makes the familiar sounds of a new born, which helps to give it vulnerability and a humanistic side. But in true Lynch style, the baby develops hideous lumps from an illness, which brings us back to that initial scare of a weird mutant baby without limbs, wrapped in bandages.
5 | Mulholland Drive (2001) – Man Behind Winkies (Bonnie Aarons)
The reveal of the Man Behind Winkies is one of the scariest moments in Mulholland Drive and is in fact played by female actor Bonnie Aarons. Essentially a bum painted black who hides behind a wall, this character is drawn from a nightmare that becomes a frightening reality. The build up to his appearance evokes both a foreboding and dread. Although we witness the character for only a split second, it is a memorable and unique Lynch moment which will haunt you for some time to come.
4 | Mulholland Drive (2001) – The Cowboy (Monty Montgomery)
The Cowboy is odd, frank and humorous. He’s literally dressed as a cowboy and appears to have no eyebrows. Unfortunately, The Cowboy is only in a few scenes, but makes up for it in true style. His most memorable moment is when he meets director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux), urging him to cast Camilla Rhodes (Melissa George) in his upcoming film. The Cowboy’s straight forward dialogue slowly builds in intensity.
3 | Lost Highway (1997) – Mystery Man (Robert Blake)
Mystery Man looks pretty damn frightening. A pale faced man with dark lipstick, no eyebrows and a very expressive face. He’s another character to bridge the gap between dreams and reality. The first time mystery man is introduced, he informs Fred (Bill Pullman) that they’ve meet before, referring to the nightmare Fred had. The scene gets even weirder, when standing in front of Fred, the Mystery Man tells Fred’s he’s currently in his house. Fred rings home and the Mystery Man answers it.
2 | Twin Peaks (1990) – Bob (Frank Silva)
Frank, originally the set designer on Twin Peaks, got his role as Bob (Frank Silva) after accidentally being filmed in a bedroom scene. Apparently this was due to sticking out of nowhere and looking pretty creepy behind a bed. Bob is a long haired, double denim wearing character that definitely looks like your regular tradie, only you can tell something’s not right. Bob may blend in with the rest of the 90s lumberjack costumes, only he appears in odd locations like a teenage girl’s bedroom. Without disclosing too much information, Bob is a sort of supernatural being who embodies evil and primal instincts represented throughout the narrative. Beware.
1 | Blue Velvet (1986) – Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper)
Occupying our top spot is the brilliant Dennis Hopper as the sociopath Frank Booth. Booth blackmails Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) into violent sadomasochistic acts. Although we try not to laugh when we witness Frank’s weird sexual acts, like inhaling a gas mask, baby fetishism, and fixation with the feel of Dorothy’s blue velvet material, there’s an element of humour. Perhaps because he is so intense and frightening, it becomes genuinely odd.