The sexual abuse theory postulates that much of what we see in the
film can be attributed to Diane having experienced child abuse at the hands of someone close to her.
top & raw meat in paper sack
Dad's best friend
goes to work
violence in the couch scene
by fireplace in Diane's apt
fan in Twin
miming a climax?
not seeing things
A deal for silence?
At the airport, we hear the old
lady saying "It's been so nice travelling with you.", but as Betty
is arriving for her new life she parts with them there. Betty/Diane sees
them leaving in the limo, but with very menacing looks on their faces,
suggesting that even though she has left them behind, they are still lurking
out there as a possible menace in ways of memories of her sexual abuse »more
A little girl's and a man's giggle
followed by high-pitched screams heard before the old couple drive Diane
down the hallway into her bedroom. We could see this as a repressed memory
coming back to Diane
In the end the old couple coming
from the paper sack, with a pop top and a piece of raw meat, representing
use, abuse and discarding her. You also could read the rotten corpse in her
bed as Diane's abused body
Betty comes from Deep River,
Ontario. "Deep River" was the name of the apartment complex of
Dorothy in "Blue Velvet", where she is repeatedly abused by Frank »MD Trivia
The "Beatrice Cenci"
painting in aunt Ruth's apt. is of the famously abused woman who had her
one that is not at all obvious but certainly an easier connection (than the
painting) is the Rita
Hayworth poster. It's no secret that Hayworth was an alleged
incest victim by her father. She was dancing professionally with him when
she was only 12 »Real
In this scene she was rehearsing with an actor named Woody and Betty's
character referred to him as Dad's Best Friend. Woody and Dad's best
friend are references to a penis and Betty's abuser (»more
on Woody Katz ). In her dream Betty
takes control and flips the tables. She is the one who makes the more
sexual advance towards Woody. This is Diane's way of dealing with her
abuse by (in her dream) trying to take control of it.
In Twin Peaks it is Laura Palmer who refers to Bob as "DAD'S BEST
FRIEND". Bob (her father's "evil identity") has sexually
abused her for years
play it for real until it gets real!". That Betty/Diane can imagine how
to play this scene "for real" must give us pause to think why she
can do it so well. What does she bring from her background to the role that
helps her understand it so well?
The naivety of Betty saying
how Wally must be ok because he seems so nice and he is a
friend of her aunt
The bruises on
the prostitute's left arm indicate sexual violence
When Adam opens the door to
find Lorraine in bed with the pool man, latter says, "Just forget you ever saw it. It's better that way."
This dialogue is Diane's mind telling her to repress the memories
pool man's name is GENE, he is a POOL cleaner, he's having SEX with Adam's
wife. Put three of the most prominent aspects of his character together
and you get "genepool sex", which could indicate incestuous
In the sex scene on the couch, when Camilla says "We shouldn't do
this anymore", instead of asking why? or being hurt, Diane does what
worked for her abuser, tells Camilla viciously "don't ever say
that" and hurts her physically
has never been an actual film made called "The Sylvia North
Story." But interestingly enough, in 1965, during the possible time
period of the songs sung during the audition, there was a movie called
title character's full name was Sylvia West, and the movie recounts
how the title character was raped by her step-father at the age of 14, and
how she became a prostitute when she was older
There is a potential
that children who are sexually abused end up being in adult/sexual
relationships with an abusive partner. Diane was definitely
mentally/psychologically abused by Camilla. So the abuse in her youth might
have caused her to end up in a very abusive, unfulfilling relationship now
(presumably) Aunt Ruth scan the room and look precisely at the same spot on
the carpet where the blue box dropped down. Only Aunt Ruth sees nothing.
Suggesting that the abuser was the male and the female partner either
overlooked it, turned a blind eye to it, or somehow missed it altogether. Ruth = "Grief" or should we see "aUNTRUTH"?
Peculiar violence in the masturbation scene.
Also, when Diane masturbates, we see a fan for a few frames against the blurring wall. Could
a reference to the ceiling van in Twin Peaks? Leland used to turn the fan
before raping his daughter
In Club Silencio,
one female in the audience bears
a striking resemble to Sheryl Lee who played Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks (who
had been abused by her father) »more
Strange human sounds in
before Betty goes under convulsion
The Magician as
At the end of his performance Betty's body gets tense and starts
shaking uncontrollably. While she does this, the magician's face looks like
he is straining, and he is somewhat tense as well. And then, suddenly there
is the sound of a man making a grunting sound, like he is releasing
something pent up inside of him. Then the magician relaxes with an evil grin
on his face, as Betty also relaxes finally, looking unsure of what just
happened. The magician was forcing Diane to relive how her Betty-like innocence was lost long ago when she had been raped as a
»Club Silencio and the abuse
Aunt Ruth and the bedroom
If the appearance of Aunt Ruth as the last image prior to the "transition to reality"
is intended to be seen as a visualization of Diane's subconscious activity, then the choice suggests that it must have a significance to her that should not be underestimated. What this image could be
signaling/representing is the repressed notion that Aunt Ruth somehow missed, overlooked or ignored something that happened in Diane's bedroom that had such
devastating traumatic impact on the latter that it led her to escape into a fantasy world, but as it continues to threaten to surface towards conscious recognition, simultaneously destroys any hope of escape through fantasy.
Could some atrocious "accident" have taken place in Diane's bedroom when she was young? Could Aunt Ruth have been part of it in some way? Did she ignore/partake in it? Was she paid to keep it quiet (and then did she subsequently bequeath the money to
Diane out of guilt)? Was Aunt Ruth's sin of omission/silence the most traumatic part for
Think about some of the images that appear in the bedroom at, on, or more precisely just to the left
of the bed:
discarded/disheveled clothing (which is explained quickly thereafter by an image of a woman trembling in a shower, trying to get herself clean and having suffered a severe loss of
We see a great deal of money passed from one hand to another, we see a handshake deal that a secret be kept regarding that money.
The deal is made without a word being exchanged
We see a clouded/distorted image of a young blonde girl surrounded by two old people just prior to a face hitting a pillow - (it is barely perceptible as though the person seeing it is trying to repress
We hear that the person whose face hits the pillow is breathing in a very distressed manner and the camera moves in such a way to suggest that the person whose face hits the pillow has just picked herself up from the
floor/rug. At Club Silencio we see Rebekah Del Rio collapsing on a rug. Next
scene, a blue box falls on (similar looking) rug
We see a long thin cylindrical object with a bulbous end inserted into a box - both are blue, the colour of sadness. A phallic key hastily and crudely inserted into a "box" to satisfy a deep but dangerous curiosity and suddenly whole identities disappear. Betty vanishes - perhaps subconsciously Diane cannot bear to be around when this repressed "accident" surfaces into
And it's certainly no coincidence that, after the two old people chase
Diane into the bedroom, she is ending her life on the bed
was always a believer that Diane was abused as a child, most likely by a family
member. Not only because of the clues in the film, but also because of the
prevalence of child abuse in Lynch's films. However, I was never really
convinced that her abuse was central to the film's meaning, until recently.
Diane's uncle or father (or whoever it might have been) sexually abused her as a
child, and Aunt Ruth knew about it. Diane threatened to tell someone what was
happening, but Aunt Ruth couldn't bear the secret to be let out, so she makes an
agreement between the two of them. If Diane keeps quiet, she can have some (or
all) of her aunt's money when she's gone. However, the damage this did to Diane was enormous.
"Silencio." There are those who believe one of the greatest
sins there is, is silence.
Diane's dream is a replay of her sexual abuse
Cowboy representing the abuser
With the Cowboy being the last image of Diane's fantasy, he becomes associated to the harsh reality or rude awakening that forces her out of her dream world. What he says and does brings her back to her world of despair. This leads me to believe that we can connect his actions very closely to the actions of Diane's grandfather, because he is the one associated with her harsh reality. He came into her bedroom one morning saying "Hey pretty girl. Time to wake up." What he saw was the young Diane who, while still a girl, was now starting to express a womanly sensuality, much like that of the Rita persona. This caused a terrible "accident," which is to say, something overcame the grandfather and he sexually abused Diane. Then when he leaves, the girl's image has changed to the bullet-ridden image of the dead Diane Selwyn, the one that is some terrible mixture of the Rita and Betty personas. And from thereafter, her girlishness and womanliness were never able to merge in a healthy way. This is the harsh reality that greets Diane as she awakens from her fantasy.
- (Alan Shaw)
A replay of Diane's sexual abuse?
we get to Adam/Diane's home we go back to a scene with Betty and Rita, and Betty
asks, "I wonder where you were going?"
And Rita answers, "Mulholland Drive."
That is in fact where Adam's home was and it is also where a great big
accident happened that changed everything. In
this context I believe the accident becomes a metaphor for a terrible thing that
happened in real life to Diane when she was still a girl.
And what was the terrible thing? It
is revealed when Adam gets home. He
discovers a terrible infidelity. In his
real life it was between his wife, Lorraine, and Gene, the pool man.
But what does this mean in Diane's life. The
first clue is that Lorraine is a blonde, and this means she may have some
connection to Diane. But who does the
pool man represent who had sex with her? The name of the man is GENE POOLman,
i.e. incestual abuse is what is the issue. The
next clue is that Adam takes the family jewels and pours pink paint all over
them. The "family jewels" is a
slang term for the testicles of the man of the family, and pink paint represents
Diane's innocent sexuality. So, by
pouring pink paint over the family jewels Adam is showing us that it was the
father figure who had sex with Diane. When
you place this idea into the context of the infidelity that Adam has discovered,
we can deduce that what Adam is told when he comes into the bedroom may have
been what Diane was told when the incest was discovered.
Because of that dialogue we can assume that Diane was probably blamed for
what happened by her mother figure and told to keep it quiet by the father
figure. "Now you've done it,"
Lorraine says. "Just forget you ever
saw it. It's better that way," says
Gene. I believe that Adam's subsequent
beating and nosebleed is a metaphor for Diane's lost virginity. -
The whole middle of the movie is one prolonged scene revealing Diane’s
troubled past, although superficially we see scenes that shift between different
Rita and Betty discover the money, and the question of where the money came from
is answered in the short street scene with the prostitute. (This scene is framed
by two close-ups of Betty, the first being an extreme close-up into her eyes).
After the money/prostitution scene follows Betty's urge to try to find out if
there was also "an accident" (on Mulholland Dr), with
"accident" being a symbol for the abuse. To this idea of exploring the
accident Adam (in the car) states three times "I’m going home",
indicating that it was "in the family"/"at home" that the
abuse took place. After we then see the abuse scene "at home", Betty
closes this segment of the movie with "Let’s hide it". In this
composite scene Diane has laid open all her traumas, but she will not
acknowledge them. Rita and Betty hide away the evidence, and in what? A BLUE
BOX! (A hat box). After that they shake hands on the deal to suppress the
evidence and go out, which means that Diane’s fantasy world can be upheld for
a longer time. - (romdal)
may note that there are no children in Lynch's work (except for that spooking
child magician in "Twin Peaks"). The only child in "Blue
Velvet" is being held hostage by Frank Booth. Even the high school girls in
"Twin Peaks" are not children, but full-grown women, implying that
sexual activity robs people of their childhood. The recurring theme of an
outwardly innocent and happy world with a dark sinister secret is consistent
with child sexual abuse. - (David Castenson)
!Following post contains major
spoilers for other Lynch films: Lost Highway, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks!
It does not seem like too broad a generalization to say that families in David Lynch films are not happy families. They are more likely to be incestuous and violent, twisted or torn apart by repressed memories and unspeakable secrets: Fred in Lost Highway murders his wife; Marietta Pace in Wild at Heart is complicit in her husband's death and tries to seduce her daughter's boyfriend; Leland Palmer molests and kills his daughter Laura in Twin Peaks; in Blue Velvet Frank Booth obviously (and Jeffrey Beaumont, less obviously), has basic Oedipal issues to work through. And let it suffice to say of Eraserhead that Henry Spencer's dinner with his girlfriend Mary's family, the Xes, is among the least pleasant of all the strained and unpleasant family dinner scenes ever filmed (possibly excepting the one in Fire Walk With Me), and that the nuclear family unit formed by Henry and Mary and their infant is also less than traditionally strong and nurturing. Given all that, we would be willing marks if we weren't skeptical about any family-values platitudes uttered by one of Lynch's characters, or suspicious of a Lynchian family that didn't conceal an internecine crime at its heart.
- (Tim Kreider & Rob Content)
movie about mind control? - (Rochas Triumphant)
A list of behaviours, evinced by Betty/Diane, which suggest that she has been part of a mind-control programme at some point in her young life:
Traumatic nightmares, incorporating entities and situations that refer indirectly to past abuses, though likely are not strict facsimiles of actual scenes of abuse
Sleep cycle initiation and disruption by encoded modifiers (like, for example, a guy in a big cowboy hat dropping by with canned
Memory lapses and missing time
Structured, dissociated states, producing manifest personalities with varying operational capacities,
consistent with Project BLUEBIRD-style conditioning
Abnormal attention to iconography and symbology, common or uncommon
In females, sudden initiation of sexual advances, consistent
with Project Monarch-style training
Infantilisation and age-regression during stress
Abnormal emphasis upon control and routine, to avoid conflict and subconscious fragmentation
Inability for one dissociated personality to expressly recognise (give countenance to) another (e.g. voice recordings)
Association of pain responses with specific, external abuse-figures
Retreat from actual interpersonal relations into an idealised, fantasy world
Susceptibility to hallucination, particularly twinning or multiple 'alters'
Confusion and inability to focus when not 'bedded' in a given persona
Natural abilities to 'inhabit' roles as an actor, particularly within the Stanislavsky or 'Method' school of theatre and film acting; ability to rapidly
'shed' and 'acquire' roles
Advanced skills in lying and dissimulation, often performed without extensive conscious thought
Dissonant personal history, including plausible but unverifiable information which may seem unusually dated, prosaic or unrealistic
Moral passivity in situations which would ordinarily produce extreme emotional and ethical reactions
Full-spectrum responses typical of post-traumatic syndromes
Suicidal tendencies, possibly resulting from 'self-destruct' conditioning to provide cleanup at mission closure
Drug dependence and abuse, leading from ameliorative self-medicative efforts
Friends and loved ones frequently report the subject as being 'somehow absent' or dislocated from their everyday context
Sudden disappearances, often for extended durations with concurrent appearance at locations with no known link to the previous life of the subject, and subsequent commencement of alternative life with new name, identity, lifestyle, etc.
consistent with the as-yet-theoretical controlled dissociative fugue state