Recurring motifs and themes in the world of DAVID LYNCH

Team FC

Red Drapes

In 'Twin Peaks', 'Eraserhead', 'Blue Velvet' and 'Lost Highway', Lynch repeatedly used red curtains to symbolise the fact that humans are filled with dread when it comes to the unseen. He constantly conceals the horrors behind those heavy, rippling red drapes...


The classic chevron floor pattern in the red room first appears in Jean Cocteau's 'Orphée' as Jean's eponymous poet ventures like Agent Cooper into the realm of the underworld. We see the pattern again in 'Eraserhead' and 'Twin Peaks: The Return'.


A vehicle for exploring and embracing the subconscious, dreams take on a lot of importance in Lynch's films. Agent Cooper's dreams help him solve Laura's murder. John Merrick dreams of his mother in 'Elephant Man'. And who can forget Ben's rendition of "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison in 'Blue Velvet'.


Lynch is obsessed with doppelgängers in his films. What's so important about them? Is it meant to represent the duality within ourselves — the light and the dark? Or simply to show how easy is it for humans to fracture and break under pressure. Both Agent Cooper and Laura Palmer have their own doubles in 'Twin Peaks'. Again in 'Mulholland Drive' Naomi Watts plays both Diane and Betty.

Surreal elements

From the electrical tree in 'Twin Peaks' to the terrifying dirty, hairy creature that lives outside the café in 'Mulholland Drive' or the puffy-cheeked lady in 'Eraserhead' — it's these alien moments that are most unsettling, that rock our sense of reality and remind us that strangeness exists everywhere, even in the most mundane setting.


Mirrors crop up constantly in the world of 'Twin Peaks'. From Josie Packard to maniacally laughing Cooper in the shattered mirror or The Black Lodge which is a sinister, Lewis Carroll-esque mirror world, where people speak backwards and nothing is quite what it seems — to quote Orphée, "Mirrors are the door ls by which death comes."