What You Need To Know:
Graphic and gory violence; murder; immolation; human sacrifice; witchcraft and blasphemy; extreme profanity and obscenity; chain-smoking; and, explicit sex scenes, promiscuity and adultery.
This murky melodrama bathed in sleaze, which unbelievably won first place at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival, is one of the most pretentious works ever put on screen. Laboriously slow in most places, it has very graphic killings (e.g., people’s heads being blown off) and very explicit, raunchy sex scenes.
Sailor and Lulu are the film’s lovers. He is an Elvis-copy, and she is a gum-chewing, white trash, Southern belle. Sailor has spurned the toilet-stall advances of Lulu’s neurotic and insanely obsessive mother, so she has sent an assassin to kill him. The mother is also concerned that he might have seen what happened the night she set her own husband on fire. In the brutal opening, Sailor literally cracks open the assassin’s head with his bare hands.
Raped at 13 by her father’s mob partner, Lulu also was a witness to her father’s murder by immolation, which was, in fact, a human sacrifice. Now at 18, Lulu is still battling her mother’s black-magic spell, who, incredibly, is portrayed as the evil witch from THE WIZARD OF OZ.
Sailor, who is out on parole from a manslaughter charge, absconds with Lulu to New Orleans. Mama hires a private eye and also a hit man to go after the pair (both of whom are rivals for the psychotic witch’s affections); then changes her mind. By then, the lovers have split for California via Texas, where Sailor hopes ex-girlfriend Perdita will let him know if a contract is out on him.
With their funds running dry and Lulu pregnant, Sailor is lured into a petty cash robbery that goes awry. Moreover, the barren junk yard town they find themselves in is populated with human castaways, pornographers and all-around bad characters, principally the malevolent Bobby Peru who also loses his cranium to a shotgun blast.
Liberally laced with four-letter words, nudity, fornication, violence, and bizarre happenings, the film is likely to turn stomachs everywhere. The director’s first film, BLUE VELVET, and his current tv series TWIN PEAKS, operate from the premise that unspeakable evil lurks just beneath mainstream America’s normalcy. He extends that premise in WILD AT HEART to say that there are no boundaries between the everyday and a lurid subterranean netherworld. This is a repugnant notion to even consider putting on film, so people everywhere are warned to avoid WILD AT HEART.