Lost Highway is a 1997 film written and directed by David Lynch. The film stars Bill Pullman, Robert Loggia, Robert Blake, Balthazar Getty, Gary Busey, Michael Massee, and a cameo by Richard Pryor in his final theatrical film. The film had a budget of $15 million, but failed after making $3 million. Despite the film being a box office bomb, it gained a cult following and was later made into a musical.
Fred Madison (Bill Pullman), a Los Angeles saxophonist, receives a message on the intercom of his house: "Dick Laurent is dead". During a break at a show one night, Fred calls his home, but his wife Renée (Patricia Arquette) does not answer. Arriving home later, Fred finds her sleeping in their bed. The next morning, Renée finds a VHS tape on their porch which contains a videotape of their house. After having sex one night, Fred sees Renée's face as that of a pale old man, then tells Renée of a dream he had about someone resembling her being attacked. As the days pass, more tapes arrive showing the interior of their house and even shots of the pair asleep in bed. Fred and Renée call the police but the detectives they send over offer no assistance.
Fred and Renée then attend a party being thrown by her friend Andy (Michael Massee). At the party, the man Fred dreamed about approaches Fred, claiming to have met him before. The man then says he is at Fred's house at that very moment and even answers the house phone when Fred calls it. Fred learns from Andy that the man is a friend of Dick Laurent's. Terrified, Fred leaves the party and heads home with Renée. The next morning, another tape arrives and Fred watches it alone. To his horror, it shows him hovering over Renée's dismembered body. He is sentenced to death for her murder. While on death row, Fred is plagued by headaches and visions of the Mystery Man, a burning cabin in the desert and a strange man driving down a dark highway.
During a cell check, the prison guard finds that the man in Fred's cell is now Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty), a young auto mechanic. Pete is released into the care of his parents, who take him home and allude to - but never fully explain - his disappearance. Pete is followed by two detectives who are trying to find out more about him. The next day, Pete returns to work at the garage where gangster Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia), asks him to fix his car. Mr. Eddy takes Pete for a drive, on which Pete witnesses Mr. Eddy chase and beat down a tailgater. The next day, Mr. Eddy returns to the garage with his mistress, Alice Wakefield (also played by Arquette) and his Cadillac for Pete to repair. Later, Alice returns to the garage alone and invites Pete out for dinner. Soon, Pete and Alice begin an affair. Alice fears that Mr. Eddy suspects them, and concocts a scheme to rob her friend Andy and leave town. Alice then reveals to Pete that Mr. Eddy is actually an amateur porn producer named Dick Laurent.
Pete gets a phone call from Mr. Eddy and the Mystery Man, which frightens Pete so much that he decides to go along with Alice's plan. Pete ambushes Andy and accidentally kills him. Pete notices a photograph showing Alice and Renée together, with Alice claiming that she is the blonde woman in the photo. Later, when police are at the house investigating Andy's death, Alice is inexplicably missing from the photo.
Pete and Alice arrive at an empty cabin in the desert, the same one Fred had envisioned. The two start having sex, which ends with Alice getting up and disappearing into the cabin. Pete suddenly transforms back into Fred. Upon searching the cabin, he meets the Mystery Man, who begins filming and chasing Fred with a hand-held video camera, revealing himself to be responsible for the videotapes. Fred escapes and drives to the Lost Highway Hotel, where he finds Mr. Eddy and Renée having sex. After Renée leaves, Fred kidnaps Mr. Eddy, beats him and slits his throat. The Mystery Man then shoots Mr. Eddy dead and whispers something to Fred. The Mystery Man disappears and Fred drives off in Mr. Eddy's car. Fred drives to his old house, buzzes the intercom and says: "Dick Laurent is dead". When the two detectives drive up to the house, Fred runs back to his car and drives off, with the detectives in pursuit. Fred suddenly begins convulsing and screaming as his car speeds down the darkened highway.
- Bill Pullman as Fred Madison
- Patricia Arquette as Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield
- Balthazar Getty as Pete Dayton
- Robert Loggia as Mr. Eddy/Dick Laurent
- Robert Blake as The Mystery Man
- Gary Busey as Bill Dayton, Pete's father
- Lucy Butler as Candace Dayton, Pete's mother
- Michael Massee as Andy
- Richard Pryor as Arnie
- Natasha Gregson Wagner as Sheila
- John Roselius as Al
- Louis Eppolito as Ed
- Jack Nance as Phil, a mechanic
- Scott Coffey as Teddy
- Al Garrett as Carl
- Giovanni Ribisi as Steve "V"
- Henry Rollins as Guard Henry
- Michael Shamus Wiles as Guard Mike
- Mink Stole (voice only) as Forewoman
- Marilyn Manson and Twiggy Ramirez as porn stars
Why It Sucks
- Weak story.
- This was the last theatrical film to star Richard Pryor and it was a sad way to end his career before he died in 2005. It was also a sad way to end the career of actor Robert Blake before he got in hot water with the law in 2001.
- This was also Jack Nance's final film.