Who would have thought that pandemic-stricken 2020 would be one of the most productive years in David Lynch’s career? At 74 years old, Lynch has emerged as one of the quarantine era’s most prolific creators thanks to the launch of his David Lynch Theater project on YouTube. The director has been using the video page to give daily weather reports, conduct Q&A sessions with fans, and provide updates on the craft projects he’s working on in his woodshop. Best of all, Lynch has also been directing new short films in quarantine and releasing them directly on YouTube.
This week, Lynch world premiered his 90 second short film “The Adventures of Alan R.” The movie consists of only one shot and finds a severed head talking aloud while immobile on the floor. Lynch voices the head. “I am not going fishing, mom,” the head says. “Mom, I am not going fishing.” The sound of a ticking clock and wind noises are heard in the background. The floor resembles the black-and-white pattern of The Red Room in “Twin Peaks.”
“The Adventures of Alan R.” is the second new short film Lynch has debuted on YouTube following the world premiere of “The Story of a Small Bug” last month. The filmmaker has also been using the David Lynch Theater page to make some of his older short films available for streaming. Lynch’s black-and-white 2005 short “Pozar (Fire)” debuted online for the first time in May, while several installments of his “Rabbits” series were uploaded throughout June. At the beginning of July, Lynch uploaded his 2011 short “The 3Rs,” which he originally made as a trailer for the 2011 Vienna Film Festival.
The meaning behind “The Adventures of Alan R.” remains enigmatic like the majority of Lynch’s directing work. The “Alan R.” of the short film’s title is most likely a reference to Alan R. Splet, the sound designer who collaborated with Lynch on his 1970 short film “The Grandmother” and later the features “Eraserhead,” “The Elephant Man,” “Dune,” and “Blue Velvet.” Splet won an Oscar for his work on “The Black Stallion” and passed away in 1994.
IndieWire previously named Lynch and Splet landmark influencers in the craft of sound design. The pair’s soundscapes relied heavily on real-world elements such as the wind, with Splet’s love of classical music helping give the most abstract of sounds a melodic undertone. For “Eraserhead,” Splet famously recorded hours of wind noises at Findhorn in Scotland to use in the film. It’s no wonder then that “The Adventures of Alan R.” so prominently features wind noises. Splet’s trip to Findhorn could be the eponymous “adventure” Lynch is referring to in the title.
Watch “The Adventures of Alan R.” in the video below.