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CoastLine: Blue Velvet catapults Makeup Effects Artist Jeff Goodwin into long Hollywood career, but that's not why he loves the controversial film

Mr. Ear
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The severed human ear created by Makeup Effects Artist Jeff Goodwin for the 1986 David Lynch film, Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet stars Isabella Rossellini, Kyle McLachlan, Laura Dern, and Dennis Hopper. Written and produced by David Lynch, The New York Times notes the film has been called both ''the sickest movie ever made'' and ''the work of a genius naif.'' Makeup Effects Artist Jeff Goodwin created the horrifying and iconic severed human ear in the film, in addition to cuts, abrasions, a brain protruding from a live human skull, and other gore. The ear, however, developed into its own character on set and became known as "Mr. Ear."

Blue Velvet: a 1986 film critics have described as a psychological thriller, neo-noir, cult classic. Written and directed by David Lynch, The New York Times notes the film has been called both ''the sickest movie ever made'' and ''the work of a genius naif.''

It stars Isabella Rossellini, Kyle McLachlan, Laura Dern, and Dennis Hopper. The famous film critic duo, Siskel and Ebert, debated whether the story justified the utter humiliation and debasement of Isabella Rossellini. In fact, Gene Siskel waxed almost poetic about the artistry of the film and chided Roger Ebert in his pain for Rossellini, noting the Director was playing him like a piano. Ebert shot back: “If someone wants to play me like a piano, he better get some music worth listening to!”

But that divergent reaction is part of the legacy of Blue Velvet. Filmmakers around the world knew – and know – the film – which launched the career of makeup artist Jeff Goodwin. After Goodwin worked on this film, his short time hustling for work was over.

Makeup Artist and Makeup Effects Artist Jeff Goodwin with Mr. Ear from the 1986 David Lynch film, Blue Velvet
RLH
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Makeup Artist and Makeup Effects Artist Jeff Goodwin with Mr. Ear from the 1986 David Lynch film, Blue Velvet

Since then, makeup and makeup effects artist Jeff Goodwin has worked in both TV and film – including on Ride with the Devil, Sleeping With The Enemy, JFK, Betsy's Wedding, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Swamp Thing, Under the Dome, One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek, Scream 5, and the TV miniseries War and Peace which was shot in Russia. And that is hardly an exhaustive list. Jeff Goodwin is also gearing up to work with the Film Production Department at Cape Fear Community College. And he has, according to Film Director David Lynch, extraordinarily small ears.

The NC Filmmaker Series is hosting a free screening of Blue Velvet Sunday, January 16, 2022 at The Pointe 14 in Wilmington at 4PM. A live Q and A with Jeff Goodwin follows the movie.

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Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.