Director's weird world

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 May, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 May, 1993, 12:00am

DAVID Lynch's Wild at Heart (Pearl 9.45pm, Original Running Time 125 mins) is a road-movie through Hell - or is it Graceland? - which draws heavily on the surreal, sinister themes explored in two of his other creations Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks.

Violent, petty criminal Sailor (Nicholas Cage) and his redhot lover Lula (Laura Dern) are passionately in love and on the lam from her mother (Dern's real Mom Diane Ladd) who sends sleazy admirer (Harry Dean Stanton) to find them.

Cage does his Elvis, Dern does her (skinny) Marilyn as they go on the road and enter a sinister world of bloody violence, grotesque freaks (witness Willem Dafoe), and wild sexual passion. Throw in an encounter with Glenda the Good from Oz and you have all the weird ingredients of a typical Lynch outing.

At times, the director's obsession with things nasty becomes too much, but forgive him for the film's great moments are exhilaratingly startling. At least they were - Nicholas Cage said of his scenes with Dern: ''We wanted to show that sex could be goodand hard, and still be loving,'' so there won't be much of that left after the censors have done their bit.

THERE'S violence and gore of a more slimy kind in The Thing (World 9.30pm, ORT 108 mins). This is a 1982 remake of the 1951 Howard Hughes film about an Antarctic outpost terrorised by an alien with an attitude.

The original relied on suspense to make it frightening, the remake looks to a non-stop stream of repulsive special effects, and is not nearly so scary.

Kurt Russell (Backdraft) and Richard Dysart (LA Law) star.

PEARL begins another new early evening sitcom this week, with the pilot of Flesh 'n Blood (6.15pm).

Lisa Darr plays assistant state attorney Rachel Brennan who was adopted at birth and has all but given up trying to find her real family. Then her long lost brother, Arlo Weed (David Keith) turns up complete with two children, and Rachel suddenly has three Weeds in her house. THE second one-day international cricket match between Australia and England will be broadcast live (Prime Sports 5.30pm) from Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Australia won the first by four runs. THE ultimate in nerve-wracking quiz shows, Mastermind (BBC 7.25pm) reaches the end of its 21st series tonight, when the final is broadcast from the Commonwealth Institute in London.

The appeal of the long-running show is still something of a mystery - particularly to the stream of contestants, who willingly subject themselves to sitting under a spotlight in a darkened venue attempting to answer cryptic questions fired at them by stoney-faced host Magnus Magnusson.

This finalists' specialist subjects are: the Crusades 1095-1154; the French/Indo-China War 1945-54; the life and reign of Napoleon III; and the modern Olympic Games. Riveting.