Blue Velvet (1986) | Directed by David Lynch
Perhaps the most perfect marriage of filmmaker and song comes with Lynch’s choice to name his film after the The Clovers’ “Blue Velvet”, though he uses and was far more interested in Bobby Vinton’s more iconic version. The atmosphere created by the song, even just its title, is exactly the kind of grotesque and luxurious mysteriousness that Lynch embraces in this film especially and in most of his work. The use of vintage pop songs in the film, like “Velvet” and Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams,” are used in ways that add to the haunting mood, capturing the high-end horror of Lynch’s world in their sound.
Candyman (1992) | Directed by Bernard Rose
Though this example is less intentional than the others, it is nonetheless notable in what it inevitably evokes: the Willy Wonka song. The title of the Clive Barker story the film is based on, The Forbidden, was abandoned in favor of the story’s villain, which just so happens to culturally connect with the Wonka song in particular. Gene Wilder’s creepy performance is the most memorable element of the 1971 film, so the association becomes a fortunate one that gives viewers a note of uneasiness even before jumping in.
American Pie (1999) | Directed by Chris & Paul Weitz
And there’s American Pie. It’s hard to say in exactly what order the sequence of events played out, but at any rate, this movie has an infamous scene of Jason Biggs masturbating with a pie, so let’s name the film after the legendary song by Don McLean! It’s a great joke, and making that the title only heightens its effectiveness. Its become such a franchise by now that the two are always thought of together, without effort, which is funny in itself. It actually reminds me of this one time at band camp…