Long before he was bending our brains with feature films like Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, David Lynch made short films, which, in true Lynchian fashion, often turned the mundane into the unnerving. In 1968, Lynch released The Alphabet, a film that makes learning your letters nightmarish.
The Alphabet was the followup to Lynch’s student film Six Men Getting Sick (1967), and was inspired by a story that Lynch’s first wife, Peggy Reavey, told him. Reavey once shared a bedroom with her six-year-old niece and said that she once walked into the room to discover the girl reciting the alphabet while tossing and turning in her sleep. Lynch ran with the idea of the distressing alphabet, and made this four-minute short, which combines horror with Lynch’s oddball sense of humor.