Hopper knew how to play off his strengths without getting boxed in. In 1986, he created a one-of-a-kind villain as Frank Booth, the sleazoid at the center of the small-town rackets in David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" (right). Under Frank's influence, wispy songs of adolescent longing, like Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet," or Roy Orbison's "In Dreams," become druggy, sadomasochistic anthems. To Hopper's Frank, blue velvet isn't poetic: he's hung up on the actual material. And when he recites Orbison's lyrics -- "In dreams I walk with you/In dreams I talk to you/In dreams you're mine" -- they become terrifying. Hopper's performance goes over-the-top in character -- you could call it a topless performance, but it's bottomless, too. In "Blue Velvet" he acts with the veins on his forehead.