This week we discuss the landmark experimental film Eraserhead. Directed by the one and only David Lynch!! This is David’s 2nd pick of this year’s film slate. Does it still hold up?!
Synopsis for Eraserhead
Henry (John Nance) resides alone in a bleak apartment surrounded by industrial gloom. When he discovers that an earlier fling with Mary X (Charlotte Stewart) left her pregnant, he marries the expectant mother and has her move in with him. Things take a decidedly strange turn when the couple’s baby turns out to be a bizarre lizard-like creature that won’t stop wailing. Other characters, including a disfigured lady who lives inside a radiator, inhabit the building and add to Henry’s troubles.
David’s Written Review
It’s hard to believe that the same year Star Wars burst onto the big screen, Eraserhead slithered into the world. This was my introduction to my favorite director, David Lynch, and I vividly remember the first viewing experience (which was not ideal).
Still in high school, I leaned back in the Lazy-Boy in my parents’ living room and watched this on my laptop with earbuds in, and then afterwards sat there for a while while my brain processed what I’d just seen.
Eraserhead is not the best Lynch film or project, but it feels like the most distilled, it being his first feature film. It’s the nightmare of a young man orienting himself to the world, a vision I seem to relate to more every year. It’s a nightmare of fatherhood, commitment, adulthood. A nightmare of being trapped in a life you can’t escape.
Obviously, like all of Lynch’s work, the movie is best thought of as a dream. The creature effects of the . . . child are still baffling and unnerving. The black-and-white cinematography gives the film an almost primitive but timeless quality. Every surreal gesture or line of dialogue or set piece feels irreplaceable, inevitable. Although there have been a treasure trove of similar dream-like arthouse films produced since 1977, I still haven’t seen one that feels quite as earnest and genuine as Eraserhead.