Director – David Lynch
Cast – Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates, Judith Roberts, Laurel Near
Release Year – 1977
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Infamous director David Lynch truly made a name for himself with this film, which eventually led to him giving us The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, and Mulholland Drive, all critically acclaimed films as well. One of the most well known films of all time, Eraserhead graces numerous “Top 10 Most F*cked Up Films of All Time” lists, and rightfully so. This film’s form of “horror” is unlike the horror you find in other horror flicks. The surrealist form of horror this film portrays is unique, and not necessarily scary in the ways we normally associate “scary” with, but scary in the form of demented desire and perception of mundane life.
Eraserhead follows actor Jack Nance as Henry Spencer, a naïve and solemn industrial worker with a fascination for dirt, and the creepy crawlies that come with it. While on vacation from his job as a printer, he resumes contact with his overly annoying girlfriend, and learns that she has birthed a hideously deformed child that belongs to him. We are now thrown into his world and are forced to witness the mental trauma that comes with having an overbearing girlfriend, and listening the hawking cries of your hideously deformed newborn child.
What I just mentioned are the basic elements of the film’s “plot”. I cannot go further into the plot simply because…well…I am still not quite sure what this film is about. You can have ten people watch this film, and all ten of them will give different answers as to what this film is about. I have my ideas of what this film is aiming to portray, which is the struggle David Lynch went through during his years in the industrial area of Philadelphia, and a representation of the thoughts going through his mind at the time. This is truly why I adore this film so much. This film is so GENIUS and artistic that frankly it baffles it’s viewers and actually makes us…what’s that word none of us like to do during films…oh yeah, THINK! We may never know what David Lynch truly envisioned this film to be. From the Man in the Planet to the Lady in the Radiator to the Beautiful Girl Across the Hall, his use of these unique characters supplements the film’s already surreal feel and aside from causing some slight confusion…entices the viewer to this film’s beauty. Their purposes may never be known, but the mental impact they have on you as you try and figure out their significance is amazing and will drawn you even more into the film.
The conflict Henry Spencer faces throughout the film is intense as well. Already a naïve man and very used to solitude, his brittle emotional speaking exemplifies the notion that he is unable to cope with the events that are about to take place. His girlfriend is a problem, his girlfriend’s mother is a problem, and his deformed child…well…you’ll find out in the end just how much of a problem “it” is.
Speaking of the ending…it is definitely the most memorable point in the film. It will leave you shocked, and when it is all over thinking “what the hell is all this about?”. David Lynch referred to this film as a “dream of dark and troubling things”, I cannot agree more.
Overall, this is an amazing film that will take some patience to get through, but will leave you in amazement at what you just saw. I really cannot say more than that.