Saturday, May 1, 2010

Movies! Eraserhead?

Okay, all of my intellectual cinemaphile readers, help me out here. Eraserhead is the infamous cult film by the brilliant David Lynch, released in 1977. It tells the story of Henry, a printer on vacation, and Mary X, his new bride who has given birth to some sort of mutant baby thing. The baby thing is loud and fussy, so Mary leaves, and Henry looks after it on his own. There's a popcorn ball cheeked lady who sings in the radiator, a seductive chick across the hall, and a hallucinatory dream where Henry's head is used to make pencil erasers. It may or may not have a sort of happy ending.
I have watched this movie several times, and I still have no idea what I'm supposed to get out of it. I love a lot of Lynch's other movies, especially Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart. I loved Twin Peaks. Lynch himself is a fascinatingly odd fellow. But what is this movie trying to tell me? I'm not sure. I can take it as a surreal dream movie, but what an unhappy dream.
I also watched the bonus features on the DVD, to see if they would give me any insight. There was a long long interview with Lynch, where he basically told stories about the making of the movie. It took him five years to get the movie made, which means Jack Nance who played Henry had to keep his Eraserhead hair for that long. I hoped that Lynch would give me some insight into the film, so I could make more sense of it.
And what did Lynch say? "It came from Philadelphia."
This is a great and troubling movie, if only for the fact that I've rewatched it without having any idea what I'm watching. I can't recommend it exactly, but give it a go if you love dark and unsettling riddles. And mutant infants. And Philadelphia.


  1. It's very interesting hearing your thoughts on this. This is one of those movies I've always felt I "should" watch... which is why I naturally never have. I may give it a try someday if only to see why people talk about it so much, but it sounds like it's one of those overly artistic flicks that's trying so hard to mean something that it means absolutely nothing.

  2. Lynch says it's his most spiritual movie. I don't know if that's because it was his first movie, so he's extraordinarily attached to it.