Eraserhead (1977)

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Eraserhead (1977)

Directed by: David Lynch

Starring: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph

Rated: NR (Best Guess PG-13) 

Running Time: 1h 29m

TMM Score: 5 stars out of 5

STRENGTHS: Overall Directorial Vision

WEAKNESSES: It's Weird Dude. 

Summary

A strange man in a strange world is forced to marry a strange woman when he gets her pregnant. She has a strange baby which she cannot console so she leaves the man and he kills the baby. The baby might be an alien. Strange.

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On Lynch

David Lynch is a favorite of mine. His movies are weird and full of dread. Few directors are able to portray darkness, evil, and foreboding in quite the way he does. He doesn’t need tons of gore to scare, though he isn’t afraid to use it. Instead, he focuses on the alien nature of that which is beyond our grasp. I’ve often thought that he is the one director from whom I would love to see an adaptation of Lovecraft's work.

The first film I saw of his was Mulholland drive. The sexuality of it was more than I was ready for at the time and it turned me off of Lynch until years later a friend recommended Twin Peaks, which I devoured. Once again though, business, laziness, and popcorn flicks conspired to keep me from delving into his most untethered and interesting work, “Eraserhead.” 

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Before He Knew Better

“Eraserhead,” is easily my favorite of Lynch’s works. I love the unique viewpoint he has, and the strange sense of peace, joy, chaos, and evil it employs. My problem with his other works is that he is restrained. He punctuates his stories with the inclusion of some indosyncracy which gets barely explained if at all, but then it flows back into pretty typical narrative and mystery. 

That is why “Eraserhead” is my favorite. In “Eraserhead” he doesn’t shy back from the things that make his voice truly unique. Maybe, along the course of his career, he has worked with producers who have noted him into adding more accessible themes and story points, but this film is before any of that.

Many times, young film makers need the input of more experienced producers or studios to help them find their voice but Lynch was already at a full throated shout in his first feature, so all there was for producers to do is ask him to keep it down a bit. Usually, this would have been a good thing but here, I feel it may have robbed us of more works like “Eraserhead.”

My Thoughts

Maybe it feels like I’m not really talking about the film. I guess I’m not. It’s hard to talk about. The plot summary is really all there is to the film. It’s a basic story but all of the circumstances around it are strange. It feels like a film made by an alien, just in the beginning stages of understanding human culture, but also by a cosmic being who sees beneath the surface of human culture.

I know very little of what exactly Lynch is trying to say in it and I suspect he could answer that question little better than anyone else. 

I can’t say that this is a film that will elevate your heart or leave you with any sort of happiness emberring away within.

What I do know, is that I was intrigued, and I want to watch it again. 

Review by: Michael McDonald

Review Written By:

Michael Mcdonald