#93: Eraserhead

Baby’s got a fever…

Director: David Lynch
Year: 1977
Genre: Horror

Dare to delve into the unknown. Your whole life you’ve been wishing that life could be a dream and now you’re in one but you can’t control it. The unexplainable events that keep occurring are unsettling, this is not what you expected but that’s what makes the experience so fascinating. Open your mind and become…Eraserhead.

Eraserhead is probably the weirdest narrative feature film I have ever seen thus marking a landmark in my cinema viewing history. I first discovered the world of director David Lynch when I was 16 (in 2002) when I hired his breathtaking Mulholland Drive (2001) on VHS. That experience alone will be addressed in further detail later down the track but it lead to me hunting down and watching every Lynch film. I think I just about saw all of them, to date, that year and whilst Eraserhead is not my favourite of his films it’s certainly his most bizarre. At the ripe age of 16 I’m sure watching this film had some sort of marvelous effect on the development of my own mind.

What’s so weird about it? As hinted at in the beginning of this entry Eraserhead plays out like a dream starting with our beloved protagonist Henry Spencer, played by the late Jack Nance, floating in space. We soon jump from this surreal imagery to a bizarre domestic narrative about Henry and his girlfriend’s struggle to raise their new born baby – THAT FUCKING THING IN THE PICTURE ABOVE! I’m not going to proceed listing all the weird shit that occurs in the film, nor am I even going to bother giving you a plot summary as this is the sort film, like most Lynch films, that is best watched with little or no prior knowledge so as not to let your mind get distracted by unnecessary details when trying to consume what the film has to offer. The film is fucking weird both in terms of its content, it has strange characters and strange shit happens, and its form. The way in which the film is constructed is surreal. We jump from scene to scene without fully understanding the resolution of the previous scene(s) and it may not be clear how far into the future we have jumped from one scene to another, if we’ve even jumped “forward” at all.

Basically, I love this film because it’s fucking weird? Yes. Of course it has its technical brilliance, the sound design is mind-meltingly mesmerising and the black and white cinematography is lusciously nightmarish but what makes Eraserhead stand out is literally how fucking odd it is. I mentioned in my previous post that what I love most about movies is that they allow us to escape into other worlds. Dreams offer us that service too, only we can’t choose our genre, and this film is like a dream. Also, for similar reasons I love mystery, I love thinking about the unknown, you may notice a lot of mystery/thriller films cropping up on this journey through my Top 100. Whilst it is admittedly a difficult film to watch, depending on your mood, Eraserhead is a surreal dream like experience with plenty of mystery to keep you wondering for an age, which is why I am glad to dub it my 93rd favourite film of all time.

If you wake up one day and realise that you’re sick of watching the same old shit and you have enough curiosity to “kill the cat” WATCH ERASERHEAD. You better watch it on a decent sized screen with the volume turned way up and the lights turned all the way off, otherwise, you’re daft!


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