Factory worker Henry Spencer (John Nance) lives in a drab apartment somewhere in an industrial hell-hole. When his girfriend, Mary X (Charlotte Stewart), falls pregnant, Henry is forced to marry her and move in with her bizarre family. The incessant crying of their hideously deformed child drives Mary away, leaving Henry alone before he descends into the dream world that has always hovered around him.
Eraserhead was described by David Lynch (and billed in
advertising) as "A Dream of Dark and Troubling Things".
One of the few genuine avant-garde feature films to be widely
seen, Eraserhead is a dream/nightmare that defies comparison and
Nominally it's about a factory worker called Henry Spencer (John
Nance) who lives in a drab apartment somewhere in an industrial
hell-hole. When his girfriend, Mary X (Charlotte Stewart), falls
pregnant , Henry is forced to marry her and move in with her
bizarre family. The incessant crying of their hideously deformed
child drives Mary away, leaving Henry alone before he descends
into the dream world that has hovered around him since the film's
Stunningly filmed in monochrome, decorated with striking
expressionist sets and underscored by a menacing sound design,
Eraserhead is an original masterpiece that has us laughing one
minute and queasy the next as Henry Spencer's fatherhood
anxieties are played out in a neverland of bleakly comic and
always disturbing images. Lynch drags us into Henry's real and
imagined environments with dazzling force, daring us to look away
while offering some of the most memorable images ever filmed. The
baby itself, looking like an overcooked chicken, Mary X's
catatonic grandmother and the bubble-cheeked Lady in the Radiator
who sings "In Heaven" are just a few of the memories
that linger long after the curtain closes.
Five years in the making (during which time Lynch himself
fathered daughter Jennifer, the future director of Boxing Helena),
this is Lynch's most personal film and arguably his best.
Remnants of it can be found in many of his future films - Dorothy
Valens' apartment in Blue Velvet and the Pink Room and Black
Lodge in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me spring instantly to mind.
Nothing can really prepare you for Eraserhead. It simply has to
be seen and no serious collector should be without this disc.
Published June 28, 2001
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US (1978) B/W
CAST: John Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Laurel Near, Jeanne Bates,
DIRECTOR: David Lynch
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: The AV Channel
DVD RELEASE: April 10, 2001
SPECIAL FEATURES: Aspect Ratio 4:3; David Lynch Biography/Filmography;
Trailer; Language: English; Subtitles: None