Lynch’s Eraserhead follows a sensitive young man as he struggles to cope with impending parenthood. Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) lives in a hopeless industrial landscape, lusting after the beautiful woman who lives in the apartment across the hall. After his girlfriend, Mary (Charlotte Stewart), informs him of her pregnancy, he is forced to eat dinner with her extremely odd family. The baby is eventually born, only it isn’t a human baby at all; it’s a deformed creature that resembles a lizard. The baby won’t stop crying, a horrifyingly piercing wail that drives Mary insane. Left alone with the baby, Henry is serenaded by a woman who lives inside his radiator, and soon he decides to murder his baby in order to stop the nightmare once and for all.
Let me just start off by saying I’m a big David Lynch fan, and I’ve wanted to check out this film for some time, but its rarity prevented me from doing so earlier. I guess I could have been more assertive, but I’m glad I was pushed into it because this is an incredible film. Lynch offers such a uniquely nightmarish vision, I felt every frame, I saw every frame, it even felt like I lived every frame. The cinematography is gorgeous! Usually I hate it when people talk about cinematography, because I either cringe at the fact that not many people know what they’re talking about, or the fact that it makes you seem self important or that you’re trying to come off like you know what you’re talking about. Anyway, I had to throw that in, because I was amazed. They did a great job on that.
Lynch starts us off fittingly with this film, starts us on a journey through his mind and never lets up. I’ve been thinking about this film for days, thinking back, analyzing every aspect, going over everything and making notes. Opening and closing parts of my mind to see if I can come up with anything else, because I’m so intent on looking through every crevice, turning on every light, or shutting them all off and becoming consumed in the darkness. I’m not sure how to describe anything, and I can’t give away theories, or talk about specifics because that would just ruin the experience for those who haven’t seen this yet. I still don’t have all the answers, or maybe I have none of the answers, that’s really the beauty of it. Do I really have to say that this film doesn’t follow any “real” narrative? It’s all symbolically driven, those who are interested in seeing this will know that already, and those who aren’t aware are now. The direction is so precise and carefully handled and it’s so special seeing that happen, it’s rare.
Jack Nance plays the central character in this nightmare, Henry Spencer, and he provides great presence, and has a memorable quality in his work. While the script isn’t dialogue heavy, I think that’s a good thing, leaving the actors to react and walk through their surroundings. With fairly amateur actors, you never want them to say too much, though these actors seem like they could if called upon. The women have a very 50’s era acting vibe, which I love. This structure really allows Lynch to showcase his directorial skills and put his visual storytelling to work. He’s created a piece of cinema that will be dissected and thought about for a long time after the credits roll. I know it hasn’t fully settled with me yet, and probably won’t for a long time. I can’t wait to see it again, I’m sure it’s something that will blow me away every time I watch it. If any of this sounds interesting to you, you should go seek this out now! It’s worth it. It gets my high recommendation.