Eraserhead – An Experimental Masterpiece

In 1977, David Lynch was releasing his first movie; Eraserhead. A door to a quirky, experimental, and very manual work, but also a door to a whole new world, of little dialogue, and inexplicable behavior and happenings. Comparing to the Hollywood production, Lynch was offering the premises of independent, not commercial movies, and taking the risk to be considered as a marginal character, stepping out of big american productions. Thus, something really important, is shown in the film, Lynch is capturing, every bit and aspects of the industrial America, with noisy, smoking machines, mass production or railroads. Filmed in black and white, it points out the dark, of this industrial era.


The director is, before being a filmmaker, a painter and a sculptor, joining this part of his skills to its first filmed production. Combining those, he created Eraserhead, where his weird characters could live under their own specific rules, and darknesses.
Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) is just a regular guy, with a fancy haircut, great tastes in music, who happened to have issues with his sexuality. Not that he is not confident or anything, but he happened to possess harmful spermatozoids.
He is not taking any real initiatives, but seems more to be passive, therefore, we learn that he has a girlfriend, Mary (Charlotte Stewart) , even though the girl next door, is hitting on him.

Mary invited him over diner one night, and Henry finally has to meet her family, which isn’t ordinary at all. This night, he learnt he was a father.
The thing is, the baby he had with her, is way too premature, and looks like a living spermatozoid, and not a human at all, at least physically speaking, but morally, he acts more human than every other characters, having basic needs, and wants. Lynch did a pretty good job in modeling its creature, and make it more real than ever, a sort of lynchian E.T.. This infant, is the product of a uncontrolled, and cursed sexual arousal, explained by a animated feature in the beginning of the film.  Even when Henry got the news, by Mary’s mother, this last one, was practically sexually harassing him, and he didn’t even pushed her away. He is a victim of his sexuality, and passiveness.

He has dreams, hallucinations, where his spermatozoids invade Mary’s body, or when he looked at his radiator and travel into some theater, where a women is dancing, with abnormal cheeks, crushing his sperm as they are dropping from the ceiling. Something odd is happening, a fear of castration.

Eraserhead, is a mysterious masterpiece of cinematographic work. Close to what he did in his short The Grandmother, David Lynch depicted his private, and odd world, when people aren’t really acting like normal human beings, but more like if, the director, was modeling what would happen if we acted like we thought, like our ideas were organized, and popping into our mind. Mixing, dream, reality, but also desires. Picking one theme, he then shaped what could happen starting from that. Very metaphorical, and a lot based on details and decor, Eraserhead, is actually a premise, of Lynch’s work, which will keep the same basis, and evolve into the different spheres of consciousness and subconsciousness, mastered by the filmmaker. He directed this movie, as if he painted a tableau, you can look at it over and over you will still observe some details you haven’t notice.


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