Is it a nightmare or an actual view of a post-apocalyptic world? Set in an industrial town in which giant machines are constantly working, spewing smoke, and making noise that is inescapable, Henry Spencer lives in a building that, like all the others, appears to be abandoned. The lights flicker on and off, he has bowls of water in his dresser drawers, and for his only diversion he watches and listens to the Lady in the Radiator sing about finding happiness in heaven. Henry has a girlfriend, Mary X, who has frequent spastic fits. Mary gives birth to Henry's child, a frightening looking mutant, which leads to the injection of all sorts of sexual imagery into the depressive and chaotic mix.
This is where is the Lynchian nightmare began. Though he may have redefined surrealistic cinema in the 1980s and forever altered the face of television in the 90s, for many hardcore fans it is this infamous feature film debut that is David Lynch's crowning achievement. Many words have been used to describe Eraserhead
(weird, bizarre, frustrating, enlightening, significant, unwatchable, meaningless, and momentous), but there is no denying it is completely unforgettable. As a surreal work of art, Eraserhead
easily holds it own next to the works as Buñuel, Cocteau, and Dali. And like many surrealistic works, there is no clear answer on what Eraserhead
"means." But, if you are trying to find a simple, linear, plot in Eraserhead
, you are clearly missing the point. For Eraserhead
is not simply a movie to view, but a true cinematic experience, like jumping into someone's nightmare and seeing it from their perspective. Whether you see it as a meditation on the terror of being a new parent, the suffocating feeling of living in an increasingly vapid, industrial wasteland, or a nightmare about the fear of loneliness, the film easily holds up to multiple viewings. And since this film is a dark visual ride and a supreme aural achievement, this long awaited, new transfer is an absolute blessing for David Lynch fans who will finally get to see, hear and experience Eraserhead
clearly on DVD. Bizarre experiment? Surrealistic nightmare? Or a meaningless cult film? You be the judge. --Rob Bracco