Directed by David Lynch and released in it’s home country of America in 1977.
Rewatching your favourite film is always a delight, but what happens when your favourite film is a dark and mysterious masterpiece that is as depressing as it is inspiring? Eraserhead is not a film, it is the nightmare of Henry Spencer. So dark and so atmospheric, it laid the foundation for the career in the surreal and bizarre that David Lynch would go onto articulate in such films as Blue Velvet and Inland Empire (which is stylistically the closest to Eraserhead Lynch has since come). The atmosphere is so creepy and freakish, only made more deafening by the screeching sounds of the infantile lovechild of Henry and his wife Mary and the sounds of the industrial wasteland which this family lives on.
Eraserhead itself is a somewhat passive character study of a man delving deeper and deeper into depression and isolation coupled with his anxiety about a marriage he is forced into due to his newborn “child” that pretty much ruins their lives! We spend so little time with Henry Spencer compared to the five years it took to film this incredible feat of a film, and the beauty of it’s creation is that of it’s creator. David Lynch. This film was a perfect catapult for him, and just the mere fact that he did everything from sound design to creating the so-called “baby” in this film among about eight or nine other duties is something I will always admire for as long as I want to make films – and one day will.
Never having divulged the “true” essence of the themes explored in his directorial debut, Lynch forces us to think for ourselves and make of it what each of our own subconscious will allow us to. For me it’s a tale about marriage and depression as the film stares deep into Henry Spencer’s soul and twists it until he’s gone completely insane (proven by his visions of a bearded woman singing “In heaven, everything is fine.”) It creates an incredibly isolated and claustrophobic film that is forever kept inside that dusty apartment as consistent shots of a brick wall through a window show us that Henry is trapped in this life. His only way out is the route he takes. One which I won’t spoil for any of you.
I once wrote a detailed review of this when I was 16 years old for English class, right before I left school. It was the first time I had ever articulated my words in such a way that helped me understand a film I loved more than I thought I did. Having only seen Eraserhead ten times or so, each repeated viewing allows me to delve deeper into elements that I so desperately want to explore myself in my own films. It is the one film that I will forever look to for inspiration. Thank you David Lynch.