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. Written by Rick Gregory
•Eraserhead was one of director Stanley Kubrick’s favorite films. Before beginning production on The Shining, Kubrick screened Eraserhead for the cast to put them into the atmosphere he wanted to convey. George Lucas was a fan of the film and, after seeing it, wanted to hire Lynch to direct Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Lynch declined, fearing it would be less his own vision than Lucas’s.
•Poet/short story writer/novelist Charles Bukowski’s favorite film. The great outsider was not a notable fan of cinema. In his roman a clef “Hollywood” about the making of Barfly, he talks about meeting a famous director and his consort, based on David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini. His character, Henry Chinaski, finds them condescending.
•Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 25 Most Dangerous Movies”.
•David Lynch refuses to say anything about Eraserhead because he wants to let viewers decide for themselves what they think it means.
•Lynch has said that the film’s protagonist is “living under the influence of those things that existed for me in Philadelphia”, adding that “there was a sense of dread pretty much everywhere I went. I didn’t live in any good parts of Philadelphia, and so dread was my general feeling. I hated it. And, also, I loved it”. Lynch also wrote a short chapter about the film in his 2006 book Catching the Big Fish. In that book, he wrote “Eraserhead is my most spiritual movie. No one understands when I say that, but it is”. He went on to write about the difficulties he was having making sense of the way the film was “growing” and didn’t know “the thing that just pulled it all together”. He then reveals it was the Bible that provided the solution, stating “so I got out my Bible and I started reading. And one day, I read a sentence. And I closed the Bible, because that was it; that was it. And then I saw the thing as a whole. And it fulfilled this vision for me, 100 percent”. Lynch states in the book that he doesn’t think he will ever reveal what the vision-fulfilling Biblical verse is.