Monday, 20 December 2010

Review on Eraserhead

Review on Eraserhead 1976


A very strange and unusual film with plenty of weird happenings, for example the part where Henry sits down with his girlfriend at her house with her mother for a chat, or uncomfortable empty conversation. The three of them just sit there in an awkward moment saying very little. Its almost as if its one of those moments where you are meeting the parents of your lover and you expect the worse to happen. Which in this situation it does, except it gets even weirder when Henry's girlfriend just freaks out time to time while at her house, crying and hiding in another room. The mother is just as unexplainable having some kind of fit at the diner table over a roast chicken moving its legs and oozing fluid. A 1977 review on Film4 explains. 'The film shifts the 'action' to an imposing industrial landscape through which Henry walks, tiny and alienated, on his way back to a dingy, cell-like apartment. The beautiful girl living next door (Roberts) informs Henry that Mary X (Stewart), his ex, has invited him to dinner at her parents' house. There, a grotesque meal of painfully awkward conversation, perverse psychosexual tension and animated 'manmade' chicken is interrupted by news from Mrs X (Bates) that Henry is father to Mary's premature baby.' (Film4, 1977) 

 Diner Scene

The film seems to revolve around their baby, if thats what you call it. A small deformed helpless creature wrapped up in bandages with its head poking through. There has always been a fear surrounding deformed babies. The thought of giving birth to an unhealthy and crippled child and its torture it must go through in life is painful for the parents to bare. Even though the baby in this film is very un-human like in appearance, the couple still accept it as their baby no questions asked. Until its annoying cries in the night drive the mother to leave the apartment and the baby to Henry's responsibility. A 2001 review by Almar Haflidason on BBC go into detail on this. 'So, Henry shacks up with the miserable wretch responsible for their truly repulsive pug of a baby. This slimy bleating trog soon starts to drive Henry's partner up the wall to the extent that she leaves him and her newborn. Poor old Henry is stuck with this nightmarish creature in a single room, with only a singing radiator for added company.' (Haflidason, 2001) Henry being left with this baby tries to look after it especially when it gets sick, but in the end he cuts of the bandages to reveal that he has just cut open the creature. He stabs at it to try and kill it only to see it go wild and elongate its neck and haunt him. Why did he want to kill it? Was it because he was ashamed to have this deformed baby or was he afraid of it and thats why it went mad at the end, the answer is unclear. This whole film gave the feeling of living in a post apocalyptic world where nuclear radiation leaks have flooded everywhere causing the inhabitants to act strange and give birth to highly deformed offspring. A review by Donald Levit on Real Talk movie reviews mentions this. 'Fans and favorable commentators find in this a howling black critique of the deracinated nuclear family and parental hatred spawned by a dehumanized industrial society.' (Levit, 2010)

The Baby


Figure 1. Lynch, David. (1976) Eraserhead [Screen Cap] At: (Accessed on: 20.12.10)
Figure 2. Lynch, David. (1976) Diner Scene [Screen Cap] At: (Accessed on: 20.12.10)
Figure 3. Lynch, David. (1976) The Baby [Screen Cap] At: (Accessed on: 20.12.10)


Film4. (1977) Eraserhead. (Accessed on: 20.12.10)
Haflidason, Almar. (2001) Eraserhead (1977). (Accessed on: 20.12.10)
Levit, Donald. (2010) The Head Horror Picture Show. (Accessed on: 20.12.10) 

1 comment:

  1. I like this review, Katy - it sort of feels as if you 'enjoyed' the movie - or rather genuinely found it fascinating. It's very satisfying to see you presenting your reviews this way, with everything in place and as it should be. I think, if you were to read back through your blog, you'd absolutely see a big improvement in your critical thinking and research skills.