Review: Eraserhead (1977)


A simple WTF will suffice!

Written By: David Lynch
Directed By: David Lynch

The above is a pretty good reaction to Eraserhead, because to be honest most of the movie is spent in a state of constantly asking yourself what the fuck Lynch means by showing that, or what the fuck did I just see? I have heard the theory that Eraserhead is all about pregnancy and the male fear of pregnancy, and I can see that. But, due to its structure and the way visual imagery is used as the narrative there are any number of interpretations that a person can take from Eraserhead. While I was watching at various points these were some of the questions or thoughts in my mind,

–We’re all freaks?

–Is it showing an inability to deal with what we don’t understand?

–Maybe that’s a metaphor for a baby destroying our life?

–Hmmm, man isn’t able to deal with what he associates with womanhood.

–Women feel the need to rebel and go against what is is expected of her by society?

–Men will abandon their responsibilities when it suits them.

–Children tie us down and negate our individual freedom.

–Men will destroy the fruits of a woman’s labor if said fruits threaten us.

–Children need to be silenced when they are in the path of our sexual satisfaction, maybe the key to that is the absence of children altogether?

–Sex is an alien experience to all of us.

–We think with our dicks and not our actual head.

–We are all just parts in the assembly line of life!

As you can see my mind was all over the place while watching Eraserhead. The pertinent question becomes whether or not that means Eraserhead is a great film. I think that Eraserhead is a good movie, but not a great one. It makes you think and on the basis of the fact that I believe Eraserhead’s main purpose is to make you think it ends up a good movie. However, there are moments when the visual imagery feels forced. There are certain times when it feels like Lynch is lengthening the pace of the movie and highlighting images for extended sequences of time not to ask any questions, or talk about male fear of pregnancy, but rather to take us to an uncomfortable place. In those times I feel that Eraserhead falls into the pitfall of a film wanting to shock just for the sake of the shock.

Those moments aren’t dominant though, they are equaled out by the moments that do tie into thinking and asking questions about what you are seeing. I don’t know if I’m making any sense with my breakdown of Eraserhead, I hope I am. But, it makes sense that a movie where more often than not you are left asking “what the fuck” would leave me bewildered about how to accurately express my feelings towards it. I can’t recommend or warn you off of Eraserhead, it is a movie that you need to see and judge for yourself.




6 responses to “Review: Eraserhead (1977)

  1. Bill Thompson

    To what exactly?

  2. To Eraserhead possibly being a good movie. I’ve never hidden my disdain for most of what Lynch has done, Eraserhead being one of my favourite targets.

  3. Oh my God that film was SO ANNOYING! Maybe if the soundtrack hadn’t have been so impenetrably high pitched I might’ve got more out of it. Or maybe that was a necessary distraction. I am in no hurry to be watching this again.

  4. Pingback: The LAMBs in the Director’s Chair #17 |

  5. That is a common complaint, and opinion. It certainly didn’t resonate with me, but I still found some things to enjoy.

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