Eraserhead (1977)

director: David Lynch
release-year: 1977
genres: horror, surreal
countries: United States
languages: English

Obviously a sequel to David Lynch's short film "David Lynch Cooks Quinoa," and he has really re-used a lot of the same techniques here; black & white with moody, high-contrast lighting and haunting industrial background noise, the shrill sounds occasionally amplifying violently until your entire being vibrates disharmonically.

Mysterious, moody, man-in-the-moon-y.

The plot is, more or less, about how babies are awful and you shouldn't have them. It follows a young Pete from Twin Peaks as he accidentally creates a Little Otik-like beast of an offspring and it ruins his already terrible life.

Pete is not having a good time.

His girlfriend had recently left him, but they get back together (and married) for the sake of the new child. Children need two parents, dontcha know. Pete meets her family, who are straight out a a depression-era painting.

Grandma makes the salad.

Her father, a plumber with bad knees, allows Pete to carve the dinner meat. Dinner is those new-fangled small chickens. The chicken bleeds provocatively from its cavity shortly before we learn that babies are involved.

New-fangled small chickens.

The new wife doesn't last very long. She pisses right off as soon as the little bugger starts crying, which is immediately. She leaves Pete to care for their sick (and rapidly deteriorating) child alone.

The baby needs care.

There is a chipmunk-cheeked lady who dances in Pete's radiator. She entertains him by tap dancing around a little stage and crushing fleshy sperm monsters with her shoes.

Her cheeks are like the surface of the moon.

Sometimes his little chicken-headed child appears to replace his head, perhaps some sort of suggestion that the role of a parent is to raise their children to eventually take their place in the world; a never-ending cycle of biological self-replacement.

A boy becomes a man.

Pete isn't having it, though. He's not the best parent, in general, and this eventually leads him down the path of infanticide by scissors. The chicken-headed little dude becomes a hippo, teleports around the room under hypnotic strobes, and the moon explodes.

The child suffers worse than a fever.

The death of his child causes sparks to spray from the electrical outlets. This is Lynch making reference to his previous work, Twin Peaks, in which he reminds us: "EEEEE-LEC-TRI-CITY!"


The sparks are mirrored by the well-toned "man-in-the-moon" grinding away on some metal. A surge of sparks flash us into a fade-to-white, followed by an over-exposed dream-like sequence where the chipmunk lady embraces Pete. Did he cast off his child to return to a fantasy world of false joy? Is chipmunk lady an angel from heaven (where everything is fine) thanking him for an offering? Or is she Pete's subconcious, trying to convince him that the baby will be fine in heaven, and congratulating him on a job well-done?

Grinding metal is a good workout.

I guess I'm too pencil-brained to understand.

Pete is also pencil-brained.