"Eraserhead" offers plenty in the way of disturbing imagery, courtesy of the mind of David Lynch. But while his imagination clearly has an eye for the viscerally potent, this remains an unremarkable feat by his later standards.
A nightmare of the subconscious, the brief plot follows the tortured soul of the exceptionally unfortunate Henry (Lynch regular Jack Nance, credited here as John). He ekes out an unremarkable existence in an unforgiving industrial landscape. Whatever kind of relationship he appears to have with his girlfriend, it isn't long before she has given birth to their offspring. This comes as a hell of a surprise to Henry, but he seems reluctant to argue, especially as he finds out while the guest of Mary and her bizarre family at a dinner party. Perhaps he is distracted by the chicken on his plate which starts moving again!. He stabs it with his fork.
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.
There's plenty on offer for the film student to dissect. This is a film so consumed with surreal imagery that there are almost limitless possibilities to read personal theories into it. There is certainly a strong sexual undercurrent combined with the trappings of commitment in relationships. But while there are some stark and shocking moments, they're floating in an undisciplined exercise in experimentation. Compared to the rest of Lynch's work this is a crude assemblage of ideas that would be used to far greater effect in later movies.
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