Many later master directors start out with a radical, idiosyncratic work – but few manage to later come back to these roots quite so magnificently as David Lynch has done. The young artist shot his black-and-white directorial debut over a five year period in mid-70s, mostly on weekends with the help of friends. The result was a pitch-black surreal nightmare that became an instant worldwide cult hit. Seeing this early masterpiece you will be surprised just how stylisticly mature Lynch already was back then in handling his trademark sound design, his actors and his world view. Young Henry with the eraserhead hairdo is stumbling through a post-apocalyptic world full of industrial noise and smoke. Wherever he turns, there are looming nightmarish impressions. His marriage is an absurd torture, his newborn child a screaming mutant baby, and the woman in the radiator sings about how beautiful it must be in Heaven. The only escape seems to be into fantasy, and that sometimes ends in comforting songs, sometimes in disturbing sexual visions.
Herbert Cardwell, Frederick Elmes
Alan R. Splet
John Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates, Jack Fisk, Laurel Near, Jean Lange
David Lynch, Fred Baker
American Film Institute, Libra Films International