DVD Review: Eraserhead

Continuing talking about some movies that might not necessarily get talked about…

Y’know, I honestly can’t claim to understand in detail every little move David Lynch has ever made in a movie- hell some of the movies are still most mysterious to me, but… I sure do get a lot of pleasure watching his films… say what you will about the content, one thing cannot be denied and that’s that David Lynch is a true American original…

Eraserhead is Lynch’s very first movie- it’s been available for awhile now through Lynch’s website, but I’ve never had the gumption to order it from there. Within the last year though, Lynch opened this up from being available exclusively on his site, and finally I bought the movie.

With my most recent viewing, that had now marked the third time that I’ve seen this, and for me, it was the most enthusiastic that I’ve been yet at the end of seeing this- I mean I can’t wait to sit back and watch this again, very soon (oh if Lost Highway would just make it to DVD- and with the rest of my Lynch films, I’d have the makings for a hell of a Lynch film festival).

When I first saw Eraserhead, I was in my mid-20s and married and my wife and I rented this one night- we knew it was a cult movie with horrific overtones, but that was about it. We watched it, scratched our heads, said “the hell is this?” and returned the tape back to the rental place.

The second time I saw Eraserhead, I was divorced and in my mid-30s, and much more receptive to different forms of cinema, but there was still something that was extremely off-putting to me about this, I just couldn’t get into it, and worse, I was bored by it…

My most recent viewing was my third time seeing this and I gotta say I had a friggin’ blast watching this, now in my early 40s, a lot more receptive than I’ve been before with film, and just even extra excited these days by watching David Lynch movies.

So if you’ve never seen Eraserhead, it’s sorta hard to get you prepped for what you’re gonna see… I mean this is real surrealist filmmaking, totally original to anything anyone else has done (the closest was probably E. Elias Merhige with Begotten) and yet it is an extremely personal film to Lynch…

Anyway, it goes a little something like this- Henry Spencer is a man with a lot of self doubt, he’s living in a rotted out area of some industrial center, and he’s quite the twitchy little man. Henry is involved with Mary X, and one night Henry goes to have dinner with Mary and her parents when Henry’s confronted with Mary being pregnant with his baby. And from there, well you know I can’t say, “it just gets weird” because this starts weird and it never, ever lets up… it’s been called a surrealist way Lynch had seen his life while living in Philadelphia and being a first time husband and father and all of the insecurities that go with that, as well as the little things that give you comfort during such hard times, I certainly see that… but there’s more as well, but that’s for you to discover.

This DVD is absolutely stunning… both the audio and visual quality is just right up there. The sound is in 2.0, but it’s some of the best 2.0 I’ve ever heard- the sound design in a Lynch movie has always been a hallmark, and here’s where it starts as Eraserhead is unsettling right from the first noise made. The look of the film is absolutely pristine and the disk is anamorphic widescreen with a 1:1.85 ratio, it’s probably never looked this good, and that just made me want to watch it even more (keep in mind, this is a black and white movie as well)… all of Lynch’s “tricks” are here, his set-ups, his pacing, this is where they all were birthed, and it’s still just as much fun as any of Lynch’s contemporary films are to sit back and let them soak in…

The DVD includes a few extras, including one called Stories, which has David Lynch telling you stories behind the production (but nothing specific as to what it’s all about- Dave will never do that) and this is actually pretty entertaining, but some will still get frustrated simply because he isn’t talking about the film, but more on the hows, whys and whos behind it…

If you’re up for some adventurous stuff, look no further than David Lynch’s first movie, Eraserhead… for those that don’t mind a little experimentation and a lot of surrealism, you might get a kick out of this…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

11. May 2007 by Darren Goodhart
Categories: DVD Review, Text Reviews | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *