It's understandable if at first you feel as though you're not getting enough information about Eraserhead's setting. And the timing is likely to puzzle you, too - not just the pace of conversations (of which there are few), but the sensuous, heavy-lidded rhythms of the entire movie. Then there's the plot... Or is there? At least there's a main character, a pasty, suited man who vibrates with something like extreme anxiety and hurries through the oily puddles of his weirdly industrial neighborhood as though someone were chasing him. The audience would read this character as a freak for a wealth of reasons, but his most conspicuous feature is his hairdo: a shock of frizz that shoots straight up off his head like the Bride of Frankenstein's, but blunt-cut across the top, like the eraser on the end of a pencil. The film gleans its title from this distinctive look: Eraserhead. It's one of the most thrillingly irrational films you'll ever see.
The talent behind Eraserhead is that one truly surrealist presence in mainstream American film, David Lynch. Later Lynch would expose the subterranean evil of Capra-esque America in 1986's Blue Velvet, recast The Wizard of Oz among the riotously criminal milieu of 1990's Wild at Heart, and offer us a circuitous journey down Los Angeles's famed Mulholland Drive in 2001 (although you won't be there to admire the view). And critics and audiences will marvel at the perversity of it all.
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