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Eraserhead
USA 1978
Directed by David Lynch
Running time 89/108 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
5 stars


David Lynch's first feature made over a four year stretch is a brilliant low budget student film (it was partly financed by Sissy Spacek), completely unique and definitely only for the lovers of the bizarre. A gruesome black comedy of sorts or existential horror story it tells of Henry (Jack Nance) a schlep living in some kind of industrial wasteland (based on Lynch’s memories of Philadelphia) and his initiation in what passes for the joys of married life in this strange dystopic world.

An extraordinary essay on the alienated, a-social consciousness that once seen will never be forgotten, Lynch does marvels with his limited means in creating an aesthetically coherent work, albeit a completely repugnant one. Sound plays an important part in creating the bleakly disturbed mood of the film that fascinates the same time as it repels, whilst Lynch uses a variety of different visual effects to create what would become his signature interfacing between parallel worlds that may or may not be real. Rarely does any film take one so completely into its universe and that Lynch did so so economically is a testament to his genius as a film-maker.

Original cinematographer Herb Cardwell died suddenly after 9 months of shooting, and was replaced for the remainder by Fred Elmes. The original US release ran 108 mins although Lynch cut 20 minutes out of the film after its first public screening feeling that it was too long whilst there is an even shorter version without `the scene with the woman tied to the bed which Lynch also excised, apparently feeling that it was too disturbing 

DVD ExtrasStories - a 90m, making-of documentary; Theatrical Trailer

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment

 

 

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