My uncle told me about this movie, but wouldn't describe the contents.
I think he said something like:"It's a terrible movie. You should see it,
or maybe not. It's terrible." Well, it is slow-paced, horrifying, and bizarre.
Almost all the action takes place in the past and is subtly inferred. What
remains is Henry's hallucinatory view of events, like the sense-data of some
It's hard to summarize, I agree after watching it two or three times.
This is a really different movie. All of Lynch's other stuff (e.g. Blue Velvet,
Twin Peaks) is banal sitcom pablum compared to Eraserhead. Plus the
music is cool. I don't really remember it that well, but I just read a
review/interpretive guide on the net that I thought was way off base
and felt compelled to respond.
X-ian interpretation wrong, wrong, wrong.
And there's a factual error in the numerlogy part: 13 seconds between
"I've locked myself out of my apartment" and "it's late"? No, I checked
with my soundtrack CD, and it's much more.
The worms are sin? No. David Lynch works out his heebie-jeebies
about women, biology, and sexual reproduction? Just maybe!
Repressed inexperienced uninformed loser (Henry) meets girl (Mary).
She is screwed up like him---with her parents, it's no wonder.
Henry has sex for the first time, probably for both of them.
Maybe it's uncomfortable.Maybe their naive inexperienced
fumblings are unsatisfying. He orgasms right away, and then
they feel embarrassment and shame. In any case,
he's not had a great time, and is weirded out by the difference
of her sexual organs---concavity instead of convexity, horrors!
They have no more contact, until Mary discovers she's pregnant.
When Mary gives birth, she calls Henry over for dinner.
He meets her weird parents, and learns that he and Mary
have produced a---what? A fetus, I think, sort of a malformed
half-baked fetus, not done yet. Early in development human fetuses
look like that.
At dinner, he has to cut up the tiny chicken, and this visceral
experience---cutting through skin and flesh and cartilage,
carving off chunks of meat---resonates with the fact that Mary
is pregnant, or has had his child. There's a very trippy scene with
the mutating chicken-thing. Maybe he's thinking about the cells turning
into bone and muscle, his and Mary's child inside her,
So they have to take care of the baby.
Meanwhile he is totally tripping out on the squooshiness
and weirdness of biology and sex---spermlike worm-
things come from Mary's womb, symbolizing her fertility,
her ability to produce new organisms; and sex at the
same time. The girl in the radiator represents the "sanctity"
of the church, cynically deformed in Henry/Lynch's vision into a
weird angelic lumpy-fat-cheeked angel, singing about heaven.
She stomps on the worms, helping Henry repress the gooshy
biology and sex. Kill the bad stuff, Henry! In heaven, everything
The sexy neighbor is the opposite---Henry's finally awakened
intrinsic desires erupt in sexual fantasy. Although he desires
it and enjoys the attention he's finally getting after getting none
his whole life, he's still grossed out.
Mary has left him. The baby is sick. Finally, he kills the baby.
Mercy killing, maybe. Then his head is made into erasers?
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