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Eraserhead (1977)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 55,057 users  
Reviews: 518 user | 138 critic

Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.

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Title: Eraserhead (1977)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Henry Spencer (as John Nance)
...
Allen Joseph ...
Jeanne Bates ...
...
Beautiful Girl Across the Hall (as Judith Anna Roberts)
Laurel Near ...
V. Phipps-Wilson ...
Landlady (long version)
...
Jean Lange ...
Thomas Coulson ...
John Monez ...
Bum
...
T. Max Graham ...
The Boss (as Neil Moran)
...
...
Little Girl (as Jennifer Lynch)
Edit

Storyline

Is it a nightmare or an actual view of a post-apocalyptic world? Set in an industrial town in which giant machines are constantly working, spewing smoke, and making noise that is inescapable, Henry Spencer lives in a building that, like all the others, appears to be abandoned. The lights flicker on and off, he has bowls of water in his dresser drawers, and for his only diversion he watches and listens to the Lady in the Radiator sing about finding happiness in heaven. Henry has a girlfriend, Mary X, who has frequent spastic fits. Mary gives birth to Henry's child, a frightening looking mutant, which leads to the injection of all sorts of sexual imagery into the depressive and chaotic mix. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Warning: the nightmare has not gone away See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 December 1978 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Eraserhead 2000  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(re-release)| (original release)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was created in a piecemeal fashion over 5 years, with many sets rebuilt after being torn down to make way for other work. Through all 5 years, Jack Nance's only request as far as comfort or entertainment went was "a room and a chair," and he kept his hair in the same frizzy style the whole time. The sparse, drawn-out shooting schedule is revealed when at one point, Henry opens a door, and Nance ages 18 months between cuts. 2 years in, cinematographer Herbert Cardwell, 35, died in his sleep. After 4 weeks of searching, Frederick Elmes was chosen to take his place. See more »

Goofs

When Henry enters Mary's house, there is a large, distinctive "dent" on the top of his hair that disappears when he gets into the house. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Beautiful Girl Across the Hall: Are you Henry?
Henry Spencer: Yes?
Beautiful Girl Across the Hall: A girl named "Mary" called on the payphone in the hallway about an hour ago. She said that she's at her parents and that you're invited to dinner.
Henry Spencer: Oh, yeah?
[after a long pause]
Henry Spencer: Well... thank you very much.
[Henry enters his apartment, while the girl slowly closes the door to hers]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits, just a long, tilted close-up of the face of Jack Nance. See more »

Connections

References Repulsion (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

In Heaven
(uncredited)
Music by Peter Ivers
Lyrics by David Lynch
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The twisted world of David Lynch
4 September 2003 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

I'm always a bit worried when I'm about to express my love towards this movie by the genius director David Lynch... I figure it's the perfect indicator for psychiatrists to claim that you're completely nuts :)

But what the heck, they're a lot of nutballs on this website, so I can speak my mind freely. Indeed, I love this movie...although 'love' may be a wrong term to describe my feelings towards it. This movie 'fascinates' me is a much better saying. Usually, a movie is something in which you can live yourself in...in order to escape the stress of real life. Eraserhead is the exact opposite of that ! When watching this film, you can only hope that you'll never awake in the wold like Lynch shows it here. The horrible noises, the colorless and tasteless locations and the insensible characters...you all hate to love it. Eraserhead takes a walk with your emotions, you don't know whether to be disgusted or intrigued by it. So you'll feel uncomfortable when watching it and that's a wonderful experience for a cinema freak !

Eraserhead is the ultimate cult film in my opinion and a must see for every fan of this delicious genre. In fact, I would go so far to say you can't call yourself a cult-freak if you haven't seen it yet.

David Lynch begins his highly impressive career with this one and it still lives on. Eraserhead isn't his best film at all ( certainly not when it comes to storyline ) but it's his most deep and personal tale. 25 years old and still the "weirdest" film ever. That's an achievement, certainly with all this artistic filmmakers lately...or, at least, they try to be...)

I want to encourage as much people as possible to see this one, but it's for the best that some groups of people avoid it. Surely not recommended if you're depressed or suicidal...The image of Jack Nance and the rest of the cast could even put you more down, I think. The tagline of this movie - "In heaven, everything looks fine" - could become a stimulus, I'm afraid. Pregnant women and young couples in love should beware as well !! This film is the ultimate nightmare for that what should be the greatest miracle of life...The hideous but yet harmless "baby" ( I really don't know how I should call it, actually )is the purest form of horror that ever occurred on the screen.

You must have respect for director David Lynch. If you imagine how hard it must have been to create and finance this production. But it worked...hell, even comedy legend Mel Brooks was deeply impressed. Based on this film, he decided to let Lynch direct "The Elephant Man" a few years later. By that, David's career was launched and of course he made a masterpiece out of it. For me personally, his highlights were the 80's with terrific movies like "Blue Velvet", "Dune" ( very underrated, in my opinion) and "Wild at Heart" at the end of the decade. And let's not forget the best TV-series ever made: "Twin Peaks".

Please, watch this movie !! Three times in a row if possible. I know a lot of people who just stopped watching it after half and hour ( or less ) and yelled "What the f*** is this ???". Real shame, if you ask me. It's an insight to a great mind and a unique event. If you really don't see the magic of it, at least try to admire the very stylish haircut of the main character. I'm thinking of doing the same thing with mine...


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