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564 user 163 critic

Eraserhead (1977)

Not Rated | | Horror | 3 February 1978 (USA)
Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.

Director:

David Lynch

Writer:

David Lynch
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Popularity
2,100 ( 68)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nance ... Henry Spencer (as John Nance)
Charlotte Stewart ... Mary X
Allen Joseph ... Mr. X
Jeanne Bates ... Mrs. X
Judith Roberts ... Beautiful Girl Across the Hall (as Judith Anna Roberts)
Laurel Near ... Lady in the Radiator
V. Phipps-Wilson V. Phipps-Wilson ... Landlady (long version)
Jack Fisk ... Man in the Planet
Jean Lange Jean Lange ... Grandmother
Thomas Coulson Thomas Coulson ... The Boy
John Monez John Monez ... Bum
Darwin Joston ... Paul
T. Max Graham T. Max Graham ... The Boss (as Neil Moran)
Hal Landon Jr. ... Pencil Machine Operator
Jennifer Lynch ... Little Girl
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Storyline

A film that defies conventional logic and storytelling, fueled by its dark nightmarish atmosphere and compellingly disturbing visuals. Henry Spencer is a hapless factory worker on his vacation when he finds out he's the father of a hideously deformed baby. Now living with his unhappy, malcontent girlfriend, the child cries day and night, driving Henry and his girlfriend to near insanity. Written by Jacob Samuelson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A dream of dark and troubling things See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 February 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gardenback See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (re-release)| Mono (original release)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though only released at first as a "midnight movie," a number of Hollywood A-list directors saw the film and were impressed by it. John Waters, whose Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974) played the same venue, often mentioned Eraserhead as a favorite film, urging viewers to see it. Stanley Kubrick reportedly said the same; this was one of the films he made the cast and crew of The Shining (1980) watch to get in the right frame of mind for. Mel Brooks saw it and offered Lynch the chance to direct The Elephant Man (1980); Lynch accepted. George Lucas asked Lynch to direct Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983); Lynch turned it down. See more »

Goofs

The man's hands on the door at the beginning. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The original print of the film ran 20m longer and featured a number of characters who are referenced in the credits but do not appear: The people digging in the alley show up in the second half of the movie. Henry comes across two kids excavating rows of dimes from the asphalt in the street. The landlady shows up in the second half, in a scene where Henry goes into the lobby of the apartment building and takes out his anger on a bench. "You stop kicking my bench!" the landlady shouts at him. "That's good wood!" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Love and Other Catastrophes (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Messin' Around With the Blues
Written and performed by Fats Waller (as Thomas "Fats' Waller)
In 1927.
© Peer International Corp. (Chappel & Co. U.S.A) (BMI)
© Copyright 1976. David Lynch.
© 1976 O.K. Paul Music.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Not really a movie in the classic sense...
23 August 2004 | by dr_steveSee all my reviews

I've watched Eraserhead countless times. In theaters. Off of the infamous Japanese-subtitled VCR copy. Off of the recent Lynch re-release. From around the late 70s onward. Yes, that long.

I have friends who won't let me recommend movies to them any more.

Anyway, the capsule summary, "Can't be summarized," is pretty close.

First, it is not a movie. It is not a film.

It is a piece of art.

All of the comments I read that attempt to describe it as a movie fail for precisely that reason. If you read the ones that can handle it, they handle it as an art review.

So don't even think of it as a movie. Don't recommend it as a movie. It doesn't work.

I'll also admit that I sat in a haze for decades, absorbed in the imagery. In awe of the impressions. And finally, an image crystallized, an image of what this was a portrait of. (And, of course, I expect this image may change with repeated viewings...) And as I watch it, with this in mind, a continuity appears.

We are living in hell, we just don't realize it.


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