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Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
08-14-2010, 05:15 PM
Post: #1
Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
I mean, I thought I would talk about this since it's on Rob's "to do" list.

Eraserhead is my brother's favorite movie, and it's in my top ten (number 6, I have a steady number order for my favorites)

Oh, and if you haven't seen the movie, SPOILERS.

I have only seen it twice, but I was paying a good amount of attention both times, and seem to find a lot of symbolism and unexplained phenomena that remind me much of Kubrick's work, such as The Shining.

I read somewhere that there are three prominent themes to the film:

1.Death
2.Sex
3.Dreams/Nightmares

The link was

http://classic-horror.com/reviews/eraserhead_1977

I think that the reviewer has a point. I think that the entire film is an inversion on reality and how we see it.

First of all, by "inversion", I'm implying a few things. I'm implying that he inverts the dreams into harsh realities. For example, the lady in the radiator vanishes at one point, and Henry gets his head removed by something inside his neck, at which point his child takes over the empty space.

It seems to be suggesting, through a possible dream sequence, that the lady in the radiator is his "safe place". It's his hopes and dreams. Then, when his head is removed, it is showing his dreams crushed by the harsh reality of his child. The entire sequence never determines dream or reality, which is why it's surrealism, but it's a double inversion, because it's a dream, showing a harsh reality crushing a dream (in the sense of a hope).

I think that the entire film definitely revolves around sex and dreams. The man in the moon could have STDs, and maybe that's why he looks so weird. I don't know, just a thought.

I also think that Henry may be a representation of a child. His dialogue is very childish, and his goals and actions throughout the movie are childish as well. It's apparent that he wants love, or at least comfort, but he is not willing to accept the consequences. The lady in the radiator could represent his ultimate comfort in life, and we see that the people who he's been with throughout the movie have done nothing but make him feel less comfortable. More evidence of him being a child is when he sees his neighbor, and it shows a shot of him with his head replaced by his child's. His dream as a "child" is love and comfort, and the harsh realities of sex, children, and consequences for his actions are what ultimately bring about the deterioration of the movie (the film slowly becomes more and more surreal until you can't tell what's going on anymore by the end).

I think I might have to write some things down next time I watch it, because I'm already starting to forget. Any thing else of importance? I honestly think that Lynch is the next director to Kubrick in terms of symbolism, bizarre/subliminal narrative storytelling, and even direction.

Any thoughts on the movie?


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08-18-2010, 01:43 AM
Post: #2
RE: Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
Well, I believe that the emotional narrative in Eraserhead is good and the "events" are subordinated to it. The thing that really strikes me is that all the lynchean cinematic vocabulary is fully formed in Eraserhead, specially the structure of "a character lives with a "flaw", dies because of it and go to a heaven". He is really devoted to his obsessions and visually astounding from the first film on.
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08-18-2010, 05:15 AM
Post: #3
RE: Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
(08-18-2010 01:43 AM)blue bop Wrote:  Well, I believe that the emotional narrative in Eraserhead is good and the "events" are subordinated to it. The thing that really strikes me is that all the lynchean cinematic vocabulary is fully formed in Eraserhead, specially the structure of "a character lives with a "flaw", dies because of it and go to a heaven". He is really devoted to his obsessions and visually astounding from the first film on.

Ya. Inland Empire seems to suggest going to a heaven. I watched a series of youtube videos that call Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire as part of a "Los Angeles" trilogy, in which Lost Highway represents Hell, Mulholland Drive represents Purgatory, and Inland Empire, at least by the end of the film, represents heaven. You see and hear that at the end of Inland Empire, because the ending seems much like leaving and going to heaven. Eraserhead was also the same way. I don't remember much about Dune, and that's the only other Lynch film I've seen.

I definitely think that Eraserhead is a film that shows the secrets of Lynch's style and ideas, just as 2001 is Kubrick's best film to study in order to understand how Kubrick works.


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08-19-2010, 12:23 AM
Post: #4
RE: Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
In LH the main character ends where he started, altough he tries to escape by transfigurating in someone else there is no redemption = hell.

In MD this process is not as clear but the multiple personality main character revisit her story plagued with sorrow and maybe by personifying her victim (compassion) = purgatory.

IE is much very complex because has many layers representing sorrow, guilt, memories and reality with "interrogatory" scenes (where "the prosecutor" ask nothing) and "mob" scenes (where the girls may be representing fragmented parts of a personality) torture "the woman in trouble" (she acknowledges that is a character in a film to begin with her trouble(s)) until we see a kind of redemption outside the snowy tv screen.

BV is also similar, and also introduces the "demonic" character that for some reason behaves good/bad in a girl-pop/leader-of-the-pack/1950's kind of way. Satanic ambiguity so to speak. In WAH this demonic character is straight outta the Genesis myth, drags out the characters from their "innocent" state (they also have a child, probably a link with Eraserhead). The expulsion of paradise as a kind of death.

EM is a beautifully filmed gentler version of the same template, with a Pinochio touch to add special tenderness. The "sleep like a normal person" detail is so tender, man, it made me almost cry.

TP/FWWM is fully a "how did I get this dead?" from several characters, and the longer form permits many narrative details.

Dune is more or less different from the novel but at the end there is a release of water in a desert planet, more like a rebirth/cataclysm/apocalypse. They get what they want, but changes the face of their planet.

The DL film I have not seen is A Simple Story, but to me DL is a filmmaker straight out of the tradition of alchemy/catholic mass/romantic/gothic-horror side of western culture. If he gets to film a Danse Macabre for instance...boy, that would be nice...
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08-19-2010, 08:04 AM
Post: #5
RE: Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
Ya, Blue Bop. I was saying in the ACO thread that Kubrick is the same way. That is, all of his films (at least starting with 2001) are unified by a common theme: All characters are simply subjects of their environment. 2001, the humans are robotic to suit their emotionless future. ACO, Alex is a murderer/rapist/druggie because of being abused and living in a pornographic, fascist world (I haven't seen the film, I'm just guessing). Shining, Jack is just a product of the abuse he has had to endure, and the "ghosts" are just a product of what Jack and Danny both had to endure. Etc., Etc., Etc.


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08-25-2010, 02:43 AM (This post was last modified: 08-25-2010 02:44 AM by wannabe.)
Post: #6
RE: Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
Subject of their environment is most obvious in Barry Lyndon I guess. Yet Kubrick's films never seem really character driven, he just uses some characters to explore the situation/society.

A quote from an article on Barry Lyndon:

"The core of Kubrick's insight in Barry Lyndon is this: the forms of civilization, which are intended to repress or sublimate the savage nature of man, only work to deform the social man. Barry's tragedy is that, in seeking to achieve the expression of himself - to " become" himself - he submits to all the values and life-forms of his culture. Surely no one today would argue that man fulfills God's will best by wearing powdered wigs and false beauty marks or by demanding satisfaction for insults by ritualized murder (also refers to ACO?!). Yet the eighteenth century believed it had evolved the social forms which were the highest expression of God's cosmic scheme, and which best permitted man to achieve and express the dignity inherent in his nature. Barry, in submitting to the values of his culture in an effort to become himself, ends physically deformed and spiritually corrupt. Since he is as much Everyman as is Alex, his fate is the fate of Western man." by Mark Crispin Miller it was, I believe.
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09-20-2010, 06:17 PM
Post: #7
RE: Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
I'm at a complete loss when it comes to Eraserhead. I think the "naive young lovers" theme is obvious and everything else is up to the viewer's personal interpretation. I also have personal feelings towards that topic. I think kids shouldn't have kids and I also think people should only have children when they're financially ready for the responsibility. Also admire the film's mood and atmosphere.

I read a piece once where Lynch said that everyone's interpretation was wrong, no one managed to get the film completely right.

[img]http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/4679/tumblrl5sabdiljq1qz8qfn.gif[/img]
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09-20-2010, 11:37 PM
Post: #8
RE: Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
(09-20-2010 06:17 PM)IHATECGI Wrote:  I'm at a complete loss when it comes to Eraserhead. I think the "naive young lovers" theme is obvious and everything else is up to the viewer's personal interpretation. I also have personal feelings towards that topic. I think kids shouldn't have kids and I also think people should only have children when they're financially ready for the responsibility. Also admire the film's mood and atmosphere.

I read a piece once where Lynch said that everyone's interpretation was wrong, no one managed to get the film completely right.

Actually, I read that about the name: Nobody has been able to figure out the meaning of the name itself.

I think that most of the film is obsessed with putting us in Henry's shoes. Through symbolism and crazy, confusing scenes, Lynch puts us in Henry's hole, where we have trouble climbing out. We see the horrors of being a young father manifested through a series of barely related images. It's much more emotional than it is logical, and Lynch knows that.


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09-25-2010, 05:53 PM (This post was last modified: 09-25-2010 05:54 PM by overZealous.)
Post: #9
RE: Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
I thought Eraserhead was about someone whitnessing miriad sexual experiences as a child.

Think about it, from childbirth, to sexual abuse, to discovering one's penis, to trying to figure out why an older sister is maturing faster and has progressed to puberty before you.

The only part I didn't get was the acutal 'ereserhead' part where they bore part of his head out andmake erasers out of it.... If I had to force it, I might associate it with "Tideland" and assume this is the director's attempt to show what it was like as if he was a little boy.

But, I'll bet the first part of my post is accurate though.
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09-26-2010, 03:04 AM
Post: #10
RE: Any observations/thoughts on "Eraserhead"?
(09-25-2010 05:53 PM)overZealous Wrote:  I thought Eraserhead was about someone whitnessing miriad sexual experiences as a child.

Think about it, from childbirth, to sexual abuse, to discovering one's penis, to trying to figure out why an older sister is maturing faster and has progressed to puberty before you.

The only part I didn't get was the acutal 'ereserhead' part where they bore part of his head out andmake erasers out of it.... If I had to force it, I might associate it with "Tideland" and assume this is the director's attempt to show what it was like as if he was a little boy.

But, I'll bet the first part of my post is accurate though.

Ya. The game Earthbound's final boss was inspired by a traumatic experience the creator had (Giygas is the boss's name, I consider him terrifying, especially for a cute kid's game)

Legend of Zelda was inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto's childhood experiences. It's entirely possible that Eraserhead is the same way. Maybe the eraser part has some sort of connection to his brain, as if he is just erasing his memories, or trying to forget them?


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