Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)

“Look at my knees. Look at my knees!”
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Things I’d forgotten about Eraserhead:

The curled insect-ring Henry gets in a tiny box in the mail and puts in a cabinet:
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The sequence of events leading to the eraser factory. Henry enters the radiator, stands behind a railing, the baby’s head pops out of his neck, knocking his adult head on the checkered-floor ground. Blood pools, head falls into the pool and splats onto the street outside. A bum looks interested, his arm outstretched, but a boy grabs the head and runs, enters the factory. A man (Paul, below left) anxiously presses a buzzer until a bearded man (below right) comes out pointing his finger “OKAY, Paul!” Bearded man takes the boy into the back room where the eraser technician tests the head. “It’s okay.”
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Kinda felt like I was going through the motions as cinephile and Lynch-fanatic going out by myself to watch Eraserhead on 35mm on the big screen… but WOW was it ever awesome. Such beautiful dark, dark imagery, and amazing to see it as intended sitting in a dark theater away from the comforts of home. Movie is a nightmare – that’s the most accurate description I can think of. Sure it’s a “horror film” among other things, but more importantly it is the closest thing I’ve seen to an actual filmed nightmare. There are no “dream sequences” because there’s no reality… the whole film follows a fascinating dream logic.

Made 30 years ago now. Mary’s mother Jeanne Bates (who also appeared in Mulholland Dr.) died last year. Sound man David Splet (who also worked on Days of Heaven and four other Lynch films) died in ’95. The actor who played Paul at the eraser factory, also in two John Carpenter films around the same time, died in ’98. Everyone else seems to be doing fine, but I also learned that assistant director Catherine Coulson later played the Log Lady on Twin Peaks, and co-cinematographer Fred Elmes (also shot five other Lynch movies and films by Cassavetes, Jim Jarmusch, Albert Brooks, Ang Lee, Mira Nair, and Charlie Kaufman’s new Synecdoche New York) is the only person listed on the whole IMDB to be born in Mountain Lakes, NJ. A hometown celebrity – and it’s a GOOD one!

Jack Nance was murdered Dec. 30, 1996. His final film was Lost Highway. Despite the IMDB’s claims, he’s not the same Jack Nance who co-wrote “It’s Only Make Believe” with Conway Twitty… wake up, IMDB.
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Jack Fisk (below), alive and well and married to Sissy Spacek, has been production designer / art director on all four Terrence Malick films, two by De Palma, two by Lynch, and There Will Be Blood – an impressive career!
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