Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: Get 6 Issues For £15
Get Empire magazine today and save money!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Jack Nance
Charlotte Stewart
Allen Joseph.
Directors
David Lynch.
Screenwriters
David Lynch.
Running Time
89 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Eraserhead
David Lynch's first of many forays in to the surreal and bizarre, this time featuring a mutant baby.


submit to reddit


Plot
Henry has increasingly bizarre dreams, each one more horrific than the last. He falls in love with a girl who then falls pregnant only to give birth to a mutated baby. All the while watching his lady in the radiator who sings to him.


Review
It's hard to believe that David Lynch was in a six-year struggle to make Eraserhead on a piffling American Film Institute grant. It's harder still to believe that its closeted body horror and mind-blown surrealism have since almost become a part of the cultural landscape. Almost. For no matter how many cheesy pop videos or arty horror flicks rip off its (very late-70s) aesthetic of slimy industrial decay, this film remains as powerful, original and disturbing as ever.

The central conceit of boy-meets-girl-has-mutant-baby is still the stuff of American Gothic nightmares and Lynch's repertoire of soft squelches, thin skins, horrible blobs and panicky gestures remains an enduring archetype of puritan sexual disgust. What is surprising is how Jack Nance's grumpily delicate performance as the frustrated father, Henry, has become a period piece. With his trademark props — pens in breast pocket, electro-shock hair-do, white socks — he has come to resemble an old silent comedian stranded in a Bunuel twilight zone where the familiar punch-lines don't work anymore. He is at once more charming and less grotesque than he used to be.

What emerges most clearly from the film, post-Twin Peaks, is the offbeat humour. The old black comedy is still there — Henry's crazy in-laws and their nervous tics, the mini-chickens which come alive on the plate, the final infant apocalypse — but it is now boxed in by a more insistent tone of uncanny menace which surely amounts to a put-on. Think of the smiley lady-behind-the-radiator stomping the foetal worms which are ruining her act, or the creepy, echoey sound-effects, or Nance's puzzled reaction shots — they are like that moment of blankness which precedes a surprise party. Except, with Lynch, the blankness goes on forever and the party never happens.


Verdict
One of Lynch's earlier works, this bizarre offering warned what was to come, yet somehow this is a lot more radical and enjoyable than his later Hollywood efforts. Gothically shot in black and white and numerous shots that have influenced the next generation of directors, this is a classic, no matter how comfortable it is to watch.


Reviewed by Steve Beard

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Eraserhead
Empire Star Rating

Breathtaking cinema

Arguably the most purely nightmarish film ever made, Eraserhead is a dark, surreal and powerful masterpiece from the great David Lynch. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Gittes at 00:59, 07 May 2013 | Report This Post


Masterpiece

This disturbing, surreal experience of a movie. It appears that many are giving this bad reviews because they found it "disturbing" and they "don't get it". That's fine, nobody is really expected to "get it". But the logic behind it all comes later, it's incredible how Lynch can convey these palpable feelings of dread to the viewer despite the fact nobody genuinley understandsthe plot. And it works...almost too well. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by krisjcummins at 19:51, 19 January 2010 | Report This Post


Weird, Pointless, Surreal, Confusing, Brilliant!!!

David Lynch in a world of his own. First-class confusing gunk. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 10:19, 21 April 2008 | Report This Post


???

I love all of Lynch's other films (maybe with the exception of Dune) but Eraserhead, I really struggled to get through. For a 90 minute film, so little plot or sense is just too hard to deal with. Maybe if I understood a bit more then I might give it a higher rating. I'm not criticising Lynch because he probably doesn't care if people like me don't get his film but I just cannot see how this film could get five stars in a review. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by giospurs at 21:01, 25 January 2007 | Report This Post


... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Darcy45 at 19:53, 20 December 2006 | Report This Post


Very surreal

This one is yet another weird one and probably the weirdest of all of Lynch's films and maybe the weirdest film ever. The plot well ummm babies and erasers come to mind but i have tried to wipe my mind of what actually happened as it is just to weird for someone my age to have in their head. But definetly a worthy contender of most original film of the 70s and if your a fan of surrealist cinema (El topo etc.) then is one to watch!! Go get it now. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by OMGWTFBBQ at 22:33, 02 July 2006 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Paul Newman
A cat so cool he makes Steve McQueen look geeky.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)