Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dune (1984)


Title: Dune (1984)

Director: David Lynch

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Sean Young, Max Von Sydow, Dean Stockwell, Sting, Patrick Stewart, Jurgen Prochnow, Jack Nance, Virginia Madsen, Richard Jordan, Jose Ferrer, Brad Dourif

David Lynch’s Dune is a film that is hated by many but loved by another many, it’s a film that divides people, a love it or hate it type of thing, though if you ask me, there’s very little to hate about Lynch’s Dune. I’ve loved this movie ever since I was a kid, I didn’t fully “get it” back then, but there was something I liked about it anyways, my young mind recognized it as a special film. Dune is a film that I have revisited many times over in my life; it’s become one of those films that I will always love. Many years after I first discovered it, I read the book and appreciated the film on a whole other level. Considering the complexity of the book, I applaud Lynch for taking this gargantuan story and transferring it to the big screen because it was never going to be an easy job, the story that Frank Herbert weaved is epic, always has been, yet Lynch took it upon himself to film the thing, he even wrote the script himself! Many directors tried and failed for whatever the reason (Jodorowski and Ridley Scott being two of the filmmakers that didn’t end up directing) yet Lynch stuck to his guns and took the project head on. He even rejected an offer to direct Return of the Jedi (1983) in order to make Dune! Can you imagine what Return of the Jedi might have been like had Lynch directed it? Yeah, I know, the idea of Lynch playing with the Star Wars universe boggles the mind, yet I’m happy he ended up directing Dune instead because in many ways, Lynch was the perfect director for this project, especially when it comes to the more mystical aspects of the story, the telepathic abilities, Lynch had the perfect sensibilities for the more “weird” aspects of the Dune saga.


Herbert’s classic science fiction tale of politics, witches, religion and rebellion is one of those science fiction novels that any self respecting science fiction fan should tackle at some point in their lives. It really is one of the best designed fictional worlds; Herbert really constructed a fascinating, complex universe you can easily lose yourself in, a world filled with mysticism and inner dialog, of prophecies, false gods and abusive governments. The story of Dune is an all encompassing tale that covers many important aspects of our society, as you can expect, like all good science fiction, our way of life is mirrored in the story. For example, one of the main themes of the book revolves around religious fanatism, because after all, the story of Dune is one about a messiah coming to free his people, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in this fantastic tale of liberation. You see, Dune is one of those books that is so complex that Herbert created a unique lexicon just for these books. So if you ever decide to read it, just remember your going to be introduced to a whole glossary of words unique to the Dune books, in fact, just in case you get lost, the book actually includes a glossary of Dune words! Words like “Kwisatz Haderach”, “Benne Gesserit Witches” and last but not least, the “Spice Melange”, but same as reading Anthony Burgesses’s A Clockwork Orange which also created its own lexicon, all the new words will end up making perfect sense to you by the time you finish reading the book.  So I highly recommend checking this novel out to all sci-fi fans out there. As with any book to film adaptation, the question remains, was the film a good adaptation of the book?


I’d say that yes, it in deed was a good adaptation of the book. In its essence, the film tells the story of the liberation of the Fremen and the rise of Paul Moadib as ruler of the known universe. And this is coming from me, a huge fan of Frank Herbert’s Dune books! I’ve read almost all of them (still need to read the last one Chapterhouse: Dune) so I can say that yeah, Lynch’s adaptation was faithful for the most part. The only area in which he ended up changing things just a bit was in the last five minutes of film, but the rest of the film is pretty much the book. Of course, quite a few things were left out of the book in order to deliver a two hour movie. Speaking of which, the only real problem for me with the film is that if you’ve read the books, you’ll feel as if you’re seeing the story in fast forward. Truth be told, this book has enough story going for it to make two movies, but what Lynch did with the script and what the producers did when they edited the film themselves was compress the whole story into one movie; a pretty daunting task if you ask me. At the end of the day, the film kept the spirit of the book; even Frank Herbert himself complimented Lynch on the film. Herbert mentioned that he was mostly happy with the film, except for the ending which is where Lynch turned things around towards the more theatrical. You see, in the book, Paul Atreides is a man playing to be a god, without in fact being one; he recognizes the power that being a god to the masses represents, so he uses that to the peoples advantage. But the way the film ends, it makes him look like he is actually a god with powers like making it rain on planet Arrakis. This is why Herbert himself said that while he liked the film, he says that Lynch got the ending wrong. “I have my quibbles about the film, of course. Paul was a man playing a god, not a god who could make it rain” So this is really the only real difference between the books and the film. Though the ending of the film has an impact, and makes Paul Atreides a more powerful character, the problem with it is that Lynch’s ending changes the whole character around going against the actual message that Herbert was trying to put across with his book, that religion is a powerful farce used to control the masses.


In retrospective, considering how much of the story Lynch actually shot, they should have taken the opportunity to film two movies back to back. Lynch filmed enough of the story to make a four hour long movie! That’s right my friends, Lynch’s original cut of Dune was four hours long! So they might as well have split the thing in two and released it as two movies, kind of like what Tarantino did with his Kill Bill movies. But no, instead the producers decided to take the film away from Lynch and edit it down to two hours and seventeen minutes, which is one of the reasons why Lynch disowns this movie. It’s the one he considers a ‘failure’ in his career. In my opinion the resulting film is not a bad one and very far from being a failure. Lynch had shot too much good stuff for it to be bad; the result was going to be good no matter what. But obviously, had Lynch had final cut of the film, it would have been better. This is the main reason why Lynch has always denied participation in any of the dvd releases of the film. I’m wondering if maybe one day we’ll get a director’s cut of the film; which simply put, would be awesome! But considering how Lynch refuses to even talk about this film, well, I’m guessing we’ll never see that happen. As of my typing this review, there are three versions of the film, each varying in length. There’s the theatrical cut, the extended cut you get to see on television and then there’s the special edition version. The most complete one is the special edition version because it includes many scenes that were deleted from the original theatrical cut, which is a nifty extra for any Dune fan. But out of all the versions, I still prefer the original theatrical version best, it’s the one I have always known and loved. But true Dune fans will get a kick out of seeing all those scenes that were left out of the original theatrical cut.  


Lynch considers it painful to even talk about Dune! I can understand why, here’s a movie that took three years of Lynch’s life to make! This was a huge, huge production. Funny how gargantuan productions like this one often times end up in failure! To have so much of your life invested in a film that would ultimately end up not being truly yours can be a huge let down for any director, but such is the nature of big budget productions; it’s the producers or the studio who have the final say, they put up all the millions so that should not suprise anyone. Speaking of which this here movie cost something around the vicinity of 40 million dollars, yet strangely enough, it looks more expensive than some of today’s 200 million dollar movies. The art direction is truly impressive on this film! Dune was made in a time when sets were completely built, not half way digitized like most of today’s films. The film required a crew of 1700 people! 80 sets were built in 16 sound stages! I mean this movie was huge in every way you look at it; and what about that cast? So many amazing actors! And here’s this big budget movie being made by a director used to working on small budgets. The film proved to be too big for Lynch who obviously works better with smaller, more personal material. Still, if you ask me, I think the film we ended up getting is a great slice of science fiction.


Speaking of the different adaptations of Dune, there was a mini-series from director John Harrison which was actually extremely faithful to the books. From a fans point of view, John Harrisons take on Dune was an extremely complete adaptation, he even went further than Lynch’s films and adapted both Dune Messiah (the second book in the series) and Children of Dune (the third book in the series) by making a second mini-series entitled Children of Dune (2003), which by the way was also pretty good. These television mini-series, though faithful, lack the lavish production values of Lynch’s film, which is one of the things I love the most about Lynch’s Dune: how big budget it is! Speaking of the cinematic future of the Dune series, director Peter Berg (Hancock, The Kingdom) attempted a remake a while back and was actively involved in it for more than two years, but stepped down in order to direct Battleship (2012). I know that doesn’t make much sense but that’s what happened! My take on it is that Berg was probably trying to make a commercial film that would make tons of money so that he could then go on and make Dune, unfortunately, Battleship was a huge ass loud flop! So those plans went down the drain. As I type this Pierre Morel, the director behind Taken (2008) and District B-13 (2004) was the last director attached to the project, but so far nothing has come of it, here’s hoping it happens, I’d love to see the Dune universe resurrected for a new generation.


Rating: 5 out of 5

    FOR A DETAILED ANALYSIS OF ALL THE TIMES DUNE WENT IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION, AND ALL OF THE DIRECTORS AND PRODUCERS THAT FAILED TO MAKE THIS FILM ADAPTATION BEFORE LYNCH GOT A HOLD OF IT, VISIT RADIOATOR HEAVEN WHERE MY BUDDY J.D. LAFRANCE GIVES A DETAILED REPORT ON THE WHOLE STORY IN AN ARTICLE ENTITLED: DUNE: IT'S NAME IS A KILLING WORD.

Keep your eyes peeled for David Lynch's cameo as one of the Spice Miners! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wild at Heart (1990)


Title: Wild at Heart (1990)

Director: David Lynch

Cast: Nicholas Cage, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Willem Dafoe, Isabella Rossellini, Grace Zabriskie

“This World is Wild at Heart and Weird on Top” is the defining quote in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart, this shouldnt surprise anyone considering how the strangeness of the world is one of David Lynch’s favorite themes, for example, he also addressed it in Blue Velvet (1986), another film that spoke about the dark strange underbelly of the world. Wild at Heart is a film about a couple trying to hide away from the craziness of the world, trying to run away from it. They desperately want happiness, and constantly look for it, but Lula and Sailor seem destined to failure somehow. Lula and Sailor both come from dysfunctional families, Sailor says he never had any “parental guidance” and Lula, well; she has the mother from hell. When we first meet Sailor, he is being picked up by Lula, on the day he is being released from jail, which immediately lets us see Sailor isn’t an angel; so we’re not exactly talking about two wholesome characters here.  Yet, these two trouble makers have true love for each other, it’s intense, pure, real, so much so that Lula is constantly afraid that something will “jinx” their happiness. The “strange world” is a constant threat to their blissfulness.


There are many scenes in Wild at Heart that are simply there to accentuate how strange the world is. For example, there’s this scene in which Lula and Sailor are staying on this motel in the middle of nowhere, and they decide to take some fresh air by having a drink with some of the tenants of the motel and boy, this group of people they meet are class-A, bonafide weirdoes! On top of things some people are shooting a porn film with obese women on one of the rooms of the motel and suddenly a bunch of obese naked ladies pop into the scene! That’s when it dawns on you that you’re in David Lynch land!  He also revisits the theme of an evil controlling mother figure in the form of “Lula’s Momma”, a.k.a. Marietta Fortune, played by an intense Dianne Ladd, she gets so psychotic at times! At one point she smothers her entire face in lipstick because she’s so angry! By the way, I’ll just make a quick note here and point out that Dianne Ladd plays Lula’s mother in the film, but she’s also Laura Dern’s real mom! So it’s one of those special occasions where real life mother and daughter get to work together on a film;  this parental connection between actresses brings an additional emotional impact to their performances; Lynch knew what he was doing. But just how weird is this movie you ask? Well, it's so weird that test audiences demanded the film to be trimmed down during a scene that is by far the epitome of weirdness; it's a scene between Grace Zabriskie and Harry Dean Stanton, it involves an orgasm and a murder, but I'll let you discover what that scene is all about for yourselves.   


One of the things that makes this film work so well is the chemistry between Nicholas Cage and Laura Dern; Lula and Sailor, wow, what a couple! They exude sensuality, love, and true devotion to one another, but they also have a rebellious edge to them. As a spectator, you know these two people are rebels and trouble makers, they love to hang out at heavy metal bars, dancing to the music of a band called ‘Power Mad’! Lula doesn’t listen to her momma even though Sailor is obviously bad news; you see, Sailor has a tendency towards bar fights and manslaughter! He is also the biggest Elvis fan which I'm sure had something to do with Nicholas Cage who is also himself a huge Elvis fan. In a way Lula and Sailor remind me of these classical rebellious couples like Mickey and Mallory from Natural BornKillers (1994), only less murderous and insane. Thing is that even though Lula and Sailor aren’t squeaky clean characters, you get to like them anyways, Lula comes off as slightly naïve, while Sailor is the quintessential bad boy with a heart of gold. They come off as the kind of couple that is perfectly in tune with each other, their respective lives going down the same exact rode. Their passion is often times alluded to through images of fire and heat, for example, while the two have sex, Lynch superimposes extreme close ups of matches being lit, cigarettes being smoked or entire houses burning down. When Lula gets aroused, she tells Sailor that she’s “hotter than Georgia asphalt”, so sensuality plays a big part on this film.


For some reason Lynch chose to mix Lula and Sailors story with an avalanche of references to The Wizard of Oz (1939), strangely enough it all fits perfectly with the story. For example, as Lula and Sailor run away from various things on their road trip, Lula imagines “the wicked witch of the west” following them closely behind, like an evil threat to their relationship; to make things worse, the wicked witch is her own mother! The Wizard of Oz references don’t stop there; there are talks of yellow brick roads, people wanting to go “somewhere over the rainbow”, even Toto figures into one of the conversations. It all makes perfect sense when we look at it from the perspective of the story, we can actually draw some interesting parallels between both films. For example, we could say that Lula and Sailor are going down the yellow brick road of life. Lula and Sailor have their very own wicked witch in the form of Lula’s over protective mother who looks at Lula through a crystal ball, a symbolism alluding to Lula’s momma watching every step Lula and Sailor take. The Wizard of Oz references go on all the way till the films end, so knock yourselves out trying to spot them!


The film is sprinkled with many cameos by actors who have participated in previous Lynch films, for example we get Jack Nance who played Henry in Eraserhead (1977), Isabella Rosellini who played Dorothy Vallens on BlueVelvet (1986) and Sheryl Lee who worked on Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), so you’ll see a bunch of Lynch familiars, but you’ll also see a couple of faces that you’d never seen before on a Lynch film, the most notable one being Willem Defoe playing ‘Bobby Peru’, another outstanding villain in David Lynch’s Rogues gallery. At the end of the day, Wild at Heart is a road trip movie about two lovers trying as best they can to eliminate evil forces from their lives, two people just trying to be happy, but not being very good at it because as the film will constantly remind us, this world is overpoweringly weird and we can sometimes find ourselves unwillingly entangled in its strangeness weather we want it or not.


Rating: 5 out of 5    

Laura Dern and Nicholas Cage fooling around on the set 

Monday, November 18, 2013

David Lynch’s Eraserhead Explained!


Eraserhead is one of David Lynch’s most recognized films; it was also his first, which by the way took about six years to make while Lynch studied at the American Film Institute. Now for those of you who don’t know a blip about David Lynch’s films, they often times defy interpretation, they’ll make you wonder just what the hell the filmmaker is trying to say with them. Sometimes a David Lynch film will be so surreal that you’ll want to see it again instantly! Or not. You see, Lynch is a very polarizing director, you either fall in love with his style of filmmaking or you don’t. I personally love Lynch’s films because of how challenging they are. I like films that defy me to interpret them, I love films loaded with symbolisms and Lynch’s films are like that. Eraserhead for example is one of those films that everyone always tries to figure out after seeing. Ask anyone about any David Lynch film and they’ll give you their own interpretation of it because his films work that way, they could mean anything to anyone. So here I offer you guys my interpretation of Lynch’s Eraserhead! Cause the way I see it, it’s not as much of a mind twist as most make it out to be! This article is goes into detail about specific moments in the film and its themes so if you haven’t seen the film, skip it and come back after you’ve seen it.


CHAPTER I: HENRY WORRIES ABOUT BEING A FATHER

From its very first frames, Eraserhead challenges you to interpret what you are seeing and you definitely get the idea that you’re in for a surreal film. During the whole film, we constantly revisit what’s going on inside the head of Henry Spencer, the films main character, which is why the film starts out by showing us one of Henry’s many dreams. In this first dream, we see Henry’s head, floating through space. Now apparently, what Henry is having is a nightmare involving something that looks like a giant sperm coming out of his mouth, floating through space. This is not the only reference to sperm that we see in the film by the way; which kind of lets us know what the film is really about! So anyhow, this evil looking man called “The Man in the Planet” pulls a lever, and out comes the sperm from Henry’s mouth, flying through space. The Man in the Planet could represent many things, but since the film addresses sexual themes, I’m gonna go down as saying that this Man in the Planet could possibly represent Henry’s sexual desires? At any rate, this ominous character represents something that controls Henry, and what’s more controlling than our sexual desires? Do they not sometimes control us like a puppeteer pulling strings? So anyhow, as the giant sperm floats through space, it ends up on a planet, as it keeps going down; the sperm thing goes into a dark crevasse. Now it doesn’t take much to figure out that a sperm going into a crevasse would represent impregnation? Taking in consideration that this film is all about the horrors of unwanted pregnancy, well, if you put one and two together you’ll understand that what we are seeing here is Henry Spencer impregnating his girlfriend, Mary X. But this is all happening in Henry’s mind, so what we’re really seeing here is Henry having a nightmare about the possibility of having gotten his girlfriend pregnant.


CHAPTER II: HENRY’S HUMBLE AND DEPRESSING LIFE

Fast forward to Henry coming home from work walking through an industrial wasteland; this is where we learn just what a decidedly bleak landscape Lynch wants to paint with this film. Henry not only leads a depressing lonely life, he lives in a depressing looking city, made this way by industrialization. This is a city without trees, without beautiful looking anythings, this city that Henry lives in and walks through every day from and to his job is one industrial nightmare. It seems post apocalyptic, abandoned, an utterly sad place to live in. The apartment building in which Henry lives in is equally depressing. Henry is portrayed as the quintessential, low income blue collar worker who can only afford to live in these sad circumstances, with only the bare necessities, in an apartment filled with dirt and dying vegetation. Here is where we find out that this is definitely a man who does not have the means to bring a child into this world and care for it properly. He can barely take care of himself.


CHAPTER III: THE WORST DINNER EVER

Next, Henry gets a message from his sexy, provocateur neighbor that he has received a phone call from Mary X, inviting him over for dinner so he could meet her parents, a notion that completely horrifies Henry. He doesn’t seem to be in love with Mary at all and Mary doesn’t seem to be head over heels for Henry either, but something is bringing them together tonight, what could it be? This is where the main theme of the film is revealed. Their unwanted pregnancy and all the awkward, uncomfortable and downright horrifying situations it will create. Henry has to face the possibilities of having to marry Mary, a girl which he obviously doesn’t love. And that’s the worst part about it, by the way they behave around each other, it’s quite obvious that Henry and Mary had a one night stand type of deal and that no love was involved. But here’s Henry, months after having had intercourse with Mary, facing the realities of being a father. Mary asks Henry “You wouldn’t mind marrying me would you Henry?” to which he nervously answers “Well….no.”

"Just cut em up like regular chickens"

Onward we go to meeting Mary’s parents. Mr. and Mrs. X, and boy is this encounter one of the most awkward situations every filmed. First, Henry meets Mary’s mother and of course she begins everything by asking Henry what he does for a living, because all she cares about is how Henry is going to take care of her daughter. Everyone in this room seems to be uncomfortable around one another, everything we see, a dark omen of the negative energies floating around that living room! At one point Henry looks at the floor and sees a dog, feeding her puppies, all of them sucking on her mother’s breasts like mad little doggies. Henry looks at this image and it horrifies him because it obviously reminds him of the responsibilities that await him as a father; it’s here that he realizes that from here on in, a child will depend on him for all of its needs! The energies on this room are so negative that the lamps on the room begin to flicker on and off until the light bulb explodes! Next we meet Mary’s father, a man who is not all that different from Henry, a blue collar worker as well, who has been apparently driven insane by 30 years of hard labor. Same as in many films, the father character is represented as being aloof, apparently not at all there, not even aware that his daughter has given birth to a baby! He just casually converses with Henry about the weird little chickens they are about to eat, which by the way are simply there to make matters even more uncomfortable. How uncomfortable? Well, as Henry begins to cut up the “man made chickens” that the family is going to have for dinner, they begin to bleed profusely! As you can see, nothing in this moment is right, everything is some sort of negative bad omen, it’s as if Henry was not meant to be here at all. In fact, he wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t gotten Mary pregnant. Here Lynch is accentuating the uncomfortable situations brought on by an unwanted pregnancy, it seems that now Henry is going to become a part of this weird ass family unit? All throughout, Henry’s face is telling us he is cursing himself for not having used a condom.


CHAPTER IV: HENRY LEARNS HE IS A FATHER

Next, Mary’s mom takes Henry aside and asks him if he had intercourse with Mary because there’s a baby in the hospital and he is the father! Henry is so nervous he doesn’t know how to answer the question, but under pressure, he tells Mrs. X that he ‘loves’ Mary! The mother keeps pressuring him, asking about the intercourse, all while viciously licking Henry’s neck! Henry calls out to Mary who walks in on Mrs. X salivating over Henry, Mary is horrified. So this is how Henry learns that he is the father of a baby…weird part is that Mary tells Henry that the doctors don’t even know if the baby is really a baby or not! Apparently, Henry and Mary’s baby is not your normal every day baby! The doctors don’t even know what it is! So anyhow, fast forward a couple of days and we see Mary moving in with Henry. Sure, all he’s got is this little apartment, but he is a father now and he has to man up and deal with this new situation in his life! It’s his baby after all; right?


CHAPTER V: MEET THE BABY!

So from this moment in the picture, we meet Henry and Mary’s baby. And let me tell ya, it’s not a pretty sight! The baby looks like some sort of mutant, half formed and incomplete and to top things off, sick. Here the film really starts to test your boundaries. Can you take it? Why is this baby so ugly, so monstrous? I believe that the idea behind making the baby in the film so ugly and downright disgusting is to accentuate the idea that this baby was not planned, it is unwanted. The fact that he is sick, always hungry and crying is meant to remind the viewer of the things that a baby can bring into your life. Now I personally think that under the right circumstances, a child is a reason for happiness and joy in your life, but I also understand how having one when you are not ready can become a burden, and not only that, it can and probably make your life miserable. Let’s say you’re young and are in that part of your life where you just want to party and have fun, well, that’s all over because now you have a baby to take care of and feed and nurture. You gotta worry about earning enough money to give the child everything it needs. Once a baby is born, you sacrifice a lot of yourself in order to take care of that child and if you are not ready for that in your life, you will more than likely be miserable. In Eraserhead, the child never stops crying, never stops being hungry; it is a constant nag in Henry’s life.


CHAPTER VI: MARRIAGE IS AS UNWANTED AS THE BABY

And how about those people that get married because they suddenly face the prospect of having a child? You’ve seen it happen a thousand times. Two kids have unprotected sex, choose not to abort the baby and so they figure they have to get married. If two people get a surprise pregnancy and they love each other, cool beans, get married! Have a family! Be happy! But what of those that have an unwanted pregnancy and don’t feel they love each other? What if all you had was a one night stand? What if you were simply having casual sex? Do you have to marry that person? Should the child be aborted? Do you want to be entangled with a person you barely know? It seems to me that if you marry a person this way, you are forcing things, doing something that doesn’t come out of you naturally. Chances are that this type of marriage will not end up well, and so, this is what happens to Henry. Henry and Mary are trying to force something that’s not cemented on love. Should they have aborted the baby? Would they have been happier? Henry and Mary’s marriage is portrayed as a very uncomfortable thing. Henry isn’t even comfortable with Mary sleeping next to him! She fidgets and moves around and doesn’t let him sleep. To make matters worse, the baby never stops crying! After a while Mary herself can’t take it anymore and moves out, running, like a crying baby to her parents house. This lets us see that even Mary herself, the mother of the child, was not ready to be a mother. She’d rather crawl back to the safety of her parents’ house, which she does. She leaves Henry alone with the monstrous baby!


CHAPTER VII: A TRIP INTO HENRY’S SUBCONSCIOUS

How do we know that Henry is not ready to be a father? Well, aside from the fact that he is obviously distraught by the constant crying of the baby and the fact that the baby is sick and bursting with these ugly warts all over its body, he also starts dreaming about all the things that are going through his mind. First up, he dreams about his next door neighbor, the provocative lady who is constantly flirting with him. And this is where we once again, dive deep into the mind of Henry Spencer through one of his dreams. In his mind Henry has sex with the next door neighbor in a pool of milk! He completely submerges himself in it, letting us see that he wishes he could be fulfilling his sexual desires with women instead of being with Mary X and taking care of a crying baby. Again, Henry wasn’t ready to be tied down by marriage. Even further than that, Henry ends up dreaming with this woman singing on a stage, as she sings, little spermatozoa falls from above, barely missing her. She then proceeds to step on the sperm, alluding possibly to the fact that the mother of the child possibly didn’t want to be a mother either.


Still, this is not the end of Henry’s nightmares, as we go deeper in his mind we see his dream extend and in it he ends up in some sort of judicial court room with the baby as part of the jury! The baby judges Henry and decides it’s off with his head! So Henry’s head pops off and falls to the floor!  This of course all means that if Henry’s child was to judge him for how he is performing in his role as a father, Henry would be found wanting and guilty as charged!  So these dreams within dreams that Henry has all have to do with his preoccupations about being a father, that’s understood. It is quite obvious Henry would rather forget the whole thing; he wishes he could erase the whole thing from his mind, which makes perfect sense when we see what follows. At this point in the dream, Henry’s head is found by a child who takes the head to a pencil factory. In the pencil factory, a worker takes a part of Henry’s brain and turns it into the eraser of a pencil. He then tests the eraser and blows on the residue left by it, as the residue of the eraser blows in the wind, we see the image of Henry’s head superimposed over it. The Meaning behind it all is that Henry wants this whole mess with the deformed baby out of his mind! Erased, forgotten. Unfortunately, the reality is another one. The baby is still in his apartment!


CHAPTER VIII: FILICIDE – MURDERING YOUR OWN CHILD


Then it’s back to reality and we see Henry heading back to his apartment. At first he tries to connect with the sexy neighbor; unfortunately she’s busy with some other man. Frustrated by this Henry returns to his apartment only to find his baby sicker than ever! The warts on the baby have gotten worse and it appears to be choking to death! Henry than decides to cut open the bandages that cover the lower half of the creature before him, you see, till this point in the film we’ve only seen the baby’s head, the rest of its body is covered in bandages. So Henry cuts open the bandages and we discover the baby has no lower body, it’s simply composed of a pair of lungs and its innards! Henry can’t take it anymore so he begins to stab the abomination before him to death! Now this is quite possibly the films most shocking moment because of the idea involved: killing one’s own child. Once Henry is through stabbing the baby, it begins to scream in the midst of a horrible gooey mess, it gushes blood and who knows what else! The energies in this room are so awful that the lights begin to flicker on and off (as they often do in a Lynch film when things are too intense) then the baby grows to gigantic proportions, the lights go out and we fade to black! According to the book David Lynch: Beautiful Dark by Greg Olson, the original ending for the film would have been the baby gobbling up Henry, but for some reason this wasn’t filmed, I would have loved to see that ending, but I guess they couldn’t pull it off. So there you have it ladies and gents. Eraserhead, as seen by The Film Connoisseur, obviously the film might have meant a whole other thing to you so don’t worry if none of this makes any sense, still, I hope you found my interpretation of it interesting. 

David Lynch and Jack Nance, fooling around on the set of Eraserhead

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