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Eraserhead

Eraserhead. David Lynch. 1977.

I’ve just seen this movie once: In the 80s, on a small TV, from a VHS copy. It still made a big impact at the time.

One thing I did not realise from that experience is how thrillingly awesome the soundtrack is. All gnashing machines, rumbles and ominous electrical twitching. OK; I’m now switching the lights off and putting the headphones on.

[time passes]

I usually write these bloggy things when there’s a lull in the movie, but I was absolutely riveted here, so I’m writing this after the fact.

I mean, you all know it’s a masterpiece. What can I say?

It’s fun to see just how fully formed Lynch’ aesthetic was from the start: A fair amount of these interiors could have been in season three of Twin Peaks.

So many of these scenes depend on Lynch’ most impressive trick: Presenting the viewer with a basically, well, goofy scene, and then insisting on it until it goes beyond everything and then becomes the most important scene ever.

I wonder what the actors (and the crew) were thinking while making these scenes: Did they trust that Lynch was going to make it all turn out fine, or were they just going along with it because it’s a fun day out? I imagine him telling them “no, be more stylised! less human!” or something, and it did work out fine.

Without the audio tying it all together, this may have been tough sledding, but it’s really a fabulous experience now.

But I’m not surprised that it’s seldom on the list of officially the best movies ever. I think that for many people, it’s too much, and they laugh it off.

But it’s not too much.

It’s perfect.

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