A guy with big, gray, fuzzy hair. Weirdly matched with his loose lousy suit. An abandoned wasteland of industrial nuisance. A girl he likes. Her parents no one likes. A sign of approval. So they marry. They have a child. Who is an obscene, ugly alien. A brute. Her mother caresses him. His father alienates him. Alienates them. Alienates himself. He dreams of a girl in a radiator with tumor on both side of her cheeks. Singing such a lovely song full of longings never to be fulfilled. In heaven, in heaven. But the image of his brute son won’t leave him be. The alien cries and cries. His wife abandons him and their son. He abandons his son. The girl in the radiator. A dream after a dream. A fuck with a landlady. A conspiracy. An eraserhead. Guilt after guilt runs after him. His son grows sick. He grows sick. Everything is sick.
That’s how the film goes. Do you follow? I sure hope not, for a clearer review will only disgrace the film. Anyone who likes something absurd, the idea and notion of absurdity, who likes to stress yourself over something absurd while trying to unravel its absurdity, here’s what I have to say: go watch this film and speak for yourself—that is if you could speak. Just be careful enough not to let the stress go to your hair, resembling our hero.
Better still, for those who are fans of David Lynch, his early works in The Short Films of David Lynch are highly recommended. There, you can see how absurdity took a hold of him from the first phase of his career—being an art student, he couldn’t help it. Or if you prefer something more accessible and sensible from this insensible director, go see Elephant Man or Blue Velvet, emotionally more significant, but still thought-provoking and sick in their own ways.
David Lynch, USA, 1977
89 min, B/W, DVD