(Dir. David Lynch) (1977)
A hilariously creepy, surreal, slice of family life set in an urban landscape of industrial nightmare. Henry (Jack Nance, a Tim Finn parody) finds his life, such as it is, a gigantic and miserable chore. Every human crossing his path seems straight out of Brother’s Keeper. His prospective parents-in-law belong in the zoo. So do the chickens they serve. Their home, adjacent the railway tunnel, is a jet-black version of the cardboard horror from Targets. Scenes of amateur squalor abound.
A show-stopping singing number (one of P’s preferred funerary songs) is performed by a deformed inamorata. His near catatonic girlfriend takes off when the fruit of their union assumes the form of the thing exiting John Hurt’s chest in Alien. And then baby comes down with some form of Super colic.
Meanwhile a pock-marked and inscrutable chap, reminiscent of Injun Joe, drives a cosmic switch powering it all. A truly dark, visceral and unique piece of film. We never knew they made pencils like that.[Lynch note: this was the big-haired auteur’s first film, made for about $25,000 reputedly, scraped together over a couple of years of troubled and fretted production. We thought of him after a fellow film-buff referred us to the great site of Hulk Film Crit and particularly his rambling, 11,000-word exegesis (all UPPER CASE) about Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. Hulk thinks it is genius: we are inclined to firmly disagree, but won’t: We don’t want to make Hulk angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.
But The Varnished Culture will take Eraserhead instead.]