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a one-off visual experiment owing something to Frankenstein
on 10 February 2016
Eraserhead is one of those films that many people love; if you like strangeness, black and white imagery, things oozing, spurting dark liquid, disgusting things, strange rooms with even stranger lighting, in a nameless city that is hardly shown, vertical hair that looks like the bride of Frankenstein, but here is on the male lead - you may like this. It has little plot, but a lot happens in a kind of dreamscape, whereby Henry Spencer, the main character, finds himself left by his wife to look after their prematurely-born baby, who looks like an alien wrapped in bandages. He also has a glamorous neighbour, has a bizarre meal at his in-laws', and has a dream in which his own head is used to provide erasers on the end of pencils, having sprung off his shoulders. Some of the images - this scuptural head landing on and denting the pavement, for instance - are good, but for a non-fan of the genre it does try the patience a bit and seems a bit long even at 85 minutes. Its main interest for me was seeing where the style of The Elephant Man came from; there are similarities in the inky b/w images, but there the strangeness is harnessed to more meaning and emotional connection.