Director: David Lynch (1977)

The Worst Film Ever Made

I physically attacked my flatmate after he made me watch this film.

Eraserhead is a cult film. But not cult in the good sense like Pulp Fiction or The Big Lebowski. Cult in the bad sense, like Destiny Church. As with Bishop Brian Tamaki, director David Lynch has managed to scam gullible people out of hard-earned money while making them believe they’ve had a profound, worthwhile experience.

Lynch has a cult following of his own, but regardless of whether you love his other films, Eraserhead is pretentious, directionless and, most unforgivably, mind-numbingly boring. The film’s incessant use of white noise, hailed by fans as “suspenseful”, is in fact closer to White Torture. It’s a thing, look it up.

Very little happens in the film’s 89 tortuous minutes. A guy with big hair walks through a dull, industrial area of town while white noise hisses non-stop. Is he going somewhere dangerous? Must be, there’s white noise. He arrives at his mother-in-law’s house and they have dinner without speaking. At least there’s white noise to break up the awkward silences.

The rest of the film largely revolves around blood pouring out of various alien creatures while white noise plays merrily in the background. First a chicken, then a deformed plant-child hybrid, then the main character himself start gushing blood for no discernible reason. It probably represents something profound, like the essentially vulnerable nature of all living things. It can’t just be a series of low budget props being sliced open to a soundtrack less inspiring than that of a silent film. David Lynch wouldn’t do that to his fans.

Films that rely on sudden shocks and loud noises to generate suspense, such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, are rightly derided as cheap and tacky. Eraserhead drills even deeper into the abyss of crude tack-oil by relying entirely upon an infinitely looped three-second soundbite to create “atmosphere.”

There is no plot. There is no character development. At no stage did I care whether any of the entities in the film lived, died, or – as was almost invariably the case – spontaneously ruptured and became a lacklustre fountain of haemoglobin and pointlessness. I just wanted the white noise to stop.

All the erasers in the world couldn’t purge my memories of sitting through this monstrosity. Learn from my mistakes. Don’t watch it.
This article first appeared in Issue 4, 2013.
Posted 5:43pm Sunday 17th March 2013 by Callum Fredric.