Critic’s Notebook: Landmark to screen David Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead’

Acid-tripping gargantua hits a movie theater near you

“That was the weirdest movie,” is a phrase that likely gets tossed around whenever a film ends strangely, abruptly, or unpredictably, but that distinction undoubtedly belongs to David Lynch’s Eraserhead. The 1977 film will get a rare Atlanta screening at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema next week. Although the film is available on Blu-Ray and DVD, the opportunity to see the film as it was meant to be seen — projected onto the big screen in a darkened movie theater — is not to be missed. ?? ?? ?

Lynch’s first feature film, Eraserhead tells the story of Henry Spencer (played by actor Jack Nance, who went on to perform in many of Lynch’s later films), who lives in a bleak post-industrial landscape and is left to care for the nightmarishly malformed baby he’s recently fathered. Simply describing the strange plot or saying the film is “dreamlike” or “surreal” never quite captures the experience of watching it. The brain’s ability to process projected film is closely, even literally, connected to the brain’s capacity to dream and have nightmares, and it’s in this strange realm where Lynch sought to plant his freak flag. Eraserhead makes the director’s later work like “Twin Peaks” and Mulholland Drive seem positively tame in comparison. One searches for the right words: a reviewer for the Village Voice once wrote that Eraserhead is “an intergalactic seashell cocked to the ears of an acid-tripping gargantua.” Well, yes. That’s it. Precisely.
? David Lynch’s Eraserhead screens at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema on Tues., March 3, at 7 p.m.??