David LynchUSA85 minutes1977English
David Lynch's startling debut feature, about an eccentric, curiously coiffed young man living in a nightmarish industrial-dystopian dreamscape, became a midnight-movie cult hit and one of the most legendary independent films of all time.
Shot over the course of several years in a shed on the grounds of the American Film Institute and on a budget that hardly qualifies as shoestring, the debut feature by David Lynch is one of the most stunning, original and unprecedented American films ever made. Set in an unnamed, desolate urbane wasteland, Eraserhead loosely chronicles the travails of shock-haired loser Henry Spencer (Jack Nance), whose already bleak existence is made just that much worse when his embittered girlfriend reveals that she has given birth to their "child," an indescribable, mewling mutant. Confined to his awful apartment with the constantly crying baby, Henry seeks solace by gazing into his radiator — where a smiling, putty-faced woman sings, dances and assures him that "in Heaven, everything is fine" — and slides ever deeper into a world where dreams, nightmares and fantasies fuse. Endlessly influential yet utterly inimitable, Eraserhead is "a sui generis masterpiece that most spectators and critics never quite know how to take" (Jonathan Rosenbaum).