Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



Eraserhead (1977)

 





Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

Eraserhead (1977)

In director David Lynch's feature debut film - a surrealistic, troubling, expressionistic, nightmarish, 'midnight movie' cult and comic-horror film about the fear of fatherhood and an unwanted pregnancy:

  • the opening dream sequence of a pock-marked "Man in the Planet" (Jack Fisk) sitting in a building (next to a cracked window) with an open roof manipulating mechanical levers that were controlling the central nervous system (sexual desires?) of timid factory worker Henry Spencer (Jack Nance), a printer - it was revealed in Henry's fear dream (about accidentally getting his female partner pregnant) as he floated in space near a planet (his brain?), that he was having pre-marital sexual intercourse with his girlfriend Mary X (Charlotte Stewart); a giant sperm was ejected from his mouth, flew into space, and fell downwards and entered into (or splashed into) Mary's dark puddle (vagina, egg or womb) -- impregnation or conception
Henry's Fear-Dream of Impregnating Partner
Dream: Henry's Head Floating in Space
Dream: Giant Wriggling Sperm Ejected From Henry
Dream: Sperm Falls into Puddle
  • the bleak, lonely living conditions shown as depressed blue-collar worker Henry returned home to his slum apartment in a noisy, industrial wasteland neighborhood after a post-apocalyptic event (a mushroom cloud picture was hanging next to Henry's bed); in the corridor outside his drab apartment, the sexy character of the desirous "Beautiful Girl Across the Hall" (Judith Anna Roberts) spoke to Henry about a call from his unmarried partner Mary; inside their claustrophobic, one-room dwelling (with no view and only one window, facing a brick wall) was a radiator with electrical wires attached to it
Henry Returning to His Drab Apartment
"Beautiful Girl Across the Hall"
  • the sexualized dinner scene of Henry's visit to the home of Mary X with her unusual parents: Mr. X (Allen Joseph) and Mrs. X (Jeanne Bates), and grandmother (Jean Lange); Henry told them: "I'm on vacation"; when Henry was presented with a whole, cooked artificial ("man-made") mini-chicken on a plate, Mr. X suggested: "Mary usually does the carving, but maybe tonight you'll do it, Henry. All right with you?" - Henry responded: "Of course. I'd be happy to. (long pause) Do I just, uh, just cut them up like regular chickens?"; as Henry stabbed the chicken to hold it down with a large fork utensil, it began pulsating bloody pus from its crotch area (childbirth metaphor, or loss of virginity metaphor?) - and its legs began kicking, while Mrs. X across from Henry began to moan as her head angled backwards, before she fled from the table with Mary X
Awkward Dinner Scene With Mary's Family
  • and then at the start of dinner, Henry was pulled aside and confronted by Mary's pressuring mother: "Did you and Mary have sexual intercourse?...You're in very bad trouble if you won't cooperate!"; after strangely licking Henry's neck and being pulled off by Mary, the mother announced: "There's a baby. It's at the hospital...and you're the father!"; Henry disagreed: "But that's impossible. It's only been..."; Mary blurted out: "Mother, they're still not sure it is a baby"; the mother continued: "It's premature, but there's a baby. After the two of you are married, which should be very soon, you can pick the baby up"; Mary noticed that the stressed Henry had a nosebleed, and then anxiously asked: "You don't mind, do you, Henry? I-I mean about getting married" - he responded: "Oh, no"
  • the stark views of the couple's deformed, monstrous, bleating, sickly and whining lamb-like mutant baby brought home from the hospital wrapped with bandages; it was covered with sores and pox marks, and wheezing in their one-room industrial-type apartment tenement; in disgust and anger, Mary moved out and deserted Henry who was left alone to care for the mutant
  • the ('wet-dream') appearance of the Lady in the Radiator (Laurel Near) - Henry's fantasy 'dream-girl' - with deformed cheeks, who would also be seen singing on a stage: "In heaven, everything is fine" to reassure Henry, while mutated worms (spermatozoa) fell from the ceiling
  • the dream scene of Henry's affair with the provocative "Beautiful Girl Across the Hall" (possibly a prostitute) who seduced Henry - they melted into bed together in a pool of milk (semen?)
  • the dream scene of the judgment of Henry as a father (who wished to murder his abomination of a son) - Henry's head was severed by a phallic-shaped appendage that burst from his neck; eventually Henry's decapitated head rolled onto the ground where it was found by a child in a puddle of blood (with its brain showing) and taken to a pencil factory, where one of the workers took a part of Henry's brain and turned it into the eraser of a pencil (a symbol of Henry's sublimated wish to "erase" what was happening?); on Henry's neck stump, a new deformed head (the mutant baby) grew in its place
Judgment Upon Henry - Severed Head and Transformed Neck Stump
Phallic-Shaped Appendage on Henry's Neck Stump
Henry's Severed Head
Henry's Head Replaced by Mutant Baby's Head
  • the surrealistic final scene of Henry killing his hideous, deformed reptilian baby; he cut into the baby's bandaged middle with scissors, causing it to bleed, gurgle, and screech; to put it out of its misery, Henry then stabbed the creature in the heart, producing an oozing white liquid (the baby's innards?); the neck of the baby elongated and then the head grew gigantic, became disembodied and teleported to different places; Henry was unable to cope with the fact of his own homicidal murder of his own child and went insane; suddenly, the baby's head was replaced by the planet (Henry's brain from the opening) that exploded; in the film's most iconic image, the explosion caused Henry's fractured head to be surrounded by the pencil erasure shavings of his own brain - (a possible suicide?)
  • the after-death sequence of a relieved Henry (with his mind literally erased) entering Dream-land (in bright white light) to embrace the pure and innocent puffy-cheeked Lady in the Radiator

Henry's Apartment Window View

Henry Spencer and Mary X

Mrs. X: "Did you and Mary have sexual intercourse?"


Sick Mutant Baby

Dream: Sex With the "Beautiful Girl Across the Hall"

Lady in the Radiator: "In heaven, everything is fine"


Cutting Open the Mutant Baby

Stabbing the Baby's Heart With Scissors

Elongated Neck of Baby

Henry's Eraserhead

Henry in "Dreamland" (Heaven) with Lady in the Radiator

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