The month of horror | Head to erase (1977) | David Lynch’s beginnings with the abstract



The director’s first feature film brings together all the natural symbolism in his stories

Although little is said about it, the horror subgenre of abstract works is one of the most curious that this segment of cinema has to offer. The question generated in the spectator and the editing of each scene which, not following a traditional structure, can be discussed from various points of view, gives a long life to such productions.

Ukrainian Andrzej Zulawski and Japanese Nobuhiko Obayashi are a few examples of professionals who have perfected themselves in this narrative, however the big name that comes to mind when it comes to interpretive themes (often under a hint of horror) is David Lynch.

When you think of the eccentric director’s career, the most talked about production is certainly Twin Peaks; the show that marked an era in the early 1990s and brought worldwide attention to the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer. Not only for the central plot, but the series became the target of constant analysis for its metalanguage, which intensified further in the second season.

It is in “Twin Peaks” that Lynch dealt with the maxim of abstractionism.

Even so, Lynch’s tendency to implement more abstract themes in his narratives dates back to well before Twin Peaks; in fact even before Blue Velvet (1986). His style has been present since his first feature film, in 1977, titled Eraserhead; previously, the filmmaker had only ventured into short films.

Talking about the plot of Eraserhead is trying to define how the director conceives each project idea, but the overall concept follows Henry Spencer (played by Jack Nance who would also become a longtime Lynch collaborator) who comes forward. first as an unhappy worker, who lives in Philadelphia (a city of great personal importance to the filmmaker) who is about to go on vacation.

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His plans for rest, however, are interrupted when news arrives that he has a child; this child has visible deformities. Having no choice, Henry lives with his mother and child in a tiny apartment and trapped in a stifling daily life between the ceaseless cries of the child and a terrible job.

Henry’s life is a never-ending nightmare.

The production of Eraserhead has been marked by turbulence, especially with regard to financing. As an independent project, Lynch struggled to secure the necessary funds from AFI (the NGO responsible for the conservation of historically significant works in the United States) due to the fact that the script of the work , signed by him, was a little over twenty pages long.

Funding originally came from a variety of sources, with the first contribution coming from an acquaintance of the director who was also a collaborator with Terrence Malick (a filmmaker with similar characteristics to David Lynch). Eventually, the lead actor’s wife, Jack Nance, also contributed while the project commander himself had to deliver newspapers to keep some of the money.

In itself, the text of the work is the subject of historical debates on the best way to approach it. It is customary for the director never to explain his writing, so that each spectator can develop his own interpretation of what he has just seen; Along with Eraserhead, it is often theorized that the film tells about how Lynch felt about the unexpected birth of her daughter and when she was born to need corrective surgery.

Yet the film achieved respectable status with other great filmmakers of the time; Stanley Kubrick allegedly claimed that Eraserhead had helped him “get in the right frame of mind” to direct The Shining three years later; John Waters (campie cinema benchmark) considers this film his favorite.

What we see is that this copy symbolizes the type of story with which David Lynch would become famous a few years later, as well as his curious relationship with the audience in which with each new story he generates a million questions without never indicate that he give an answer.

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