Morbidly Beautiful

Your Home for Horror

Bloody Blog

A Heady Nightmare: Experiencing Eraserhead at the Dryden Theatre


I recent­ly had the plea­sure of see­ing David Lynch’s first fea­ture length film at The Dry­den The­atre in Rochester NY — that film being Eraser­head (1977). It’s a film that is as head scratch­ing, as it is claus­tro­pho­bic, tense, squirm induc­ing and dis­turb­ing.

Eraser­head, if you have not seen it, is a film that revolves around Hen­ry Spencer, a new father, played by John Nance, and his bleak, all be it sur­re­al and scary, life. This is the clos­est you can pos­si­ble get to a sum­ma­ry, con­sid­er­ing this film’s plot is any­thing but con­ven­tion­al­ly lin­ear or log­i­cal. In fact, you would be hard pressed to come up with much of a plot or mean­ing behind this film with­out it being two parts spec­u­la­tion.


Fol­low­ing the screen­ing, I found myself feel­ing hope­less­ly trapped, like Hen­ry in his dark, cramped, apart­ment, with his scream­ing strange “child.” I also found myself feel­ing out of my ele­ment — much like Hen­ry in the film who, regard­less of liv­ing in this sur­re­al and grotesque world, seems just as much the fish out of water as the view­er. What’s more, I con­tin­ued to feel this way an hour after the screen­ing, which I think attests to how effec­tive this film is!

As for the intro­duc­tion giv­en before the film, some­thing the Dry­den does before every screen­ing, it too was quite effec­tive. Most impor­tant­ly, it gave this film’s pro­duc­tion some back sto­ry, illu­mi­nat­ing some pos­si­ble inter­pre­ta­tions of the film along with details sur­round­ing the life of its eccen­tric direc­tor. Last­ly, the print shown was quite nice — lead­ing me to the con­clu­sion that the only way to see this film, or any film for that mat­ter, is on the big screen, on film.

With that said, if you get the chance to see this film at the Dry­den, please do. The whole expe­ri­ence will leave you with a feel­ing that, try as you might, you will nev­er be able to lose pre­ma­ture­ly. Instead, you’ll have to go to bed and let the screen­ing wear off on its own accord. Fail­ing to let the screen­ing do so could cost you your san­i­ty — some­thing that you’re going to want if you’re going to go back to the Dry­den and see Eraser­head again.

A spe­cial thanks to the Dry­den The­ater and the George East­man Muse­um for allow­ing me and my fel­low review­ers, Josh and Jes­si­ca, to see this film. Watch our inter­views below with Jurij Meden and Alex Vasile, the two peo­ple who made this screen­ing of Eraser­head pos­si­ble. 

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Allowed tags:  you may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="">, <strong>, <em>, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>
Please note:  all comments go through moderation.