Posts Tagged ‘1976
Tags: 1976, 70's, Alvin L Fast, amputee, anal, bar, bayou, beasts, blood, booze, bound, breasts, butt sex, Carolyn Jones, child trauma, crocodile, Cruel, dead dog, dead moneky, death, Drive-In, eaten alive, hooker, horror, Horror Hotel, Janus Blythe, Kyle Richards, legend, Louisianna, Maniac, Mardi Rustam, Marilyn Burns, mean, Mel Ferrer, monkey, murder, nasty, Neville Brand, nile, nudity, Primal Root, prostitute, psycho, Rampage, rape, Robert England, Roberta Collins, scythe, slaughter, sleaze, southern, splatter, starlight, starvation, Stuart Whitman, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, tits, tna, tobe hooper, torture, Trash Cinema, Trauma, travel, whorehouse, William Finley, written review
a Primal Root written review
I’ve spent a lifetime tracking down and viewing the strangest, nastiest, weirdest films that have ever been made. Years I’ve spend renting, sitting in theaters and even buying movies for my collection before ever having viewed them in the hope of tracking down a little nugget of dirty trash cinema gold. And in all those years, few have reached the levels of sick, disturbing, nasty southern fried exploitation sleaze and depravity as Tobe Hooper’s 1976 bargain basement horror flick, Eaten Alive (aka: Legend of the Bayou aka: Death Trap aka: Horror Hotel aka: Murder on the Bayou aka: Starlight Slaughter). This flick is about as seedy, filthy and low brow as horror cinema gets. It’s garish, lurid, ultra cheap and is missing so much of the artistic flourishes which made Tobe Hooper 1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre not only a massive success with audiences but critics too, so much so that it is considered an American classic and even has it’s original negatives housed at The American Film Archive.
You will never find Eaten Alive being lauded over and put in a film preservation vault. Not, this is the kind of movie main stream critics use to wipe the turd crusted asses with. This is the ultimate deglamorization of the horror genre. The colors are thick and heavy, the sets rudimentary, ramshackle, and worn down, totally caked in dust, dirt and filth. And the first lines we ever hear are during a close up shot of a huge belt buckle coming undone as a young Robert (don’t call me Freddy) Englund exclaims, is a raspy southern accent “My name’s Buck and I’m rarin’ to FUCK!” He makes this exclamation as he bends a young prostitute over and attempts to ass fuck her, which she is less than willing to do. Eaten Alive begins…with a man trying to stick his cock up a woman’s ass… Sophie’s Choice, this is not.
It all gets even more dark and mean spirited from there, as the madame of this particular Pussy Shack, Miss Hattie (Morticia herself, Carolyn Jones) boots the young prostitute , Clara (Roberta Collins), out on the street for refusing to let young Buck savage her inexperienced poop chute with his throbbing, eager, member. She ends up heading deep into the bayou to stay at the run down, once thriving, now absolutely disgusting and grotesque Starlight Hotel. It’s a shanty out in the middle of the swamp and houses not only the disturbed, one legged, bespectacled, murderous proprietor… Judd (Neville Brand), but also is the domain of Judd’s behemoth per crocodile, a crocodile he claims he got directly from The Nile, which stays in a fenced in portion of the swamp right beside the front porch of The Starlight Hotel.
Clara is chopped to pieces and tossed to the crocodile within minutes of arriving when Judd realizes she used to sling leg for cold hard cash back in town. He flips his shit, tucks his scythe into her young, lovely flesh several good times and tosses her still breathing body off the porch, into the swamp to spend her last gasping breaths chocking on her own blood as she is torn to pieces by the resident devourer of anything made of meat. It’s a pretty nasty, unapologetic and fucking cruel way for this character to meat her end. It’s like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho…only set in Florida Man’s South. Where these sorts of things are still shocking, but not necessarily surprising and everything is much more gruesome.
Eaten Alive is a horror movie with no exits, no easy way out from the grueling, unrelentingly malicious story and it’s schlocky tone. From the get go, the audience knows that their emotions, their nerves, will not be spared and, as my close, personal friend, Joe Bob Briggs once said, the key to a good Drive-In movie is that anyone can die at any moment. Tobe Hooper keeps this rule close to his heart in Eaten Alive, as many kind hearted, well meaning characters are introduced and then have scythes rammed through their skulls and an enormous gator tugs at their flailing legs and pulls them in half. It’s that kind of ride. Innocent family pets are shown being bitten into and dragged to their watery deaths while their adolescent owner screams in horror. So, be warned, this movie is for the sicker of us who respect films that can show just how unlikable and horrifying the human condition can be.
There’s an outstanding sequence where a little nuclear family stops by The Starlight Hotel to stay the night and collect bed bugs. The married couple, Faye and Roy are played by none other than two of my favorite character actors, Marilyn Burns (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and William Finley (Phantom of the Paradise). Their marriage is obviously a slow burn downward spiral into permanent psychosis and Roy apologizes constantly, fantasies about his wife using his eyeball as an ash tray and barks all night. It’s a tense, wholly bizarre marriage filled with passive aggressive behavior and absolute batshit crazy behavior. I’m not sure what the fuck is exactly going on here with these two when they’re alone together, but I do feel for their little daughter Angie (Kyle Richards) who spends her time screaming in despair with her hands clasped over her ears as her parents act like complete nutty bars. It’s one of those scenes that I;m so happy exists, because it’s so much fun to watch these two actors go tow to tow and go crazy on one another, but the implications are disheartening to say the least.
Soon, Clara’s sick and slowly dying Father, Harvey (Mel Ferrer), and his blonde, well stacked daughter, Libby show up in town looking for Clara. Harvey knows he will be gone soon and wants to find her so he can make good with her before his imminent demise. Things ended on a sour note and he wants to be the bigger man and is desperate to track her down. Where do they end up staying? You guessed it! The Starlight Hotel! The two begin to investigate her disappearance which gets the local Sheriff Martin (Stuart Whitman). All the while, Buck (Robert Englund) takes his curvy young girlfriend, Lynette (Janus Blythe) up to The Starlight Hotel for a little consensual sodomy which all leads to a collision course with absolute horror at the dank, gross and inexplicably popular hellhole of a hotel. There’s gotta be a Motel 6 nearby, right?
One of the more disturbing aspects of Eaten Alive is the film’s distinct lack of anyone to really root for, it’s lack of humanity and likable characters. There’s not much to distinguish the villain of the piece, Judd, from the rest of the stories inhabitants. We can;t root for Buck, he’s a rapist, a drug dealer and a fucking bully. Sheriff Martin is totally incompetent and impotent as a lawman or any kind of hero. Roy is a failure, a whimpering loser on the verge of a psychotic break down…even Clara’s Dad is so obsessed beyond reason with finding her and comes off as a total jerk. Still, you see these poor sacks of flesh getting filleted by Judd and then ripped to pieces by the voracious crocodile and you genuinely feel bad for these poor, fucked fuckers. It’s like a treatise against having faith in humanity. Possibly even life itself. Did I mention this movie is dark?
Some of the women fair a little bit better and are able to save themselves most of the time and work together to overcome the blood thirsty men who happen to be coming after them intent of sinking as much blade into their young soft bodies as possible. But, possibly the only totally sane character in the whole film is Roy and Faye’s young daughter, who is certain to be scarred for life after her long weekend witnessing horror after horror and narrowly escaping being stabbed to death and Eaten Alive… Yeah, I foresee many hefty therapy bills for the rest of this poor child’s life…
There’s a lot of joy to be had, also, in watching a young pre A Nightmare on Elm Street Robert Englund playing a pretty nasty piece of white trash dirtbag named Buck in Eaten Alive. He gives his all in what could have been a pretty forgettable character, but that Englund personae pulls through and makes Buck a pretty memorable piece of shit. You can’t help but see the shadow of Freddy in so many of this characters posses and mannerisms. I often like to imagine that Buck is possibly Freddy Krueger’s cousin.
All this being said, Eaten Alive is a kind of harrowing masterpiece of deep Southern sleaze cinema. The gore is gnarly, the kills palpably unpleasant, the effects all bargain basement which, in it’s own way, adds to the sticky, morbidity of the piece AND there is a plentiful helping of gratuitous tits and ass, which is kind of the sugar that helps this dirty little pill go down. The sleaze on display here is authentic. One walks away from a viewing of Eaten alive feeling dirty and in need of a shower. There’s no deeper meaning to be found in this head first dive into depravity, murder and insanity. It’s a film totally preoccupied in the grimy, the dirty and the disturbing and offers no apologies. There is no light at the end of this tunnel. Only blood, chaos, death and darkness. And what could be more terrifying than that?
I award Eaten Alive 4 out of 5 Dumpster Nuggets!
Tags: 1970's, 1976, 70's, 76, American, belief, blood, Braddock, Catholic, christian, costume, Count, crucifix, Cuda, decay, dope, Dracula, dream, drugs, dying, exorcism, faith, garlic, George Romero, hereditary, home, home invasion, horror, John Amplas, lies, magic, Martin, murder, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, primal, rape, religion, review, romero, Root, rotten, sad, small town, thoughtful, train, vampire, vampirisim, written
a Primal Root written review
“Do you believe God’s whole world runs by the laws of the few sciences we have been able to discover? Oh, no, Christine, there is more. But people are satisfied. They know so much, they think they know all. And that makes it easy for Nosferatu. That makes it easy for all the devils.” -Cuda, Martin
George Romero’s name immediately conjures up images of his iconic shambling, flesh eating “shoot ’em in the head” zombies, and it’s no wonder. Hell, the man’s spent the better part of a career spanning over forty years devoted to these walking dead flesh eaters who changed the landscape of horror cinema forever with movies like Night of the Living Dead (!968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) Day of the Dead (1985) and Land of the Dead (2004) among many other “Of the Dead” films and follow ups spawning countless unofficial ineffective sequels and lukewarm, forgettable remakes and also saturated the market for the past decade influencing everything in pop culture to the point I wish someone would just put a bullet in my head and end the unimaginative, cash-in, living dead hysteria that won’t seem to ever fucking wind down and die.
But to concentrate on the man’s most popular and commercially successful ventures is to ignore the bold and creative films he is lesser known for. Films like The Crazies, Knightriders, Creepshow,The Dark Half, etc. The man has made some phenomenal films outside the living dead canon he’s most known for, and I’d like to focus on what I consider to be among his most intriguing and underrated works, the independent vampire flick, Martin.
Martin tells the tale of a shy, quiet, troubled teenage boy who believes himself to be a vampire, in fact, he comes from a lineage of his family that other relatives believe is cursed with hereditary vampirisim. We’re introduced to Martin (John Amplas) as he stalks a fellow female passenger on an overnight train to Braddock, Pennsylvania. As he stalks this average young woman back to her overnight cabin aboard the train, we watch as Martin imagines her waiting for him behind the locked door in a revealing neglige, seduced by his vampire charms, lusting for him and embraces Martin with open arms, allowing him to feast on her warm red blood. What Martin imagines is presented in grainy black and white, like the classic Universal monster movies of the 30’s and 40’s, like Dracula or Frankenstein, before cutting back to the bright, technicolor of reality where Martin attacks the young woman in her cramped cabin. The reality is far from Martin’s dream scenario. He walks in to the sound of her flushing the toilet before she steps out with her hair up in a towel, wearing a well loved bathrobe, her face caked in beauty cream as she blows a huge snot rocket into a wad of toilet paper. When Martin attacks her, intent on doping her up with a well placed prick of his syringe, she fights back with everything she has, hurling obscenities like “FREAK! RAPIST! ASSHOLE!” athim while struggling against his clutches. Honestly, Martin is a shrimpy looking dude, and I have a feeling she would probably kick his ass normally, but the drugs take hold and she passes out, thus, allowing Martin to slice her arm open with a straight razor and dine on her blood. That’s right, Martin has no fangs.
When the train reaches it’s destination Martin meets his new caretaker, his elderly cousin Cuda (Lincoln Maazel). Cuda is a devoutly religious and highly superstitious man, and believes completely in the old family legend that some members are cursed with vampirisim. Cuda takes the boy in with the hopes of saving Martin’s eternal soul before destroying the creature of the night for all time. As you might guess, Cuda has nothing but contempt for young Martin, addressing him as Nosferatu and even threatening to put a stake through Martin’s heart, killing Martin without salvation, if Martin harms anyone in his city. But it’s not long before Martin ignores these warnings, and sneaks off into the night to hunt and feed.
From the very first frame, Romero, with the help of a haunting, beautiful score from Don Rubinstein and utilizing the fading landscape of Braddock Pennsylvania, imbues his film with a sad, bleak, disturbing atmosphere, one where the American Dream has run dry and the world is left to rot and decay. The mills have alls hut down, the local economy has crumbled, and everyone left is struggling just to survive. The tone is one of desperation as a population holds on to the dying old ways of their lives and existing in denial.
As Martin stalks and ambushes his victims, it becomes apparent that sex is not his concern at all. In fact, when he is propositioned by a female shopper he befriends at Cuda’s grocery store, he has no idea how to respond. Turns out, Martin’s still a virgin after all these years and has no idea what to make of this. The lure of sex seems to hang all about Martin, and his response to it comes off as confused, sad and out of place. When he finally does give in to the seduction, he comes away unfulfilled. This is not your typical lustful vampire.
What Romero has sought out to do with Martin is, much like he did for zombies in his 1968 horror milestone Night of the Living Dead , is to deconstruct the vampire legend and all of the conventions we as an audience hold to be law. Martin is Romero’s treatise that examines the myth of the vampire, (featured in black and white, either as fantasy or long ago memories of how being a vampire once was, this point is left ambiguous) and reality (shot in bright, bold, 1970’s color) de-romanticizing the vampire legend. Also being tackled here is religion and superstitious belief.
Martin cannot stomach the reality he exists in, and instead, creates intricate fantasies (presented in grainy black and white) where he visualizes himself sneaking into a grand castle rather than some sleazy 70’s bachelor pad, or striding into the arms of an eager lover rather than holding down a shrieking victim who just took a huge dump in the adjoining bathroom. He imagines himself into the romantic Hollywood reality of the movie vampire, the one that is so alluring. which might be why he’s so quick to state “There’s no magic. There’s no real magic ever.” several times in the film. Crucifixes, garlic, holy water, sunlight, the classic rules do not apply in reality. Martin has no fangs, he uses a straight razor. He has no powers of seduction, he must use dope to keep his victims from breaking him in half. This is not a world of magic and super human power, this is stone cold, un-romantic reality.
Still, Martin believes he is actually a vampire and must feed on the blood of the living in order to survive, just as Christians believe utterly and completely in the resurrection, Heaven, Hell, and the power of the holy spirit. Martin still places an importance in the canned icons of his belief system, “The Hollywood Vampire” but is intelligent enough to know he is only humoring himself with these fantasies and delusions. After one startling moment in the film where Martin scares the living shit out of Cuda by stepping out the darkness wearing a cape, bares fangs and has a pallid complexion only to finally laugh at the old man and reassure him, “It’s only a costume.” Martin has been told all his life what he is and has come to believe what’s been drilled into his head from birth. Martin longs to be one thing, but he knows he is something else and this knowledge is the essence of the film.
Martin also takes dead aim at organized religion, portraying it in vapid, empty terms. Romero himself plays a hip priest who insults the shitty wine his church serves at communion, doesn’t believe in angels or demons and loves the movie The Exorcist. And when Cuda calls upon an old school priest to ambush Martin and perform an exorcism of their own, it comes off as an old useless ritual and Martin simply walks away as the priest blubbers on reading from the holy text. But more disheartening than any of this is Cuda himself, a man so blinded by his own faith that he believes it is his divine right to wield life or death over his own flesh and blood. Cuda believes the vampiric curse and that it is his duty to destroy the evil, to murder his own relative in the name of God. This is the same mentality in religious hysteria that leads followers to murder doctors who perform abortion and claim to be pro-life but support capital punishment, to commit atrocious acts of violence in the name of your own personal lord and savior. It’s sick, it’s twisted and it’s wrong.
In the end, Martin is a film about the lies we tell ourself and the delusions we live every day. Those that we have been taught by those closest to us and those we tell ourselves simply to get by. Martin wants so badly to be a vampire he is willing to kill others. Martin admires the lore and power of vampires. How they are loved, feared and lusted after, all things that the shy, timid misfit feels he can never obtain.
Martin is a singular, gorgeous, and poetic take on the vampire horror film and it’s Hollywood lore. To date, I have never seen a more thoroughly unique and sweetly sad vampire tale. This is the rarest of horror movies, one not about a horrible other, or even about the creature next door. No, this is subtle, ambiguous look at what makes monsters of us all. A look into the heart of the horror in our everyday human existence and the evils we are capable of inflicting on one another. Not only through physical acts, but through the power of ideas, belief and control.
I give Martin FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets. If you ask me, this is Romero’s absolute masterpiece.
Tags: 1970's, 1976, 70's, 76, adult, anal, androgyny, Anthony Spinelli, bad, boy, brother, Caller, cinema, collective, creepy, dancing, David Book, Dead Rogers, depraved, dirty, Enjil von Bergdorfe, fantasy, film, filthy, Florida, harassement, incest, Laura Bond, liar, lying, masturbation, mom, money shot, Monique Starr, muff, naked, nasty, night, night Caller, nudity, obscene, Oral, peep, peeping, perverse, pervert, phone, porn, pornography, primal, prostitutes, pubic hair, punishment, rape, review, Root, sex, sick, sister, spank, stunt cock, Tallahassee, threesome, Trash, VHS, xxx
a Primal Root written review
Have you ever been the victim of an obscene phone call? To be honest, I never have. But, then again, I am a rather beefy guy in his late 20’s and I’m probably the last person on prospective pervert’s hit list. Honestly, I would probably end up on a pervert watch list before I was ever a victim of such shenanigans, but I digress. IF I ever were ever the victim of an obscene caller I’m sure I would be fascinated to hear the life story of the person whispering dirty, lustful phrases into my ear while the sound of lubed up wang-doodle stroking slaps about faintly in he background over the phone line. Forget the story of Martin Luther King Jr. or Abraham Lincoln, tell me the story of this heavy breathing, faceless, sexual deviant!
Our film begins with Robert (David Book) rolling out of bed, checking the time, and then going to his apartment window to peep on the couple in the building right across from him. The lovers engages in some hardcore 70’s sex, with pounds of heavy pubic coverage, odd usage of hair during oral sex where the guy rubs his shaggy head of hair against his lover’s muff in what comes off looking more like a blind man having lost his way to the vagina than resembling anything even remotely erotic, and a sudden INTENSE difference in this guys erection size. My only guess is that someone slid a stunt cock in there at one point or another… Robert watches, chaffs the carrot, and becomes obsessed…
Over the course of the film we learn Robert harbors incestuous feelings for his Mother and sister . He thinks back to two memories in particular while in the company of a very bored prostitute with intense grandma hair. One features his sister, who catches him peeping, and then allows him to fondle her while asking him if he thinks she’s attractive and if he likes her “tits”. The other is of his topless mother, (again) catching him peeping, who berates him, topless, as he stares at her “cratch” and impressively proportioned boobs that bounce around freely as she shakes her finger at him hollering “You’re a bad boy! What am I going to do?” The answer? Repeat those two lines for ten minutes while remaining topless and allowing your son to continue to ogle your lady flesh. It’s excitement by repetition for young Robert and it seems to have left a lasting impression.
The bulk of the film is made up of Robert fooling around with prostitutes and harassing his voluptuous red-headed neighbor Carol (Monique Starr) via uninspired sleazy talk over the phone. It’s never really made clear as to why he latches onto this neighbor, which could have easily been justified in the story if she even remotely resembled the Mother or Sister he lusted over in flashback, but that’s apparently not the case here. It seems he is only obsessed with her because…she’s there and answers the phone. The creators of the film obviously spent a little bit of time trying to create a somewhat realistic, believable, character out of Robert but some of the dots just don’t connect.
By film’s end Robert manages to con his way into Carol’s life through feigned car troubles, a lunch date and then offering to come over to protect her from the terrible voice on the phone. It’s “Night Callers” central relationship/plot point, and one that was in dire need of more attention within the story. But, I guess that’s the short fall of most pornographic films that strive to meld with another genre. The story has to be put on hold repeatedly in order for a scene of intense genital penetration and cock gobbling may be inserted. (pun intended?) The central growing relationship between Robert and Carol is mostly left by the way side with little development and depressingly falls back on the old thriller convention of the damsel in distress being dumb as a sack of used prophylactics. It makes no sense that Robert can weasel his way into Carol’s life with with such incredible ease! Especially when she’s in such a huff over the Night Caller.
Night Caller does offer up some cool surprises, my favorite of which is a little diversion, where we are introduced to a blonde, husky- voiced character named Helen, whom Robert has called in he hopes of overhearing some good jerk-off material. Helen is framed in a very tight close-up of her face as the scene commences only to pull back and reveal that Helen is, in fact, a man in drag, and is getting head from a female dressed up as a man. It’s the most intriguing and inventive scene of a film filled with rather generic material. It continues into a relatively well shot sex scene and ends with dual money shots (!!!) as Helen cums not once, but twice, in a period of about 3 minutes. Not only this, but Helen’s partner, after a lengthy period of tit fucking, holds Helen’s cock in her hand and takes the first of his load up her nose (on accident) and then aims Helen’s tool right at her eye and takes his second blast of chunky dick snot (which looks to be the bulk) right in her eyes! It’s a painful (and hilarious) moment for the viewer and it must have been pretty tough for actress Laura Bond as well, whose expression is one of annoyance, agony and “Fuck, why did I just point this thing right at my eyes?” I guess when you’re suffocating on a porn load that just shot up your nasal cavity, you aren’t thinking clearly anymore.
My biggest gripe with this film is the damn score by Richard Silsby. I’m not sure what they were thinking but it the score consists of droning noises and repetitive minor chords that give every single sex scene a sad, creepy, monotonous tone. I understand, this is a sad kind of thriller, but for crying out loud nothing makes a fuck scene more boring than this crap! Give it a listen and I am sure you’ll agree. One interesting thing I noticed was how one of the riffs in the score sounded remarkably similar to the JAWS theme…
The story of Night Caller isn’t exactly a pleasant one and the whole thing will leave most viewers feeling sad, scared and dirty in a way they had no intended. It’s kind of like Taxi Driver if it were all a bout a chronic masterbator who wanted to fuck his Mom and ended up living out a rape fantasy rather than “saving” a young Jodie Foster. Despite the shortcomings in the script, score and cinematography, Night Caller tries hard to deliver more than just your run of the mill porn film. It’s certainly different and presents some bold and intriguing ideas that are sure to hit a few nerves and make more than couple viewers squirm in their seats.
Night Caller was a film made early in the cannon of both writer Dean Rogers and legendary porn director Anthony Spinelli. Testing the waters here, the two would go on to create such classics as “Nothing to Hide”, “Skin on Skin”, “Talk Dirty to Me” and “Revenge of the Pussy Suckers from Mars”. Spinelli had over one hundred films to his credit before passing away in May of 2000 at the age of 73. The man’s legacy speaks for itself.
Night Caller is a greasy, creeper of a flick. Certainly not for the casual purveyor for Trash and Sleaze Cinema. However, if you are looking for one dark, oddball XXX film that will have you feeling filthy in no time, I cannot recommend Night Caller enough!
Tags: 1976, 70's, appreciation, black, cinema, collective, cult, david, debut, different, dirty, eraserhead, feature, film, horror, jack, love, lynch, lynchian, midnight, movie, nance, primal, review trash, Root, rotten, strange, student, surreal, thought, unusual, weird, white
a Primal Root dirty thought
Maybe there is a fourth kind of Trash Cinema. One that is born of imagination and is so far outside the norm it leaves both audiences and critics completley dumbfounded. A type of Trash that’s so imaginative and introverted no one knows quite what to make of it. Films born of trash and bound for glorious cult status. David Lycnh’s Eraserhead certainly meets this criteria.
As an avidly devoted fan of all things David Lynch one question I always run into is “Why?” followed almost instantly by the blanket phrase “I don’t get his stuff.” To which I look them dead in the eye and say “What is there to get?” Why must you always be blatantly given something by a film? The one thing I feel all fans of Lynch’s work have in common is a deep abiding love for mysteries and the simple and obvious concept that, hey, maybe there are no easy answers? No quick solutions? No pretty package wrapped up and ready to be presented to you upon completion. It’s one of the more frightening conceits that maybe…just maybe…we’ll never know the answers.
Recently I was asked about one of David Lynch’s most heralded works and possibly one of his hardest for viewers to grasp. Eraserhead. Coincidentally, this happens to be my favorite of Lynch’s work and one of my favorite films ever made. Why is there so much love for this film? Why are certain people in our society completely bat-shit crazy about this strange little fever dream of a picture? Well, fellow Trash Collectors, I’m going to try my damnedest to express my personal admiration and deep abiding nerd love for this most legendary of midnight movie cultism.
And no it’s not about just “I get it and you don’t.” That’s all bullshit if you ask me. It runs far deeper than this simple declarative statement.
David Lynch’s debut feature film, 1976’s Eraserhead, is like a living nightmare. It is surreal but there are undeniable human truths and emotions there. Dread, pain, abandonment, longing. But that there is also hope and there is love to be found. As the song says, “In Heaven everything is fine.”
But like all dreams, nightmares, and art, their meaning must be interpreted by those experiencing it. The intent of the artist no longer matters. Eraserhead to me is one of the most honest and disturbing depictions of masculinity and the fear of fatherhood ever put to film. About the insecurities we must mask, the emotions we must bottle up, the dreams we must abandon, and the people whom we are that must be repress in order to get by in society. And the desperate hope that maybe, just maybe, there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel. It encompasses all my fears as an adult male. That I am not good enough. That I will fail at business, life, love and be left behind. It’s the darkest fears lying dormant but always weighing heavy on a subconscious level.
But see, my reason for loving and appreciating Eraserhead, and my interpretation don’t mean anything! Lynch created a totally subjective piece of art! My reason for loving it is a million miles away from why this guy or that girl love it. And some people just can’t stand it and that’s absolutely fine as well and completely understandable. But for a group of us Eraserhead struck a chord and there is something distinctly human there. Something warm and indescribable. Hidden in our deepest, darkest, places . Rather than give us answers Eraserhead boldly suggests that we find or make our own. That in life there are no easy answers to these mysteries so much greater than ourselves. That it’s up to us to find our own.
-The Primal Root