David Lynch and Alan R. Splet, Eraserhead (Original Soundtrack Recording)

Andy Beta

By Andy Beta

on 08.07.12 in Reviews
An oasis in oddness and clamor

Thirty-five years after it first flummoxed undergrads, weirdoes, film scholars and midnight-movie buffs alike, David Lynch’s debut film Eraserhead continues to defy explanation or elucidation. No matter how often one regards the Man in the Planet, the befuddled high-haired Henry, the Lady in the Radiator, or that monstrous, screaming, foaming “baby,” the film places its viewers wholly within the realm of nightmare. Though Variety originally panned the film as “sickening,” they did praise Lynch’s sound design, which returns in this reissue from the similarly crepuscular Sacred Bones label. Across the two epic suites, industrial throb turns to rust-belt ambience, which turns to cryptic dialogue and banal family-meal chatter and then back to alien drone and radiator shriek. An oasis in such oddness and clamor, the eerie incant by the Lady in the Radiator that “in heaven, everything is fine” (actually sung by cult figure Peter Ivers) still beguiles; everyone from Devo to the Pixies to Bauhaus and Modest Mouse have referenced it.