The dark world of “Eraserhead” is morbid, depressing and lonely. Even the lights in the room don’t have the power to illuminate the whole room, they are directed upwards. The usage of light is to focus, to focus only on the depressive world the characters live in because the characters don’t deserve light. The black and white photography is there but even if you try to imagine you can’t imagine the environment, the spaces, the characters, this world… in colour.
The characters live their life in silence with only a few impulses in between the void, the impulses which grant them the chance of doing something to get out of this depravity. The characters breathe, outside the world we see, feel or touch. Pangs of hallucination or dreams give the surrealist film an opportunity to make the viewer feel what the character feels, utter hopelessness.
A mutant child is born in this world, a child of Harvey Spencer who has to survive in an industrial environment and his angry girlfriend. The child is like E.T. in its physical features, the ones we can see, but the behaviour is just like a human child. The story is an imagination of what the fear of fatherhood feels like. It’s the most spiritual film by Lynch, but with a spotlight on the dark side of spirituality.
The sound has been replicated and inspired in many movies after its release. It’s an experience that words can’t do justice to. But to try is our human nature. There is a common technique to instil horror in the viewer’s mind by the use of sound. Horror movies have used it violently with the volume knob going off the charts. Eraserhead has given life to its sound or should I rather say lifelessness.
Even the sound of puppies suckling is oddly haunting. The pure essence of quenching one’s thirst and hunger is made to feel another emotion by the use of its sound as rats squealing at your feet. Even the sound of the room is of a brooding nature like the wind is whistling in your ear. The room changes, the character of the room tone changes to, but only a variant of its dark evil source. There’s a need to relive this movie by closing your eyes, in the aural landscape of your mind.
Here in this world, only darkness exists, making you aware of the darkness that is in your mind, that you try to repress but its release is quite a reminder of its permanence. The movie is a living nightmare that you can’t make an effort to forget because you know it will always stay in the back of your mind. Ignored in your consciousness but devastating your subconscious completely.