Eraserhead Stories: David Lynch on the Making of His Famously Nightmarish Movie

Not only does the doc­u­men­tary Eraser­head Sto­ries offer as much infor­ma­tion as you’ll find any­where on the mak­ing of David Lynch’s first fea­ture film, it has a few Lynchi­an qual­i­ties of its own. For almost an hour and a half, David Lynch sits down behind a micro­phone and rem­i­nisces about the six years his rag­tag team spent putting the movie togeth­er. But he does it in black-and-white, in front of a cur­tain, smok­ing, like some­thing out of an ear­ly-1950s tele­vi­sion broad­cast. The ambi­ent dull roar of an ill wind appears, inter­mit­tent­ly and inex­plic­a­bly, on the sound­track. Pho­tographs flash by, sup­port­ing some of Lynch’s inspir­ing, ardu­ous, and bizarre rec­ol­lec­tions. Many of his sto­ries deal with the nuts and bolts of bring­ing one’s finan­cial­ly impov­er­ished but cre­ative­ly over­flow­ing ear­ly movies into real­i­ty. Oth­ers involve tubs filled with milk, sets cov­ered in peas, dead cats impreg­nat­ed with tar, and the ghost of oil tycoon Edward L. Dohe­ny.

Lynch’s fans, and even his detrac­tors — per­haps espe­cial­ly his detrac­tors — will tell you that his films could have come from the mind of no oth­er direc­tor. But Eraser­head Sto­ries gives you a clear idea about the kind of ded­i­cat­ed, famil­ial pro­duc­tion atmos­phere it takes to get an idea suc­cess­ful­ly out of Lynch’s brain and onto cel­lu­loid. On Eraser­head’s inter­mit­tent­ly active, often-mov­ing shoot, every­one had to work sev­er­al jobs: Lynch chuck­ling­ly remem­bers trow­el­ing a great deal of plas­ter along­side star Jack Nance, and he gives col­lab­o­ra­tor Cather­ine Coul­son a call to talk about all the myr­i­ad tasks she han­dled. Though the unusu­al visu­al, aur­al, and nar­ra­tive require­ments of Eraser­head meant nobody had any easy work, Lynch and his team man­aged to fin­ish the pic­ture and live every cre­ative film­mak­er’s dream: to make a movie which does­n’t com­pro­mise, which no view­er for­gets, and toward which nobody feels neu­tral. H/T Bib­liok­lept

Relat­ed con­tent:

What David Lynch Can Do With a 100-Year-Old Cam­era and 52 Sec­onds of Film

David Lynch’s New ‘Crazy Clown Time’ Video: Intense Psy­chot­ic Back­yard Crazi­ness (NSFW)

David Lynch’s Sur­re­al Com­mer­cials

David Lynch and Inter­pol Team Up on Short Film

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.