It's the line that begins one of the most stomach-churning scenes in Eraserhead, and it's also how many folks who saw the movie in 1977 regarded then-unknown writer-director David Lynch: as a really disturbed individual.
Not much later, Lynch became famous, for films like The Elephant Man and Blue Velvet and the TV series Twin Peaks, and the products of his twisted imagination became popular. But never did he do anything more unsettling and outrageous than his first feature.
In Eraserhead, Lynch's brilliant sickness has no slick veneer. It's as raw and visceral as any film ever made. At the same time its psychology is deeply probing. Imagine Luis Bunuel and Sigmund Freud shooting an indie film on acid, and you're getting close--but are still not yet in Lynchland.
A relentlessly oppressive nightmare, Eraserhead is the beyond-surreal saga of Henry (John Nance), whose big head of hair looks electrified and whose life is endless shock treatment for anxiety. For Henry, quotidian routines hold unspeakable horrors. Dinner at his girlfriend's parents' house upsets every social convention; checking the mail is a ritual of dread; the hissing radiator contains a bizarre vaudeville show; a mucky industrial wasteland impedes every step; and unseen machinery constantly pounds in his ears.