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Watched: 17 September

David Lynch’s debut film is a mysterious, stark and troubling nightmare brought to life, in which alien-like babies are born and, uh, ‘cared for’, a god-like figure in the sky pulls mechanical levers that presumably are affecting or controlling events down on Earth (which has become, apparently, an industrial wasteland), weirdo families stumble through awkward, skin-crawling dinners together and disturbing body horror takes place. It’s utterly fascinating in itself, but viewed within the framework of Lynch’s entire filmography it’s quite a surprise to see how many tropes appear here that have become familiar because of his later work: the strange, otherwordly torch singer (memorably, here, The Lady In The Radiator, played by Laurel Near), for example, the zigzag patterns on carpets, the sudden shift into unsettling passages where dreams meet reality, the 1950s-influenced characters and production design, and just the skin-crawling oddness of all of that put together, along with the superb sound design and weird inserted images. Trying to figure out what it all means is a thrill, and an impossibility. (****½)

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  1. October 12, 2017

    Aah! I see you’ve added the comments section again?

    Anyways, good to see you tackle this. I’ve tried recently to get into it and I keep falling asleep. Not that I’m not enjoying it but I keep putting it on too late. It’s a fascinating work from Lynch. Very much in tune with Inland Empire and Twin Peaks: The Return.

    • Stu #
      October 26, 2017

      Alright dude. Yeah I switched them on again but I’m keeping it on the downlow! This was actually the second time I tried watching this; the first time I couldn’t give it my full attention so switched it off after 10 or 15 minutes. Crazy film. I’m yet to see the new Twin Peaks – I will hopefully get hold of the box set around Christmas time. I haven’t actually seen Dune or The Elephant Man, so I’m going to tackle those before revisiting a few classics next year. Always good to return to his work.

      • October 28, 2017

        I’m on total Lynch kick at the moment. I’ve become addicted to Twin Peaks podcasts and I really can’t get enough. Dune and The Elephant are next up for me too once I’ve finally given Eraserhead a final watch. I’ve come to the realisation that Lynch is my very favourite of all directors.

  2. October 13, 2017

    What a true horror film. So original for its time. I loved it and glad you liked it, too.

    • Stu #
      October 26, 2017

      Thanks Cindy, and I hope you are well!

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