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Old 07-13-2004, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 817
What was the "Baby" in David Lynch's 'Eraserhead'

I don't think this needs to be moved to Cafe Society, because I'm not interested in debating the merits of the movie, or discussing any of Lynch's other movies, or insisting that David Lynch is pretentious. I just want to know this one specific thing: what the hell was that baby in Eraserhead?

It looked like some kind of real creature, but what could it be?
Old 07-13-2004, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Madison WI
Posts: 22,505
David Lynch is pretty much the only one who knows for sure, and he's not telling.
Old 07-13-2004, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Memphis
Posts: 1,121
It's clearly a puppet.

Or are you asking what the puppet is supposed to represent?

In that case, then it probably has some autobiographical significance--Lynch was going through a difficult time in his life when he filmed Eraserhead, financially and emotionally. He was living in Philadelphia, didn't have much money, and he had a new baby, and was feeling the pressures and responsibilities of family life closing in on him.

So maybe the baby is his daughter, Jennifer Lynch, who in at least one account acknowledges that there might be a connection--although she doesn't think she was the direct inspiration for the baby.

And, yeah, Lynch himself won't say.
Old 07-13-2004, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: America's Dairyland
Posts: 12,780
A major theme in the movie is fear and loathing of fecundity. Among the sights:

1. The rock cornish hens at dinner that spew blood (?) from the cavity, in a mockery of menstruation.
2. The litter of puppies suckling loudly at their mother's teats.
3. The cord (umbilical?) that the wife pulls painfully from her vagina one night.
4. The wife's dislodging of her suitcase from under the bed, after a struggle, is a mockery of childbirth.
Old 07-13-2004, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 817
Was that baby a real animal that they used for the movie and cut open in real life? I've heard suggestions that it was a horse or calf fetus.

It also seems feasible that it was a puppet. Notice how every time the "baby" was on screen, it was on top of a table? Maybe the puppetteer was underneath the table.
Old 07-13-2004, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Beyond the Pale
Posts: 4,148
Prior to reading this thread, I had thought that having somehow missed seeing Eraserhead had deprived me of something really great, but now I'm not so sure...
Old 07-13-2004, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 817
Just see it. Don't alter your perception with substances either; this particular movie will be worsened, not enhanced, by doing so.
Old 07-13-2004, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Beyond the Pale
Posts: 4,148
The only movie I ever walked out of was "Viva La Muerte." It was REALLY gross. Eraserhead is kind of sounding like that kind of movie. Please convince me it isn't!!! I loved Blue Velvet, but squabs squirting blood, umbilical cords coming out of the vagina, etc....???
Old 07-13-2004, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: America's Dairyland
Posts: 12,780
Eraserhead is a bizarre and grotesque movie. There's not getting around that.
Old 07-13-2004, 06:59 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,186
I've heard that why the baby looks the way it does is because Eraserhead couldn't deal with the idea of being a father. He was terrified of it, and therefore he saw the baby as a monster.
Old 07-13-2004, 08:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Atlanta, GA USA
Posts: 937
Here's a few pix, for them that ain't seen the movie firsthand:
Old 07-13-2004, 08:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down by the sea
Posts: 2,721
Eraserhead made perfect sense to me once, but I was high, and have forgotten since then.

Really, though, I like to think I'm as reflective as the next guy, but I never understood the girl with the poodle cut. And didn't the movie have a constant almost subsonic droning in the background that made the whole movie even more disquieting? Apparently that movie stayed with me, even after twenty years.

Thanks, Skopo and Walloon, that helped clear some things up (in a Lynchian sort of way).
Old 07-13-2004, 09:13 PM
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,781
I thought someone once suggested that it as a skinned lamb's head. Damned if I know, but it looks organic.

I went to go see Eraserhead on the night of a tremendous snowstorm. People couldn't believe that I'd drive through snow to see that.

There's a lengthy review and interpretation of the film in the issue of Cinefantastique devoted to Lynch's Dune, circa 1984.

I think the perfect movie triple bill would be Forbidden Zone, Freaks, and Eraserhead. That combination is guaranteed to have most people heading for the streets.
After he finished his work on conditioning dogs, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov ambitiously tried his theories on angels, eventually training a flock of them to go and get their wings from a rack when signaled with a bell.
Old 07-13-2004, 10:44 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Great White North
Posts: 20,013
A failed abortion (an aborted foetus that lived).

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