Just curious as to what people think, I personally prefer Elephant Man.
I really want to say Eraserhead for some reason, but I have to go with Elephant Man.
What’s your point of comparison? Or are you taking a poll?
I like Elephanthead and Eraser Man.
I like erasing elephants, and beheading men
I have Elephantitis of the Head. Erase me, Mang.
ERASERHEAD is by far and away one of the few films that were just perfect in every detail, from the costuming, the set design, the special effects, the sound design, the actors, and the script. It sets a mood like no other film I’ve seen with the opening ten minutes that is pretty much silent with the exception of ambient noise.
Elephant Man has many of the same superficial qualities as Eraserhead, but the script only allows the audience to pity Joseph Merrick. He makes no real choices, takes no real actions of his own accord, and we are asked to sympathize only as other people act upon him. The movie just always observes his character at a distance both emotionally and physically. The only time we get to see inside Joseph’s head is through Anthony Hopkins character and in a dream sequence that still distances us by focusing on Merrick’s deformity.
In contrast to Eraserhead which the original tag-line suggest may only be “a dream of dark and disturbing things”. Even though the outcome of Henry’s actions may not make logical sense, the audience can still understand Henry’s pensiveness and desire, which by the end of the film turns into loathing, rage, and impulsive behavior. All this leads Henry to murder his “child” which results in his entire world collapsing in on himself. Where the only relief he finds is in the embrace of a woman who sings “In heaven everything is fine”, implying Henry’s death. As for The Elephant Man the reasons for his suicide just seem entirely arbitrary.
Both films are very good, but I prefer Eraser head
I agree that Eraserhead feels perfect (“of a piece”). Henry’s “what fresh hell is this” responses to what is going on around him is a major asset, he is a sympathetic character one can be with and brought into the frame with, he is observing as is the viewer – mystified, frightened, horrified and really sad but helpless against the tide of what is unfolding – which is exactly the existential nightmare millions of people live out every day (“most men live their lives in quiet desperation waiting for something to happen” whoever said that, not me, comes to mind ) – could a more miserable domestic den be imagined than Henry & Mary under the moth eaten blanket with the ghastly ET like creature mewling puking on the table..I don;t think so:):) genius work.
I felt the same “feels right/of a piece” thing with Gummo, with Solomon the equivalent of Henry as fellow traveller (in Trash Humpers you are not given anyone to be with, you are on the outside alone purely as voyeur which is ok too)….but if Henry had been “ga ga”and out of it, it would have been a whole different and far less interesting/engaging experience.
Elephant Man is a literal tale, and I haven’t seen it in years so apples/pears. It was very good as I recall but I am more attracted to Eraserhead. I always remembered that close up of the baby’s jelly like eye and the wind howling outside. eeeek.
Elephant Man proved Lynch could go somewhat mainstream and he was better for it.
Straight Story (the film where he most curves his odd for odd sake manner) is his best film.
I think these days he is trying to relive his beginings (low budget mindfucks) and that is why his daughter was surpassed him
@HOUSE OF LEAVES, I really just wanted to see how people liked their Lynch: Surreal or straight forward? I’m just extremely happy to see the contrast in answers. To be honest, I thought everyone might just say Eraserhead, but I find the answers (especially the longer ones) very interesting. That’s what I love about MUBI, everyone has an different, but still relevant opinion.
Ah. Personally I like Lynch all the way around, though I haven’t seen Elephant Man since I was a kid. Loved Inland Empire and Mulholland Drive, but Lost Highway is only half a good movie (the first half) and I think I’ve seen enough of Fire Walk to know I don’t like it.
And I’m still mad at Eraserhead for knocking out James Benning in Round 1. Bastard cow fetus baby.
@Dennis Brian You think his daughter has surpassed him?? That is one outragreous statement. I tip my hat to your boldness.
I choose Elephant Man, great film. Eraserhead is too, but it’s just genuinely depressing. It gets into your head and stays there.
West Boxing Helena and Survillence are very interesting films
I don’t think we were supposed to just focus on the pity over his deformity but also the self congratulatory motives others had for helping him. Even the people who were kind to him defined him based on his deformity. They saw him as more of a goodwill mission than a person. The movie showed a whole lot of the human being he really was, but we as an audience can’t separate out the base emotional reaction we get from a physical image we’re genetically predisposed to consider repulsive and see them. We’re either going to loathe him or pity him to avoid loathing him.
When I saw Elephant Man, I felt the the tension building up to see what he looks like. Is he going to be a disgusting, mindless monster of a man? But when the curtains are drawn, all you see is a poor, suffering soul. That’s what really stuck with me.
I consider The Elephant Man as one of the finest works in the career of Lynch. It is the first film by him that I watched, and still remains as one of the most memoroable among his other pictures. I would go as far to say it was the prime cinematic tale and just a masterpiece in its own nature.
As for Eraserhead, I thought it was astonishing in the degree of how far ahead Lynch went with introducing cinematic experience in a totally and distinctively surreal, abstract manner. I was initially underwhelmed by it, but the second viewing improved my overall reaction. Nonetheless, I still believe it was not his best film. I might need to re-watch it again, but so far I wuld say it was definitely a great debut work for Lynch.
“Elephant Man proved Lynch could go somewhat mainstream and he was better for it.”
Honestly, it does quite the opposite. It is the part of his career where he was learning about if his work could mesh well with the mainstream, and it just happened to be successful. When I say that, I mean then he tried it again with Dune and learned about producer intervention and commercial needs. But Elephant Man, though it worked, is still rough and more Lynch than mainstream, more learning and process than later Lynch, where he’s made Twin Peaks and now knows exactly what he’s doing and how to do it.
The Straight Story came later when he had more ‘practice’, in that regard. He didn’t want to make a mainstream movie but he just loved the script. So it’s a director-for-hire film and not a “Lynch” film. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the auteur Lynch, just the director Lynch. It’s success is in the script, like a good Hollywood movie playing by the rules like little Davey should.
I liked Elephant Man a lot but honestly never feel the need to return to it as often as Eraserhead or even his earlier short films. I sort of skip over his Elephant Man to Wild at Heart era and focus on later Lynch.
I came into this topic to say Eraserhead and noticed I said Elephant Man a year ago.
I think that was directly after I saw Elephant Man.
Elephant man is better movie, Eraserhead is more Lynchean.
I don’t know if Elephant Man is a better movie, but I agree with Alex that Eraserhead is more Lynchean. In fact, Elephant Man doesn’t seem very Lynchean at all. Would you all be able to guess it was a film made by Lynch?
“In fact, Elephant Man doesn’t seem very Lynchean at all. Would you all be able to guess it was a film made by Lynch?”
I disagree. The opening sequence is practically a remake of the opening sequence of Eraserhead (a manufacturing process of the character we’re about to be introduced to, shot in grainy black and white double-exposed and time ramped), and Lynchian staples appear (in more prototypical form since this is early Lynch) such as ‘beyond the red curtain’ (when John Merrick is first discovered) and head damage (check it, in almost every film Lynch makes someone gets decapitated or suffers significant and physiological head trauma).
Hmm, I didn’t notice those things. (But I’m going to use the excuse that I saw the film a long time ago. :)
Care to point out head trauma in Lynch’s films, Dib? There’s the ear in Blue Velvet and the more obvious later scene involving Frank, Eraserhead is obvious, but other than that I got nothin’.
Elephant Man! It’s sooooo goooood!
Eraserhead all the way; although, I’m a fan of The Elephant Man, I prefer Lynch to be Lynchian when he makes a film. Of course, his touch is all over titles like The Elephant Man and The Straight Story, but I still find myself coming back to the likes of Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Dr. time and time again.
Here’s a question: what do y’all think of Rabbits, Lynch’s series of shorts? I think it’s Lynch at his oddball best.
Here is the series on YouTube if you’ve yet to see it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdjWWSKfKsg
1) Eraserhead his head pops off/ turned into erasers.
2) Elephant Man, disfigurement.
3) Blue Velvet (I’m skipping Dune ) in addition to the ear there’s the guy shot through the head propped up on his own weapon in the apartment.
3) Wild at Heart starts off with Nicolas Cage beating that one dude’s head in before they go on the run. It’s the inciting incident.
I can’t think of one for Twin Peaks but I could always double-check.
4) Lost Highway in addition to his head splitting twice to indicate the switch through identities, there’s also the time the one dude hits the edge of the glass coffee table.
5) Mulholland Dr. car accident renders character amnesiac.
I can’t think of one for Inland Empire but there is when that one guy’s head turns into the sockpuppet Laura Dern and I could always rewatch it just to make sure.
@Drunken Father Figure of Old
Bobby Peru in Wild at Heart gets his head blown off by a shotgun
Andy in Lost Highway gets his head cleaved off on a coffee table
Those are two I can think of.