10 Great Movies You'll Only Want To Watch Once

9. Eraserhead (1977)

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Libra Films International

David Lynch has made plenty of haunting and grotesque films in his time - from the sexually-charged Blue Velvet to the completely baffling Inland Empire - but it is his first cinematic effort that stands as his most nightmarish. Eraserhead plays out like a 90 minute fever dream, someone's half-realised fears about fatherhood playing out before your eyes.

The narrative is simple but effective. Factory worker Henry Spencer is shocked when his girlfriend gives birth to a mutated, fetus-like creature. He must then look after the squalling infant while struggling with his feelings of inadequacy and his lust for his beautiful neighbour.

Eraserhead is an incredibly claustrophobic film, taking place almost entirely in Henry's small and depressing apartment. The world it is set in is grim and oppressive, some sort of industrial wasteland of rumbling pipes and belching steam.

The characters are universally unlikable, and Henry's baby is one of the most horrifying creatures ever committed to film; a squealing, gasping abomination that most closely resembles an unborn lamb. It has created endless speculation as to how the effect was actually created, with David Lynch typically refusing to comment.

Almost everything in Eraserhead is viscerally nauseating. If the pudding-faced Lady in the Radiator doesn't disgust you, the menstruating squabs will. If the constant low drone doesn't upset your stomach, the streams of white gunk spewing from the hideously deformed baby will.

Eraserhead is a well-made film, a clever satire about parenthood, and if you can sit through it, it is well worth a watch. It's highly unlikely, though, that you will want to give it a second viewing.

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Aspiring author. Film reviewer. Bestiary curator. Burgeoning misanthrope.