Folks who know me know I’ve got a bit of an obsession with different people doing the same thing different ways, particularly when it comes to pieces of art. I love collaborative art projects where people are given the same base idea/constraint/whatever and see what people come up with.
It turned out I got about four pages in. It turned out that two things were working against me:
On the other hand, I can make no guarantees for David Lynch.
In the meantime, here’s all four pages of MY Eraserhead.
On black, the titles crawl across the bottom of the screen. During the crawl, we hear various industrial noises; machines whirring, clanging, etc. As the titles end, and the screen continues as black, as a particularly percussive industrial sound happens we
CUT TO THE INSIDE OF THE PLANET
THE MAN IN THE PLANET is a strong, muscular man covered in soot, sweat and injuries. His area is a small, cramped space full of gears, levers and screens. The screens are showing random images — the aesthetic of the images is a cross between surveillance video and stock footage. THE MAN looks up at one of the screens and wipes the sweat and blood from his brow. He pulls a lever and images start appearing relating to conception. Things going into tunnels, houses being erected, time-lapse images of plants growing, animals giving birth, things along that nature, ending with the classic sperm going into the egg. As the images begin, they’re on a random screen — not the centermost, nor one the screens on the farthest edges. As the images continue, however, we slowly zoom into the screen until they fill the screen.
INT. APARTMENT BUILDING HALLWAY
We see HENRY SPENCER slowly walking to his doorway. He has a look of combined resigned exasperation, naivety and curiosity. He is interested in details, but not particularly enough to do much more than stare at them, studying the shapes and silently pondering their presence there, even if their presence is obvious (i.e. a doorknob on a door allows you to open the door, which allows you privacy in your own apartment which provides you a place to live, etc.). As he finally reaches the doorway, inserts the key and slowly swings it open, he hears an opening door across the hallway. HENRY slowly turns to look with a blank expression on his face. Out steps THE BEAUTIFUL GIRL ACROSS THE HALL.
(sweetly, and semi-seductively)
Henry, your girlfriend was by earlier while you were out. She asked me to tell you that she wanted to have dinner with you at her parents’ house. (Cooing) Apparently, she’s got something to tell you?.
(Pauses for an awkwardly long time.) Thank you.
THE BEAUTIFUL GIRL ACROSS THE HALL stands to look at HENRY briefly, and then goes back inside her place. HENRY doesn’t notice. Instead of going inside his apartment, HENRY swings the door closed in the same manner, locks it, and in the same manner walks down the hallway. As he leaves, the shot looks precisely the same as it did at the beginning of the scene.
INT. MARY’S PARENTS DINING ROOM
Seated around a table in a dingy dining room are MARY X, BILL X, MRS. X, MARY’S GRANDMOTHER and MARY’S SMALL BROTHER. MARY X is sitting uncomfortably, with a sense of nervousness. BILL X seems relatively well at ease. MRS. X is dour, but just by nature rather than of any impending situation. MARY’S GRANDMOTHER sits motionless and MARY’S SMALL BROTHER is acting out, getting into the vaguely dirty looking salad and rolls that sit on the table, unserved, waiting for HENRY’s arrival. MRS. X glares at BROTHER but doesn’t say anything. BROTHER doesn’t care, and continues to play — not eating anything, but just making it more and more unpleasant to eat. Dirty fingerprints from BROTHER are on the rolls. Off screen, we hear a doorknob turn, a door open and close and finally HENRY walks in the shot. MARY X remains seated.
HENRY goes over to hug MARY X, expecting her to rise to hug him back. She doesn’t. Awkwardly, he bends over and hugs the forward-facing, long-faced MARY in her seat. She doesn’t react at all. HENRY doesn’t seem particularly perturbed by this, however, and walks back over.
Hi, everyone. Thanks for having me over.
Thanks for coming.
MRS. X just continues to glare and BROTHER pays HENRY no mind. MARY X continues to look vaguely downward at the table. Suddenly, MRS. X gets up and exits the shot, only to return with the main course — a platter of small chickens, about half the size of Cornish game hens, one for each of them. She sets the chickens in front of HENRY.
Would you like to carve?
(pauses) All right. What are these? They’re tiny.
They’re man-made miniature chickens — just new on the market. They’re delicious!
How do I carve them? Just? like a regular chicken?
Yes, just like a regular chicken.
HENRY picks up a knife and carving fork from the table and starts in on the platter. HENRY tries to stab one of the chickens with the carving fork, but it is so small it rolls around on the platter a bit bumping into the other. After several attempts, he finally skewers one. At the punctures, blood starts to swell up around the fork, but the fork itself stops the blood flow. HENRY then takes the knife and cuts into the chicken, which ruptures in a burst of blood, getting all over. Flustered, HENRY decides the best thing to do is to keep going, and continues cutting the first chicken, gestures for BILL X’s plate, and puts the bloody meat on, and passes it back down. He starts work on another chicken, which does the same thing. This one is for MARY, and he serves up the rest of the family that way, with MRS. X providing the immobile GRANDMOTHER’s plate to be passed down the line. As Henry is about to serve the last carved chicken to himself, MARY finally speaks.
(still not looking at HENRY)
I had a baby.
You had a baby?
That’s why we asked you here.
I see. How is? is it a boy or a girl.
It’s premature. It’s at the hospital.
I see. (pauses)
P.S.: The real Eraserhead — fanTASTIC.