David Lynch has quietly become one of the figureheads of cinema. Now, the director acts as the quiet and imposing figurehead of alternative film, somehow managing to remain timeless in an increasingly changing world. No more so is this seen than in Lynch’s recent return to his iconic weather report series.
What initially started out as something to do while in lockdown has now become an extension of Lynch’s creative voice. It’s a voice that has never really been quietened since it was first heard following the release of the director’s iconic first feature film, Eraserhead.
Released in 1977, the experimental body horror was Lynch’s first foray into a feature-length production following a few short films. Having completed the film while studying at the American Film Institute, the project has since gone on to typify the director’s vision. Dark and confounding, the film didn’t grab attention right away, instead, Lynch made waves when the film took off after being run as a ‘midnight movie’.
It’s why then, in 1979, a group of students from UCLA tracked David Lynch down and invited him out to the West Hollywood oil fields where Lynch had shot some scenes for the film and asked him all about what Eraserhead was really about. A fresh-faced Lynch is a marked contrast to the latest visage we viewed in his weather report. It’s also worth noting that of course, Lynch’s hair is immaculate.
It’s something Tom Christie, the man asking the questions reflected on for Indiewire: “Some painfully bad questions (and hair) from the 23-old me but good answers (and, as always, hair) from the 33-year-old David Lynch.” And he’s right, Lynch’s answers to some relatively simple questions are everything you’d hoped they would be.
Christie was working with Parallax Theatres at the time and had gained access to Lynch after Eraserhead had been the long-running ‘midnight movie’. In fact, the interview comes equipped with some funny responses from audiences. Always worth a watch.
Lynch ends the interview with a killer line, as you might imagine. Reflecting on using big-budget Hollywood stars in any of his future projects Lynch snorts: “If you’re going into the netherworld, you don’t want to go in with Chuck Heston.”
It’s a trip back in time to see a moment where Lynch was the fresh-faced new boy on the block, when phones were stuck to walls and everybody had bad hair except David Lynch. A simpler time.