David Lynch continues to be the favorite director of weirdos everywhere, ourselves included. So much of his appeal is tied to Eraserhead, his terrifying, confusing 1977 feature film debut. Eraserhead still defies explanation and analysis, and fans have for decades attempted to work out the symbolism and meaning of characters like the Man in the Planet.
As the embedded video attests, this isn’t a new phenomenon. Two years after the film’s release, UCLA film students interviewed Lynch about his inscrutable masterpiece, only to come away perhaps even more puzzled. Lynch defers on many questions about the movie’s themes, which he points out are intentionally abstract and open to interpretation. Instead, he seems to prefer talking about stories from its bizarre production, like the time he got a dead cat from a veterinarian for a deleted scene.
The interview is notably the product of amateurs, and you can see Lynch’s bemusement as the students read quotes from reviews as discussion prompts. But this nearly forty-year-old clip offers a glimpse of the director talking at length about the intentional choices behind his most famous work. Just don’t expect too much clarity: when asked to clarify his description of the film as “a dream of dark and troubling things,” Lynch simply answered “No.”