Eraserhead (1977)

Most of David Lynch’s films were nominated at least once for this list, but only Eraserhead actually made it (though Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me came very close). Inspired by the birth of his own child Jennifer, Lynch creates a mood of near-unbearable, panicky fear, depicting the sprog in question as more a fleshy hot water bottle than an actual human baby. Shot over five years on a budget scraped together from university funding, art grants and odd jobs (Lynch even had a paper round at one point), Eraserhead fits squarely within the tradition of American avant garde cinema, but like many of its fellows (the films of Kenneth Anger, for example) it flirts with horror imagery and has a tone of creeping dread which more than justifies its position in this list. TH
Dir David Lynch (Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart)

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