Sync or Swim: Hesitate to Erase

It’s the season to watch strange and unusual movies, that much is certain. In the spirit of the season, let’s take a look at what I consider to be the strangest sync I’ve personally found, mostly because of the film in question: Eraserhead. You read that right.

Start Nine Inch Nails’ “Hesitation Marks” on the first track when “DAVID LYNCH presents” appears. Loop until the end. Found on October 10, 2014 by me.

I strongly recommend that you watch the film at least four or five times before trying it. Due to the nature of the album, the songs reference elements of the film that may or may not be present in real time.

Points of Interest

  • The main clue is the music video for “Came Back Haunted”, directed by David Lynch.
  • The track list spells the word “FADES”. Much of the film blurs/fades the line between reality and dreams.

Act I

The Eater of Dreams

  • The dark ambient nature reflects the soundscape in the film.

Copy of A

  • “I am just a copy of a copy of a copy.” The human race is a series of copies from previous generations.
  • “Pieces that were picked up on the way.” Maybe how the baby was created (nobody really knows).
  • Henry’s “copy” emerges from his mouth.

Came Back Haunted

  • Henry returns to his house, haunted by his vision from the first five minutes of the film.

Find My Way

  • “Wandered here from far away.” Henry unpacks from his journey.
  • “Pray the Lord, my soul to take.” Henry gazes at the radiator for the first time, as his saving grace lives there.
  • “I’m just trying to find my way.” Henry goes to Mary’s house, wandering through the industrial landscape.

All Time Low

  • The meeting with the parents does not go very well, probably Henry’s all-time low.
  • “Give me just a little, baby.” The mother will later inform Henry about the baby.
  • “Everything is not OK.” The awkward silence permeates the living room.

Disappointed

  • The father speaks the first verse.
  • “Can I ask you something?” The father asks Henry to carve the chickens.
  • “What did you expect?” The chicken bleeds profusely.
  • “Just get out of here.” Mary leaves the room to check on her mother.

Everything

  • “Wish me well.” Henry and Mary cry over their predicament.
  • “I am home”. Mary feeds the baby at Henry’s apartment.

Satellite

  • The planet from earlier can be described as a satellite, orbiting in space.
  • The distorted sounds happen when Henry unwraps the worm.
  • “I am inside your head.” The Man in the Planet lives on the planet, inside Henry’s head.

Various Methods of Escape

  • Mary leaves Henry to go back to her parents, escaping from the situation.

Running

  • “I’m running out of places I can hide from this.” Henry is trapped in the apartment, trying to take care of the baby.

I Would For You

  • “I only have myself to blame.” Henry sits with the baby, regretting his decision.
  • The soft piano at the end plays when the Lady in the Radiator is fully revealed.

In Two

  • The Lady in the Radiator splits the worms with her shoes in two or more steps.
  • “It’s getting harder to tell the two of you apart.” The two are reality and fantasy.
  • The screeches heard in the second refrain sound like the high-pitched squeals heard in the film.

While I’m Still Here

  • Henry, seeking an opportunity to escape, talks to the lady across from him for a favor.

Black Noise

  • The bed transforms into a pool.
  • The lady sees the child but doesn’t mind.
  • The music crescendos as they sink into the pool.

Act II

The Eater of Dreams

  • The lady vanishes as she sees the planet where The Man in the Planet (“The Eater of Dreams”) lives.

Copy of A

  • “A shadow of a shadow of a shadow.” This description could describe the Lady in the Radiator’s location.
  • “See I’m not the only one.” Henry enters the scene and steps on the stage with the Lady in the Radiator.
  • “Look what you’ve gone and done.” The screen cuts to black as Henry holds the Lady’s hands.
  • The bridge plays as the tree makes its way onto the stage.
  • “Doing everything I’m told to do.” The actor in question during the production of this surreal film.

Came Back Haunted

  • “Now I got something you have to see.” The boy brings Henry’s head to the pencil factory.
  • The pencil maker erases the “hesitation marks” as a test for the newly made pencils.
  • Henry wakes up from the dream, coming back from reality haunted.

Find My Way

  • “You were never meant to see…” The baby.
  • “Now that you have gone away.” Henry thinks about Mary and when she left.
  • “Pray the Lord my soul to take.” Henry contemplates killing his baby.

All Time Low

  • “I’ve heard all I need to know.” Henry decides to go ahead and kill the child.
  • “Your voice in _ stereo.” The baby’s cry.
  • “Everything is not OK.” The baby screams for help.
  • “Stretch across the sky.” The baby’s neck is elongated as it reaches for the door.

Disappointed

  • “Nothing’s gonna change.” The Man in the Planet futilely tries to stop the events.
  • “What did you expect?” The abrupt ending will leave viewers confused.

Highly unconventional sync for a very unconventional movie. Again, there won’t be too many spot-on connections but it’s more about the fluid state of time between the music and the events from the film. Even then, you need to be in a certain frame of mind when trying it out.

Sync grade: C+

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