Scene: “You Are Sick” – Eraserhead

I was doing a paper in college for a film class and that week we were watching David Lynch’s Eraserhead and I was asked about a memorable scene and out of all the unexplainable moments in that film, I chose the above scene. It is when Henry (played brilliantly by Jack Nance) about to leave “the baby” and he sees the baby’s face has changed and he realizes the baby is sick.

Henry and Mary have a baby, but the baby is not your usual baby. You can see in the video how weird the face is. While I was watching it, I kept wondering how normal Henry and Mary reacted to the baby’s appearance. Then this scene came and Henry said the “sick” word. For me, it can be interpreted in 2 ways:

-Henry sees the baby is sick and needs medicine or some kind, or

-Henry finally sees that this baby is a sick creature and he needs to do something about it

The baby is fine, but when Henry is about to leave it suddenly changes. The film is shot in black and white and it features very haunting background score. The moment the baby is changed, the music is like shrieking, giving more suspense and shocking everyone who sees it. Henry then turns around and in contrast to the nightmarish situation, Henry says the baby is sick with such calm in his voice.

Henry and Mary get married so quickly after Mary’s mother forces them to. There is a scene where Mary is fed up taking care of the baby. It shows how unprepare she is. Same goes to Henry, after knowing the baby is “sick”, I call what he does later as some kind of panicky act. He doesn’t know what to do. He’s not prepared for this situation.

You need to see the film to know what Henry does to the baby, but for me this scene is the most memorable although in level of how shocking, this film has many moments more shocking than this. David Lycnh once said that no one has ever come close to his own interpretation of this film, but here it is my own interpretation of this scene:

I think Henry finally sees what a sick creature that baby is and he’s gonna do something crazy about it. And he does.