David Lynch’s first film was met with mixed reviews from critics. It is a surrealist horror movie praised for its sophisticated sound design and terrifying visuals that evoke parental terror and the trappings of industrialism. Eraserhead was finally acknowledged for its brilliance when it was often screened at midnight cinema screenings within the underground circuit, despite its sexual undertones and gory visuals.
The actor Mel Brooks’ executive producer Stuart Cornfeld saw the film as a result, and he thought it was “the greatest thing [he] had ever seen.” It was such a purifying encounter. The producer agreed to assist Lynch with the creation of his subsequent film, Ronnie Rocket, which was initially planned.
As an alternative, Lynch requested that Cornfeld locate a pre-written script for him to direct. Cornfeld selected The Elephant Man by Chris De Vore and Eric Bergren. The movie is based on the true account of a guy named Joseph Merrick (who is referred to as John in the movie), who had skin tumors and an enormous skull. Doctor Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), who discovered Merrick working in a Victorian freak show, examined him and discovered that Merrick was not the so-called “freak” he had been treated as his entire life, but rather a kind-hearted man.
One of David Lynch’s most emotionally stirring movies, Brooksfilms is one of Mel Brooks’s productions, and John Hurt’s portrayal of John Merrick has received much attention.