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ERASERHEAD - David Lynch Classic began its Midnight Run to Cultdom at NYC's Cinema Village

ERASERHEAD - David Lynch Classic began its Midnight Run to Cultdom at NYC's Cinema Village
The success of David Lynch's debut feature was a result of being shown on the “Midnight Movie” circuit. The man behind the marketing of this movie and who allowed it to be as successful as it was is Ben Barenholtz, the father of the “Midnight Movie.” He said of the film, “The bleakness of the landscape is coming true. There’s a strong feeling of helplessness, of being controlled by forces that you don’t know. Henry is the innocent; he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I think it’s a general feeling that younger people have been coming to over the past few years. ERASERHEAD couldn’t have done anything in the late sixties or early seventies. It’s not an optimistic film.”

Barenholtz purchased the film and entered it into the midnight movie circuit. In the late '70's, Midnight Movies were a success and made films that were initially overlooked marketable. These were typically low-budget films that did not particularly follow the production code and contained risky or disturbing scenes. ERASERHEAD is known as one of the most successful midnight movies along with EL TOPO, PINK FLAMINGOS and THE HARDER THEY COME, films that were overlooked or did not do well when they were originally released to theaters.

Barenholtz was able to get ERASERHEAD shown as a midnight feature at the Cinema Village theater on 12th Street in Greenwich Village. After running a full year at Cinema Village, it moved to the Waverly Theater (where it ran for ninety-nine weeks) and ran for a year at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater.