Eraserhead: Philadelphia Story
transforms into Downtown LA

leading from

a) A Philadelphia Story
Eraserhead was meant to be a Philadelphia Story. Philadelphia is an old city and it's decaying.

It has a mood that's unbelievable if one goes to the right of area.

There are not many people downtown there but there's a lot of fear.

b) 13th and Wood
For a while, David Lynch lived near where Edgar Allan Poe once lived, and perhaps they were picking up on the same atmosphere.

He lived at 13th and Wood, right "kitty-corner" near the morgue in a real industrial area and it made an impression on him.

At 5.00pm, there's nobody in the neighborhood. 

No one lived there and he really liked that. It was beautiful if for those who saw it in the right way

c) Border on area
Then he lived on a border on area that was black and white and there was conflict and great hatred that was unbelievable.

There was a boy killed right in front of his house, and his house was broken into twice and some windows were shot out one night.

The place was very bad news for him and he was glad when he got out.

Any big city has areas where one can pick up on this sort of stuff but one has to really live in it before it got too much and once one lives in it, you can go to an elsewhere place.

He got into strange irregular things there such as collecting dead mice.

When he got to California, it took him a year for that sense of fear to lift off.

d) Looking for places like Philadelphia
When he with his co-filmakers were were looking for locations, they found that they were trying to look for locations that seemed like Philadelphia because they were making a Philadalphia film.

For David Lynch, Philadelphia was a place filled with fear, a place that was decaying, violent and fearful place, and so he was living there before that influenced Eraserhead,

By the end of it, Eraserhead had the look of downtown Los Angeles which was not surprising

Quote source
  1. Interviewer: And the whole Philadelphia thing, one of the reasons I want to come here is because somehow in my head, this is, this place, Lynch's park
    David Lynch: Is sort of like Philadelphia

    Interviewer: No, it's I've never been to 

    David Lynch: Yuh

    Interviewer: Philadelphia but what I think is you feel it's like. You know. Do you want to talk about the Philadelphia

    David Lynch: Well, when we were looking for locations, and we , we , er, we tried to find locations that you know, were like Philadelphia for sure, because, this is er a sort of Philadelphia film, and like it says somewhere that Philadelphia, to me, is a city that's really filled with fear, and it's um, er, it's a sort of a decaying, violent, fearful place and I was living there and I'm sure that a lot of that influenced Eraserhead a whole lot, and erm so, this is, this place is, you know, it wasn't really, it , it has that feeling, you know, the right feeling for Eraserhead, and er, all the other locations, we tried to find, but downtown LA is also, got its own, you know, feeling and it's a great, it's a great place and er, so our locations that we got down there were not really like Philadelphia but they had a nice mood to them, and we had to be real careful, you know, shooting, like a lot of times, right next door to where we were shooting, there was something that just was absolutely not right, but the things that you see, are, you know, have the right feeling, you know, were, tried to , you know, be like Philadelphia, at least in the beginning, but more, became, it more or less has a feeling of downtown Los Angeles really or another city altogether than Philadelphia.(
  2. Search&Destroy: I was wondering, did you want to go for sort of a Midwestern feel? David Lynch: Midwestern? I never thought about the Midwestern at all! The film was inspired by Philadelphia. There was no Philadelphia accents, that´s true, but just the same, it is sort of The Philadelphia Story --
    Search&Destroy: It´s a very old city.
    David Lynch: It´s so old, it´s decaying. You see, Philadelphia has a mood that is unbelievable if you go to the right areas. New York, there´s so many people, there´s so much happening that the fear is mixed in with a lot of other things. In Philadelphia, there´s not that many people downtown, but there´s plenty of fear.... For a while, I lived right near where EDGAR ALLAN POE lived and you know what kind of atmosphere he was picking up on. And I lived kitty-corner from the morgue in a real industrial area and it really made an impression. Then I lived on the border of an area that was black and white and there was conflict and there was such hatred, it was unbelievable. This kid was killed right in front of our house and our house was broken into twice and some windows were shot out one night -- it was really bad news and I was plenty glad to get out of Philadelphia!.. Any big city, they´ve got areas where you can pick up on this stuff, but you have to really LIVe in it before it gets to you, and once you live in it and you go someplace else, you realize, GOOD NIGHT! It took me a year for that fear to lift off, after coming to California...(Search & Destroy No.9, 1978)
  3. David Lynch: I lived at 13th and Wood, right kitty corner from the Morgue. That's real industrial. At 5.00pm, there's nobody in the neighborhood. No one lives there. And I really do like that. It's beautiful if you see it the right way. (Eraserhead is there life after birth? Stephen Saban and Longacre, 1977)

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