ByTed Sar, writer at
It doesn't matter. None of this matters.
Ted Sar

While I wait for my read count to return after disappearing into the void mysteriously, and for tomorrow to come so I can post my Man Of Steel review, I figured I'd talk about a movie that I have not been able to stop thinking about since I first watched it.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

Directed by: Shinya Tsukamoto
Written by: Shinya Tsukamoto

Tetsuo: The Iron Man is one of the earliest films of writer/director Shinya Tsukamoto. It's a Japanese Black-And-White Cyberpunk/Body-Horror/Sci-Fi film from 1989, also being the first movie of a trilogy; the other two installments having badass titles like Tetsuo II: Body Hammer and Tetsuo: The Bullet Man.

The Premise

After a car-accident, a mild-mannered businessman and his girlfriend find themselves haunted by a a horrifying amalgamation of man and machinery known as the Metal-Fetishist. The line between man and metal blurs as they undergo horrific changes to their body.

Why's it so underrated?

Suppose the Davids Lynch and Cronenberg in their early 30s avant-garde days had collaborated on an early draft of Terminator 2 and decided to shoot it in Japan; home of Godzilla, manga comic-strips and post-nuclear mutation...

- The Quote on the Poster

Yeah, I should probably mention; Every single shot of this film from beginning to end is 100% high-octane Nightmare Fuel.

What really stands out in this movie is the striking imagery. Having been shot on 16mm film (and utilising a lot of stop-motion and jump cuts), the whole movie has this gritty industrial aesthetic to it that permeates throughout not only the visuals, but also through the industrial-rock score. The movie goes so far as to contain a Superman-meets-Akira-style fight towards the end (Akira being a major inspiration on the movie) when it's not using frightening, gore-filled sexual imagery to scare the absolute shit out of the audience.

I've always found body-horror as a genre fascinating, simply because it's interesting to see how far modifications of the human body can go and the implications they can bear on the people that are caught in these intense mutations. Sure, the cheesy special-effects contain a grit and level of detail that make them so visually interesting, but the way in which the story incorporates the imagery and utilises it helps legitimise the film, ensuring that it's not just a collection of cheap scares and it's ultimately used to establish and elaborate on characters.

The story is intriguing too. I personally thought the metal-infused-body-horror was meant to symbolise sexual perversion and the way in which different people respond to it. While the plot is relatively simple, there are many different ways that people can interpret it that make the experience all the more rewarding.

At the end of the day, it's a very unconventional film that tells a compelling story in one of the most visually interesting and unforgettable ways ever put to celluloid. Go into it with an open mind (provided you can stomach the gore) and you'll be rewarded for your efforts.

Thanks for reading.


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