鉄男 Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Shin’ya Tsukamoto directs Tomorô Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara and himself in this Japanese body horror nightmare where a salary man is infected with circuit boards and mechanical joints after leaving a metal fetishist for dead.

One of those films I’ve known about for as long as I’ve been into movies. Shocking stills of it lingered around the back pages of movie mags I read as a child, it was incongruously the only live action film in Anime video section of HMV and imagery from it is continually being co-opted by graphic designers and graffiti taggers still to this day. As a DIY shot over years of weekends labour of love, Tetsuo is an admirable achievement. I wish I had made something like this in my twenties. Painstaking and piecemeal but punk and psychotic. This is the Japanese Evil Dead or Eraserhead in so many ways. But beyond inspiration it is a difficult watch. The plot is incomprehensible… the mutations endless with very little change of register. I like stop motion metamorphoses and industrial noise soundtracks as much as the next man but this offers minimum respite. It is always on up at 11, storytelling and character development be damned. The best moments are when it feels slightly more like a traditional horror and a rabid cyborg chases another. The subway sequence is pretty engrossing and the hyperspeed race montages are spectacular. There are also strange explicit moments that suggest that this is more about suppressed homosexuality than merely a chance to showcase what would happen if your dick became an industrial drill. But it ain’t a pleasant or easy or varied enough watch. Experience any 10 minute slice of fused nasty and you’ve seen it all really. Too grating to recommend.

5

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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