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Tetsuo: The Iron Man 1989

  • Shinya Tsukamoto
  • July 1, 1989
  • 67 mins
  • Horror, Science Fiction
Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1989 Japanese cyberpunk film by cult-film director Shinya Tsukamoto produced by Japan Home Video. This, his third film, is an extremely graphic but also strikingly-filmed fantasy shot in the same low-budget, underground-production style as his first two films. Revolving around the transformation of people into grotesque hybrids of flesh and metal, Tetsuo is above all an overwhelming audiovisual experience, set to a brain-pounding score by Chu Ishikawa and complemented by suitably exaggerated sound effects.


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So, this where I learned that psychedelic cyberpunk experimental film is not for me. Despite two excellent horror sequences (the subway chase scene and the initial scene where the woman tries to comfort the man come to mind) and very sharp stop motion animation, the lack of a clear narrative really pulled this one down for me. The meaningless gore and moralizing anti-sexuality were incredibly off-putting to me, even as a fan, albeit a casual one, of horror and exploitation films. I might be convinced to watch the other films in the series, but this one was, at times, torturous.

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