Now we are talking, Mr. Towelhead takes on, one of the strangest japanese movies in the weird movie department. All images belong to Shinya Tsukamoto (director) and well I guess him again as the movie was produced and apparently released by the same dude. We use them to educate our imagination, the dark side of our imagination.
Mr. Towelhead reviews:
Tetsuo the Ironman
Tetsuo was directed, produced, written and acted by Shinya Tsukamoto. Its a low budget, cyberpunk horror movie. Cyberpunk = high tec, low life. The world and technology around the characters is not particularly new, the “high tec” part applies to the props used around the characters. And these are quite rough and conceptually cyberpunk-ish. The movie is horror through and through, it has bizarre images, gore and a main protagonist going mad as he turns to a metal monstrosity :D good stuff.
The charm of Tetsuo lies in the incredibly gory and messed up images the director is able to create with very simple means, and in black and white. Also, it throws at us concepts that are so cheap, and yet so complicated it gains several points for imagination. Mr. Tsukamoto has gained a fan following for a good reason.
For example. Characters will “run” fast as you see them in a stiff position while the background moves fast around them. Stop motion animation and weird mixtures of wires and rusted metal bent like crazy around actors. All of this combined with the acting, even with the low budget-means they had available and you have: A unique world, a unique mythology.
You probably won’t get the story the first time, as there is very little dialogue, “dream” sequences and important parts of the story are shown briefly. The movie requires some interpretation if you wanna understand it without reading a synopsis. However, the images are so messed up and well done, you actually give a damn about understanding.
Without ruining the plot for you (that you anyway won’t get the first time), Our protagonist is infected (presumably by the antagonist) and begins to transform into a monster of metal and flesh. As the protagonist evolves, basically as his body is invaded by more metal and has less human flesh, he gets more “powerful”. And also, as his powers evolve the protagonist is hunted by more and more powerful half metal, half human foes. Until protagonist and antagonist face off in an epic surreal duel. :D
Our protagonist transforms (against his will) into a monster
As you won’t quite get the full story the first time you see it, which by the way gives the movie a unique second-time-watch value, its the bizarre imagery that will provide the ultimate thrill for the Tetsuo experience.
Tetsuo is gory, within its metal world context, nasty and sexual. There is no sexual graphic content per se, but some of the images imply very f* up sexual acts. There are three main actors and each of them performs superbly. When they fear you can sense the fear in their eyes, when they rage you can feel the boiling anger. The director of the movie himself is the antagonist and you can tell he’s enjoying himself, but never to point of throwing you off the movie. NO! He actually makes you believe he’s the, so-called “Metal Fetishist” and he’ll rust the world to metal dust.
Mr. Tsukamoto takes his job as actor/director very seriously…
… I mean. Look at him! This guys means business!
Like I said, there is little dialogue here, but the acting is quite convincing, so by all means, watch the movie in its original language (with subtitles if you must). If its only for the original screams and pants, which are acted in such a terrifying glory, you could swear the actor victim is actually being drilled by a giant metallic contraption. And so on.
The actors demonstrate such passion! Even when “just” screaming or panting.
If you are hoping for a horror version of Transformers, you are disappoint. Tetsuo shines for creating a bizarre world with improvised means, that, never the less are convincing. It comes closer to being an art film, with a decent confrontation and disturbing scenes. However, you don’t need to be a art connoisseur to enjoy it, but you definitely wanna be into weird movies to enjoy it.
Mr. Towelhead is pleased
10 / 10
If you like old school WEIRD, STRANGE, BIZARRE movies. Tetsuo is for you.
The movie will thrill you for its disturbing images, it’ll upset your stomach but also, in our modern age of visual effects, it gets an extra charm for achieving really neat visual concepts on a low budget. Tetsuo gets some more good points for its “re-play” value because there actually is a story behind it and its possible to get it.
It’s gore and horror for sure, so if that’s not your thing Tetsuo is definitely not for you.
P.D. There are two sequels to Tetsuo the Ironman. To be honest with you, I saw them both (I believe), but they were so NOT memorable that I can’t even remember. Every time I read the synopsis of the sequels I remember that I actually saw them, but nothing of the dialogues or images impressed me like the original, none of them stuck to my mind. They are mediocre at best, very simple-minded follow ups of the Tetsuo mythology with extremely similar plots and/or situations. Each of them a 5 / 10 at best. But perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps they were simply so boring I felt asleep and that’s why I can’t remember. So or so, don’t soil your lovely Tetsuo horror memories, don’t watch the sequels.