Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) Review

Horrorific content by adrian on May 09th, 2019 | Movie Review | Sci-Fi, Gore, Arthouse

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It’s about a deranged guy who jams a metal pipe into his leg which triggers a full-blown transformation into a bizarre hybrid of flesh and metal.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man was directed by Shinya Tsukamoto (who also directed Tetsuo II: Body Hammer and Hiruko The Goblin) and stars Tomorowo Taguchi (from Black Night, Strange Circus, Tomie), Shinya Tsukamoto (from Marebito, Ichi The Killer) and Naomasa Musaka (from Another Heaven).

Who dares to defy the ultimate body-hammer?

Tetsuo: The Iron Man Review

I’ve heard Tetsuo referred to as the Eraserhead of Japan, but I have to disagree. Eraserhead, while bizarre, was a complete movie with just enough ambiguity to keep people talking about it for years. Tetsuo is just a bizarre hour long mess of crazy music, exaggerated sound effects and jarringly abrupt editing. This was, of course, what the director Tsukamoto was going for in this experimental cyberpunk film. He wanted it to be an overwhelming audio visual experience. He definitely succeeded!

But, although it does overwhelm the senses, it felt like it was overwhelming just to be overwhelming. The story was paper thin, there were only a few lines of dialog through the entire thing and the ending was anticlimactic. It’s also only 67 minutes long, so it felt like it was either an abruptly cut off movie or a really long short film.

Worth Watching?

If you’re into wild arthouse horror and like the style of J-Horror where exaggerated panting and gasping is used in place of dialog, then you might like Tetsuo. But if you’re looking for an actual horror movie, best to steer clear of this one.


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