Tetsuo: The Iron Man
is a 1989 Japanese Cyberpunk film by cult-film director Shinya Tsukamoto. 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. Tetsuo established Tsukamoto internationally and created his worldwide cult following. It was followed by Tetsuo II: Body Hammer
and Tetsuo III: The Bullet Man
It follows the tale of a man who, after hitting a metal fetishist with his car, attempts to hide the mess by dumping the body into a ravine. To his dismay, he finds that the dead man is getting his revenge - by forcing the driver to transform into a walking heap of scrap metal.Not to be confused with that Tetsuo
or that Iron Man
This movie contains examples of:
- All Just a Dream: The main character has a dream that his girlfriend turns into a machine-woman with a metallic penis that seems to be made from a vaccum cleaner. She then proceeds to rape him with it... and yes it is every bit as disturbing as it sounds.
- Arm Cannon: The second and third movies show that murderous intent seems to manifest this (among other things) if the hate behind it is strong enough. In reality, people who are capable of this were actually part of an experiment to create humans who could become living weapons
- Black and Grey Morality: The Salaryman and his girlfriend do not seem to act like good people, considering that their reaction to hitting a wounded man with their car is to dump the corpse (or not) in a ravine and have sex over where they dumped him, most likely with the body facing them, considering the angle we see it from. So that means that the Metal Fetishist should be better, right? Well...
- Body Horror: We have several shots of metal protruding through the protagonist's flesh, gradually mutating him into a man made of metal over the course of the film.
- Cultural Translation: The third movie has an American protagonist, but it is still set in Japan.
- Cyber Punk
- Death by Sex: See below.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: All three movies take their titles to literal levels.
- Gainax Ending: Apparently, the protagonist and antagonist merge together to form one organism and God only knows what they plan to do after that.
- Downer Ending: It's fairly clear that the Metal Fetishist and the Salaryman will use their combined power to destroy the world, due to the last lines of the film. Also, for the Salaryman, he seems to have become fully submissive and under the control of the Metal Fetishist (although he may just be pretending to act like that just to avoid more pain), so it's really a depressing ending all around.
- Lipstick and Load Montage: The antagonist is shown changing his hairstyle, painting his lips, and putting on eye makeup before his confrontation with the protagonist.
- Mind Screw: There's a reason why it is often compared to Eraserhead.
- Nightmare Fetishist: The antagonist is called "The Metal Fetishist". When he was alive, he enjoyed shoving bits of metal into his body.
- After the main characters run over him, the protagonist's girlfriend gets aroused. She later gets aroused when she shoves a knife into the main character's neck in hopes of killing him.
- Our Zombies Are Different: His dead girlfriend is briefly brought back due to the antagonist's manipulation. Then he teleports out of her somehow.
- The woman who chases the protagonist on the subway seemed like one as well. In fact, since the antagonist dies, comes back, and infects the protagonist, one could almost see this as some crazy zombie flick.
- The Right Hand of Doom: Almost every character in the movie ends up sporting a big, clunky metal hand at one point or another.
- Silence Is Golden: As a nod to its Eraserhead influences, the movie has minimal dialogue.
- Stop Motion: The most common method of special effects. Somehow, the jilted movements make everything creepier.
- Surreal Horror
- This Is a Drill: The driver's penis transforms into one of these. During sex with his girlfriend.
- World of Symbolism: Some say the movie is about modern humanity's overdependance on machines. Others think it is a metaphor for homosexual awakening. There are probably many more theories out there.