Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989, Shinya Tsukamoto)


How does one describe Tetsuo: The Iron Man? Is Shinya Tsukamoto’s movie the disturbed love child of Eraserhead and David Cronenberg body horror? The beginning of industrial metal music, combined with music video style imagery and editing cuts? Or something even beyond all that, a nightmare fuel vision that draws the viewer in, never letting go, haunting all who view Tsukamoto’s masterpiece of flesh and metal. Bound together forever, entwined, destined to conquer a world that has let technology and industry that holds domain over mankind. After all, humanity has surrendered control to beings that will eventually overwhelm us if we are not careful. Plus the images presented are horrific yet also fascinating, literal but also metaphorical: I give this movie credit for managing to walk the fine line between desperation and meaning, a very uneasy task for any filmmaker tackling such material.

If you are looking for a movie with drawn out characters or an easy to follow plot, this movie is not for you. Instead if, like myself, you wish to seek out challenging films that present another worldview, then Tetsuo is a great choice. I also chuckled at how the end title says “Game Over,” as if the last insane act is a video game. Considering the 1980s, its a perfect title image, and predicted how many films in the years to come either adapted video games or choose to be structured like them. Also be prepared for a movie where a man has a giant drill coming out of him, not to mention turning into a monstrous pile of scrap metal, consuming all other metal around him. I wish I could write more about this film, however I wish to avoid spoilers and I think Tetsuo requires additional viewings. Which will have to be achieved through Shudder again, since according to Wikipedia all releases of the film are out of print. Maybe I should appeal to Criterion to add the film to their collection.


90s TV Redux

Tonight I started watching Twin Peaks on Netflix Instant Viewing. I’m on the third episode so far, and its a rather captivating and engaging series, all centered around a murder mystery that is already proving to be strange in the classic David Lynch tradition. The show also features multiple aspects of Lynch’s themes, and was a clear springboard for later Lynch movies, especially Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, two of his best films.

Agent Cooper is a fascinating character, and he came around roughly at the same time as Agent Mulder did on The X-Files. Neither are same, for Cooper is more precise, smooth in his movements, certain in his habits and eccentricities. Where as Mulder is heavily driven by passion and on a singular mission-its these differing qualities that make both interesting. The show’s opening titles fit in remarkably well with Lynch, for they are creepy yet peaceful, depicting small town Americana (with a heavy 50s twist, of course) yet hinting at the darkness lurking just below the surface.

I’m suddenly reminded of how much Roger Ebert missed the mark when he reviewed Blue Velvet. Then again many critics have misread Lynch at times, especially since so many of them bashed Lost Highway when its a truly amazing film. I look forward to completing Twin Peaks and then viewing the movie Fire Walk With Me, for Lynch is a remarkable director who a clear vision.

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