SonOf Cthulhu's Rating of Tetsuo: The Ironman

Son's Review of Tetsuo: The Ironman

6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
Tetsuo: The Ironman

Tetsuo: The Ironman(1989)

I've been wanting to view this one for a long time. I'd heard it was an acid trip in the Eraserhead vein. I found that to be partially true, but [b]Tetsuo[/b] moves at a much more frantic pace. Rarely does it stop long enough for us to digest a scene. Its crisp b&w images are startling, occasionally erotic but mostly horrifying. Most surprising was the techno soundtrack, which was great and mirrors modern music.

What's the plot of [b]Tetsuo[/b]? Basically the main character (never named) and his girlfriend/wife accidentally hit this weirdo with their car. The guy they hit was running down the road after gashing open his thigh and inserting a metal rod in it. They toss his body in a ravine and then it's implied that main character and his girlfriend/wife have sex before leaving. The next day, the main character finds a piece of metal protuding from the side of his face. A girl who sits next to him while waiting for the subway is infected by a coil of metal wires. It's implied that she's under the control of weirdo. Seems he wasn't killed by the car accident. She chases our main character while mutating more and more. He escapes only to find that more and more of his own body is becoming metal. Rushing home to his girlfriend/wife, he finds that his erection has been replaced with a giant drill bit. At first this doesn't sit too well with him and he hides from her after accidentally slicing the coffee table in two with his wang. She states she still loves him and dies trying to have sex with him. The accident victim shows up at the house and attacks the main character. Then things get really weird. (yeah I thought the power tool for reproductive organ was a topper, but no.)

I don't think of this movie as horror. It plays at it and you can see the characters situations as horrifying, but I find that it is actually a veiled attempt at social commentary. The main character could represent a teenage boy going through puberty, with all the changes that occur in the body being symbolized with his increasing metal addons. In addition the changes wrought by puberty will force his existing relationships with the opposite sex to undergo a marked change. He will increasingly find himself destroying relationships by giving into his sexual urges. As well the fights with the accident victim show a marked repressed homosexual urge in our main character. His bonding with him in the end could be seen as a "coming out" of sorts.

I didn't enjoy the movie so much as was fascinated with the images. It has far to many scenes of scrap metal moving around in jumbled stop-motion animation. Although they are filmed very well, these seem pointless at many times. The soundtrack I did like. I found it amazing that it was so ahead of its time.