Tetsuo: The Iron Man  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1989 Japanese film by 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. It was followed by the less memorable Tetsuo II: Body Hammer.

The music is by Chu Ishikawa.



The film opens with a man (called only "the man" (Tetsuo is a common name in Japan), or sometimes the "Metal Fetishist") tearing open a massive gash in his leg and shoving in a piece of scrap metal. Upon seeing maggots festering in the wound, he screams, runs out into the street, and is hit by a car. The driver of the car (cult actor Taguchi Tomorowo) tries to cover up the mess by dumping the body into a ravine, but the dead man comes back to haunt him -- by forcing his body to gradually metamorphose into a walking pile of scrap metal. In one of the film's most controversial sequences, the man discovers his penis has mutated into a gargantuan power drill. The film ends with a duel between the man and the Fetishist with the pair transformed into a giant mutated monster.

Themes and style

A classic Jekyll/Hyde/doppelgänger/shapeshifting trope. Features stop-motion sequences paced at break-neck speeds.



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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tetsuo: The Iron Man" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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