Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer on DVD and Blu-ray in October
28 August 2012
Every now and then a press release arrives in the Cine Outsider inbox that prompts us to do more than give a nod of interest and start formatting the news story. Just about anything for Japanese punk horror masetro Shin'ya Tsukamoto would fall into that category, but the announcement that the two films that made his name are to be released on DVD and Blu-ray with newly mastered transfers supervised by Tsukamoto himself personally had me running around the room in excitement. And I've just had a really shitty day.
In Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), a strange man known only as the "metal fetishist", who seems to have an insane compulsion to stick scrap metal into his body, is hit and possibly killed by a Japanese salaryman out for a drive with his girlfriend. The salaryman then notices that he is being slowly overtaken by a strange disease that is turning his body into scrap metal, and that his nemesis is not in fact dead but is somehow masterminding and guiding his rage and frustration-fueled transformation.
More of a companion piece to Tetsuo: The Iron Man than a sequel, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer sees Tsukamoto's disturbing vision of a world populated by man-machines explode into a stunning colour interpretation.
Tetsuo became and instant cult favourite, and was described by horror writer and director Clive Barker as "a delirious ride into surreal and subversive territory," by Geoff Andrew in Time Out as "One of the most remarkable sci-fi films in a long time," and by Anton Bitel on Eye for Film as a film that "combines early Lynch's monochrome industrial landscapes, Cronenberg's body horror, Ballard's obsession with crashes and wounds, and Svankmajer's frenetic stop-motion oddity (and staccato editing), but it nonetheless remains a singular monstrosity."