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When I watched David Lynch’s Eraserhead for the first time a few years ago I thought I’d never watch anything as crazy or weird as that but after watching Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man last week, I stand corrected.

How did I discover this obscure Japanese Cyberpunk film from the 80s you ask? Well I was watching the Mark Cousins documentary ‘The Story of Film: An Odyssey’ (which is fantastic by the way, I think a film lover would totally dig it) and I think it was episode 13 where a clip from a strange black and white Japanese film was shown – it was called Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Cousins described it as a cult Japanese Cyberpunk film. Now I’ve been busy for the past couple of weeks with college work so I had to put movie watching on hold (even the Ingmar Bergman challenge) but when I saw this 30 second clip on this documentary, I knew that it was far too interesting to let it pass. I went on the internet straight after the show and YouTubed ‘Tetsuo’ and could you believe my luck – the entire film was uploaded on there for public viewing free of charge and I immediately clicked on it, it was a little over an hour long and I had a class in about 2 hours so I decided to watch it seeing as I was home alone with no one to disturb me.

Now let me just make it clear that I don’t scare easily, I’m a huge fan of horror films and it’s very rarely I find a film that actually really scares me – the last one was Takashi Miike’s Audition which I saw last year on TV but Tetsuo was so (emphasis on the so) bizarre and creepy that I actually couldn’t watch it all in one go. I watched the film stopping every 10 minutes or so to take a breather, check if my hands were still flesh, have a sip of water and then continued again. If that hasn’t made clear how insane this film is I don’t know how else to convince you (maybe the screenshots will help).

I’m pretty sure Tsukamoto is a borderline schizoid because I don’t see how any normal person could come up with something like this. This film is a nightmarish Acid trip on celluloid. It was total madness and mind-blowing and also immensely creative as a film be it the subject matter or the special effects not to mention it was inspiring to see a really low budget film to have such an impact. I was initially going to start this article by stating that Tetsuo makes Eraserhead look like a children’s film but that was in the heat of the moment, now that I had time to reflect I don’t know which is more disturbing. Nevertheless, I’m glad I took a break from my college work to watch this, it really gave me something to think about for the whole week (and I’m still thinking about it now). If you’re bored with watching the same old stuff and want something different (to understate it) then I really suggest you give Tetsuo a chance, it should be right up your alley. I saw it on YouTube, the whole film was on one video but I tried to find the video again this morning and it wasn’t there, maybe it got deleted because of copyright but the film is still there on YouTube to watch in parts, I’m writing this because I assume it might be hard to get a copy of it on DVD. And you may also want to check out David Cronenberg’s Videodrome which I understand served as inspiration for Tetsuo. Well that’s it from me for now, be excellent to each other. Adios.


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