CONTAINS.... THINGS. I HONESTLY HAVE NO IDEA IF THEY'RE SPOILERS OR NOT. IT'S THAT KIND OF A FILM.
Back in 1992 I caught a low-budget Japanese horror film at the ICA, probably during the London Film Festival. Details are sketchy but I vaguely recall Tetsuo II: Body Hammer being very loud, full-on with the graphic body-morphing, thoroughly demented and not much fun. A full eighteen years later, I've finally managed to see the original and I can, somewhat shakily, report that it's very loud, full-on with the graphic body-morphing, thoroughly demented and not much fun. Despite being barely 65 minutes long, it's a hell of a long hour.
Coherent narrative is hardly the order of the day, but the basics of Tetsuo: The Iron Man seem to kick off with a mad bloke in a shed who slices his leg open and inserts a metal pipe into the wound. The fool. He's named in the credits as The Fetishist and played by the director Shinya Tsukamoto. The Fetishist then hobbles around in agony until he's hit by a car. The driver is then somehow contaminated with the flesh-steel fusion, as the Fetishist's cells have started to assimilate the metal. There's a long chase around the Tokyo (?) Metro, and then as the Driver starts mutating into some kind of cybernetic monster, he kills his girlfriend with his rotating metal phallus. I think his cat dies as well. The Fetishist then shows up and fights the Driver as the two ultimately fuse into one giant metal organism which sets off to rust the world into extinction. End.
Or something like that. Shot on 16mm in stark black-and-white and on a tiny budget, containing maybe a dozen lines of dialogue, it's pitched at a tone of shrieking hysteria throughout, with the editing ramped up to the point where the brain just can't cope with it. Maybe you need to be taking some kind of drugs. It's fascinating to look at, and the effects are terrific for the tuppence they had to spend, but I have absolutely no idea what it's supposed to mean, and it probably works best if you turn the sound off and have it playing in the background of a particularly rowdy party. The IMDb suggests there's a third one in the series but that hasn't shown up in the UK yet. To be honest, it's not a priority. In the meantime, I came away thinking I needed a couple of Nurofen* and a lie down.
* (Other pain relief products are available.)