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Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)
"Tetsuo" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  1 July 1989 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 13,457 users  
Reviews: 122 user | 94 critic

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... See full summary »


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Title: Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

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Complete credited cast:
Tomorowo Taguchi ...
Kei Fujiwara ...
Nobu Kanaoka ...
Woman in Glasses
Metal Fetishist
Naomasa Musaka ...
Renji Ishibashi ...


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 some kind of 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. Written by Serdar Yegulalp <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Horror | Sci-Fi


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 July 1989 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Tetsuo, the Iron Man  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| | (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on a play that Shin'ya Tsukamoto had written, directed, and performed in college. See more »


Metals Fetishist: Together, we can turn this fucking world to rust!
See more »

Crazy Credits

(after end credits) GAME OVER See more »


Featured in CineMaverick TV: Episode #1.16 (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Weirder then Lynch and Cronenberg together!
15 June 2005 | by (Puerto Rico) – See all my reviews

Title: Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Director: Shinya Tsukamoto

Cast: Tomorowo Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka, Shinya Sukamoto


Just when you think you've seen it all....a movie like this comes around and totally kicks you in the butt! This movie was amazing! It needs more exposure! More people should check it out! OK, OK, let me get down to the review...but once more: go rent this now! Story is about this regular every day ordinary guy who hits a pedestrian with his car. Only thing is that the pedestrian is a guy who is somehow becoming an...Iron Man. You see the guy they hit is a "metal fetishist" and for some reason that isn't explained he wants to become one with rusty pieces of metal. After the accident the man starts having nightmares about he and his girlfriend turning into robotic, metallic things. When he wakes up he realizes that it could also be happening to him in real life.

Man was this movie a visual feast! It was shot entirely in black and white, but believe me, it takes nothing away from the film. If anything it makes it all the more visually interesting.

The movie reads in many ways like a nightmare on film. At least that was the first impression I got while I was watching it. In this sense it is strictly a horror movie. Some of the images are truly terrifying in a surreal dream like sort of way.

The movies themes remind me a heck of a lot of David Cronenbergs films. You know how Cronenberg deals with films about sex and violence (Shivers, Crash, The Brood) and how they are somehow interconnected with each other? Well those themes are also touched upon in this movie in one of its most memorable scenes which I will not spoil...but will certainly surprise you. Even the part of the movie that deals with the car accident reminded me a bit of Cronenbergs Crash, mainly because the couple decides to make out after the car accident.

Not only that this movie also reminds me of a David Lynch movie...because yes, at times it will seem incomprehensible. It took me two viewings to fully understand it, but I got it pretty well the second time around. The story itself is not all that confusing...but the way it was edited and shot make it a little hard to grasp what is really happening. Its all very kinetic, very fast, always moving. The story moves along at a frenetic pace not giving you any chance to breath. Many people compare this film to Lynchs Erasehead, and some even go as far to say that this film is even stranger and weirder than Eraserhead. I myself haven't had the chance to check out Eraserhead...but I know what type of films Lynch is capable of doing and if they say that Tetsuo: The Iron Man is weirder then Eraserhead...well you know your in for something truly bizarre then.

The gore in it is memorable with some really cringe inducing scenes...specially those where the man is transforming into the robot metal thing and he is having sex with his girlfriend.

The special make up effects are great. Lots of cables and metal things coming out of every conceivable body part. Yes, even there. Tetsuo, the Iron Man looks like a huge hunk of metal coming to life with wires and cables and metallic objects. There's no real visual effects or CGI, the effects are more practical and on camera. Lots of fast forwarding, lots of quick cuts, lots of stop motion animation, lots of every quirky camera movements. It all helps to give the movie that incredibly frenetic look that it has.

Overall this is a great Japanese horror film that shouldn't be missed by anyone! Its kind of like a mix between Lynch and Cronenberg and maybe even a little bit of George Romero in there! There was this scene with a girl turning into what felt like a zombie robot...that just reminded me of Night of the Living Dead. Its amazingly interesting in a visual sense and you will feel like if you ever had a dream about your body being over taken by rusty metals and wires...this is what it would definitely look like. Not to be missed.

Rating: 5 out of 5

38 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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