How to describe the Tetsuo trilogy? The word 'cyberpunk' is used a lot in reviews. Surreal and grotesque are two I would used. The first film is a low budget black & white film which looks like Eraserhead fell into a metal-grinder. An unknown man begins to metamorphose into a machine. His flesh is torn, stretched and melded into a bizarre hybrid which is both graphic and sensational. Its doesn't make a lot of sense in it's story but visually it all comes together like a feature length music video as a furious score pounds us into submission while the Iron Man embarks on a murderous rampage through the city streets. If you recall the early Nine Inch Nails videos you will recognise that they were heavily influenced by this film. Think David Lynch combined with David Cronenberg and you get the picture.
And then comes Testuo 2: Body Hammer. Again it features a man experiencing a torturous transformation. The visual style is similar to the original and this time it's in colour, highlighting the bloody contortions of flesh. Also evolving from the original film, Body Hammer has a story. Our protagonist is a father who's son is kidnapped by the same mysterious underground organisation who has inflicted his metamorphosis. Again it's fast paced and visually appealing. Even if you don't understand it, it's images are too wicked to ignore.
And to part 3, Bullet Man. Director Shinya Tsukamoto has chosen to film this instalment in English. An American officer worker, who lives in Tokyo, sees his young son murdered. Rage consumes him and like the characters from earlier films, his body adopts mechanical characteristics. His body is contorted and his flesh is shredded. It is essentially a reworking of part 2... in my opinion this is easily the best in the series. It looks incredible. The imagery is crisp and the pace is erratic. Adding to the chaos is a title track written exclusively by Nine Inch Nails (Reznor using the moniker) and a score which extends Reznor's tone. Released in 2010 I am surprised that this didn't receive more recognition. I would love to have seen it in art house cinemas. It's surreal, macabre and terrifying... definitely see it if you get the chance.