20 Best Cult Movies Of The 1980s

18. Tetsuo: The Iron Man

Akira gun
Kaijyu Theatres

Shinya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo: The Iron Man bears no relation to the character Tetsuo from Katsuhiro Otomo's legendary anime Akira, but certainly shares his cyberpunk transformation into a half man, half machine hybrid.

This is an ultra low budget body horror entry from Japan, captialising on the successes of David Cronenberg's movies of the decade, but fused with a hardcore punk aesthetic which is entirely Japanese. As much a reflection of the kind of gonzo mangas being produced around the time, Tetsuo: The Iron Man is also a weirdly effective commentary on the suppressed desires and perversions of the Japanese salaryman.

Tsukamoto established his reputation as a cult filmmaker of the highest order with Tetsuo, directing two sequels over the next decade. Perhaps nowhere else is his indebtedness to Cronenbergian excesses more evident that in Tetsuo: The Iron Man, which helped propel awareness of underground Japanese films into the West.

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