Hammer

Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992)

Tetsuo II: The Body Hammer first published by EyeforFilm Less a sequel than an alternative reimagining of Tsukamoto Shinya‘s punkishly provocative Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) – which, after all, ended with the imminent destruction of Tokyo – Tetsuo II: Body Hammer gives a completely different interrelationship and back story to its chief antagonists (still played by Taguchi Tomorowo and Tsukamoto),…

Tetsuo

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Tetsuo: The Iron Man first published by EyeforFilm If punk was the stripped-down, DIY expression of countercultural attitudes, and if cyberpunk explored the relation between individual and technology in a dystopian future, then Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo falls somewhere between the two. For its down-and-dirty, fast-and-furious aesthetic – and Chu Ishikawa’s pounding score – are ripped as…

Unicorn Wars

Unicorn Wars (2022)

One of the ways that cinema can portray the end of innocence is to take things that would normally appeal to children and to infuse them with fear, distress or disgust. David Hand’s animated Bambi (1942) for Disney might have been very much aimed at children, but also traumatised many of its young viewers with…

Meatball Machine Kodoku

Meatball Machine Kodoku (Kodoku: Mîtobôru mashin) (2017)

Meatball Machine Kodoku (Kodoku: Mîtobôru mashin) first published by SciFiNow In 2005, Yudai Yamaguchi and Junichi Yamamoto released Meatball Machine, a strange, superviolent romance in which a young man and woman fall in love, find themselves invaded and overtaken by parasite puppetmasters, and then duke it out (with an assortment of bizarre body-modified metal weapons) in…

Titane

Titane (2021)

Little Alexia (Adèle Guige) is in the back seat of a moving car, making vroom vroom engine sounds as though she were one with the vehicle. To counter this noise, her father (Bertrand Bonello) keeps turning up the music on the radio – so Alexia, still wanting her father’s attention, starts rhythmically kicking the back…

Soseiji

Gemini (aka Soseiji) (1999)

Gemini (aka Soseiji) first published by Little White Lies, as entry 115 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column By the time Shinya Tsukamoto helmed Gemini (aka Soseiji) in 1999, he had already established for himself an idiosyncratic filmmaking language all his own. His features like Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), its bigger budget 1992 sequel Tetsuo…

Laguna Ave.

Laguna Ave. (2021)

Laguna Ave has its world première at FrightFest 2021 In the opening scene of David Buchanan’s Laguna Ave., a man in a balaclava sneaks into a building at night, and steals a hard drive and a mug with the name Russell on it from one of the offices inside, before very carefully and deliberately taking…

Gore

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

Tokyo Gore Police (Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu) first published by Little White Lies As Hollywood still picks over the bloody remains of the J-horror movement that flourished at the turn of the twenty-first century, Japan has moved on to a new brand of horror which might, for want of a better term, be called ‘splattercore’.  Key…

Japan

Ten of the Best Films From Japan

Ten of the Best Films From Japan first published by Scene 360 So rich has been the history and variety of films from the Land of the Rising Sun that narrowing down a selection of the best – or even of favourites – is practically impossible. Here, then, is something a little more provisional: an…

Lowlife

Lowlife Love (2016)

Lowlife Love first published by Little White Lies, as part 20 of my Cinema Psychotronicum column Tetsuo (Kiyohiko Shibukawa) wakes up beside a would-be starlet, vainly attempts to have sex with her again, and then, after she leaves, proceeds to masturbate to the CV that she has left with him. In Lowlife Love (Gesu no ai, 2016),…

Kotoko

Kotoko (2011)

Kotoko first published by EyeforFilm “Hang tough, Japan!” exhorts the man on the television set. It is a subtle acknowledgement that production on Tsukamoto Shinya’s Kotoko took place in the shadow of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake – for here, as in Himizu (2011), an isolated individual’s psychodrama unfolds against the backdrop of an entire nation in…