Fans of the Japanese cult series Tetsuo got a welcome surprise this afternoon at Comic-Con: Director Shinya Tsukamoto announced that he's made an English-language sequel, coming out in 2010, called Tetsuo: The Bullet Man. We saw a ten-minute clip.
Hailed as one of the greatest Japanese cyberpunk movies of all time, Tetsuo: The Iron Man is about a salaryman hit by a car who gradually starts turning into a car himself. Finally his body becomes a mass of steel and wires, and his penis a giant drill - which he promptly uses on his girlfriend. Impressionistic and dark, the movie at times looks like an industrial music video. All the effects are stop-motion animation and prosthetics, with manage to capture the gooey, rusting look of a man halfway between office worker and deadly machine.
The new movie comes over a decade after the sequel. Tsukamoto said through an interpreter that he made it with US-based Ace Productions. It's about an American named Antony working in Tokyo, married to a Japanese woman. He makes the agonizing transformation into Tetsuo when their son Tom is killed by the same evil driver who creates the Tetsuos in previous films.
Tsukamoto hopes that Tetsuo: The Bullet Man will be a good way for newbies to the series to get into it. He said that if you watch Bulletman it makes a perfect entre to the two previous Japanese films. He says he chose to film his first English film in Tokyo because that city is "a true cybercity - the most cyberpunk city in the world."
He showed us the first 10 minutes of footage from the film, with some sound effects missing. As a fan of the creepy, violent series, I have to say the new film looks very promising. Antony's wife is a paranoid shut-in who hates Tokyo, and Antony's dad is a crazy biotech worker who insists on testing Antony's blood every month because he's afraid he'll die of the same "cancer" his mother died of. (But when we see Antony's blood emitting a tiny waft of smoke, we think perhaps mom might have died of a more Tetsuo-like disease than cancer.)
After the evil car guy kills Antony's son, we see the first version of his transformation into Tetsuo, which looks oddly like a Talking Heads video. I say this simply because he's a white guy in a suit, twitching and making strange faces in front of a screen filled with television static. Later he thrashes around in glowing water, his body rippling with machine parts that eventually emerge from his flesh "like a bullet," as the director put it.
Below, you can see some of the early concept art for the film.
The movie will be completed in September, when it will hit the festival circuit. And the director says he hopes to open it worldwide in 2010.