Adventures of Electric Rod Boy [Denchû kozô no bôken] (1987)

This is not a film for little boys.

Or for the timid.

Two years before Shinya Tsukamoto burst onto the Underground scene with his bizarre cyberpunk-ish body horror film, Tetsuo: the Iron Man, he created this insane forty-six minute short, about a sad little boy who is bullied because he has an electric pole growing out of his back (hey, don’t look at me, I’m just describing it!).  When his classmate, Momo, helps him, he tries to give her a time machine, only to get sucked into the future, where he has to fight robot vampires.

Once it gets going, it is relentless, bombarding the audience with one bit of insanity after another, in between the bittersweet moments between the young hero and the Professor who comes to his aid.  

Tsukamoto shot this on 8MM, with his own crude homemade effects, headache inducing editing and an intense punk soundtrack.  For such a brash and often perverse effort, it is curious to note that it is sweetly naive:  it’s really a child’s story,  a superhero origin story, wrapped up in a post-Apocalyptic nightmare, only with violence, nudity, and a woman turning into a doomsday machine.  

I particularly enjoyed the often goofy effects, which feature some very idiosyncratic stop motion animation, and pixilation for the scenes of the vampires racing along the streets.  Despite the color film, and stronger storyline, it seems like what it in fact proved to be:  a dry run for Tetsuo.

It’s one of those films that amply rewards the daring viewer who risks taking a chance on it.  But it isn’t for little boys or girls.

And it definitely is not for those who like their film safe and non-threatening.



One thought on “Adventures of Electric Rod Boy [Denchû kozô no bôken] (1987)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.