Shortly after the conclusion of the exhausting book tour for my award winning memoir No Caffeine for You: Confessions of an Adrenaline Junkie (the follow-up to my first award winning memoir Hypervictory: How Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Saved Me From the Crack Den), I was having a late lunch with my life coach Mimzy Malone when the subject of Tetsuo: The Iron Man came up. Now a lunch discussion with Mimzy usually doesn’t stray far outside the parameters of the density of her bean sprouts (she’s no Jonathan Rosenbaum), so when she mentioned Tetsuo, I knew that something was a cookin’ (speaking of which, yo J.Ro, I still need my bean dip recipe back…and my signed Freddy Got Fingered DVD.) Mimzy was trying to recall what color dress she was wearing when we first saw the film back at Berlin 1991; I vaguely remember it being a deep red, but she’s convinced that it was more of a faded puce. Ah, those were the days, when drillbit penises were still all the rage.
All of this stimulating talk got me thinkin’ about Tetsuo’s legacy. That film has often been referred to as a cyberpunk version of Eraserhead. Well if that’s true, then Tetsuo you’ve been quite the promiscuous little minx in the intervening years, ‘cause Eraserhead’s bastard grandchildren are scattered all over the place. Case in point: Sogo Ishii’s Electric Dragon 80000 V. As long as we’re in a Lynchian mindset, I’m also reminded of Big Dave’s legendary unproduced script One Saliva Bubble, in which the flight of the eponymous spit projectile causes all sorts of unintended chaos. In a similar manner, the action of Ishii’s 55 minute magnum opus is all kicked into gear by a stray bead of sweat, courtesy of a young lad who climbs an electric transformer in search of kicks. The result? A mega shock to the primordial lizard section of his brain, a new tendency for ultra-violence, further misguided electroshock treatment and an eventual super-ability to communicate with lizards and shoot electricity from his fists (expressed in many tight shots of lizards eyes, not to be confused with those half-baked lizard's eye POV shots from Herzog's Bad Lieutenant. Hey Herzie! I stuck a camera up a lizard's nose and lived to tell the tale, so come back when you've actually tried something daring!) And the new super moniker of Dragon Eye Morrison. (Speaking of which, did you know that I once shared dinner with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat at a Sbarro in Poughkeepsie, New York? Man, that dude can pound down the Mushroom Calzones!)
I once summarized J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek to one of my cohorts as: “things fly around, some of them explode and people run a lot.” I could use much the same descriptor for ED80000 V, although it does so in less than half the running time, and with the exception of one factor: guitar solos. ‘Cause, you see, Dragon Eye relieves much of his aggro tendencies by plugging into an electric guitar and thrashing it out ad nauseum. Along with one of the best Raging Bull ripoff scenes in modern cinema, ED80000 V also features not one, not two but THREE mega-geetar solo extravaganzas, enough to make even a coked-up Eddie Van Halen collapse in envious despair. Conclusion? ED80000 V > Star Trek. After all, which would you rather see: Chris Pine pouting over Uhura and baiting Spock into a slap fight, or Chris Pine exorcising his mega-dickishness by shredding to his heart’s content down on the transporter deck? (Step up your game Pine Barrens…and while you’re at it, you still owe me for that check I picked up at the La Jolla Golden Corral last fall.)
Of course, any electro-fuelled hero must have his arch nemesis, and Dragon Eye gets his in the form of Thunderbolt Buddha. You might be surprised, but he can control all electrical currents. And he wears a half Buddha mask. God, you gotta admire that efficiency. Eventually, Buddha and Dragon Eye meet (SPOILER: they fight.) And that’s pretty much it. Lord knows we could all strive for such clarity and brevity in our daily lives. The entire Michael Bay Transformers cycle cries itself to sleep every night wishing it could achieve such heights in such little time.
I know what you’re thinking: that’s it? I almost hyperextended my index finger clicking on this link and this is all I got. Well hey, 55 minutes is 55 minutes, bub. But since I love and respect you, the faithful reader, I’ll leave you with the trailer for Infra-Man, which I guess you could say is ED80000 V’s crazy old uncle. Now if I could just get my bean dip recipe back…