The Legend of the Stardust Brothers is the exact definition of a cult film. Despite the huge array of talent on board, and with a large budget, even today, it remains virtually unknown in both Japan and the wider-world.
Now, over 30 years since its release, The Stardust Brothers arrives on duel format DVD and blu-ray in a brand-new Director’s Cut— complete with the soundtrack CD—from Third Window Films.
In 1985, Directed by Macoto Tezuka (son of the great manga artist Osamu Tezuka) met musician and TV personality Haruo Chicada who had made a soundtrack to a movie that didn’t actually exist: At the time Macoto was just 22-years-old, a film-student with numerous experimental films under his belt, and the pressure of the TEZUKA name. With Chicada as producer, Tezka then adapted this “fake soundtrack” into the real movie story of “The Stardust Brothers”.
Taking inspiration from Phantom Of The Paradise and Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tezuka assembled a cast of some of Japan’s most famous musicians of the time, including such greats as Kiyohiko Ozaki, ISSAY, Sunplaza Nakano and Hiroshi Takano, alongside many famous names in manga such as Monkey Punch (Lupin The 3rd), Shinji Nagashima (Hanaichi Monme), Yosuke Takahashi (Mugen Shinsi) and upcoming film directors of the time such as Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Tokyo Sonata) and Daihachi Yoshida (The Kirishima Thing).
Cult films are an acquired taste. Some are real gems—a little unpolished, but genuinely new and interesting. Some promise great things and chug along in an amusing enough manner to reward a viewing. Others are the sort of film that you’d only ever watch drunk. Where you place The Stardust Brothers on that scale is largely up to you.
The Stardust Brothers isn’t that must-have gem, but there are times when it comes close. It perhaps tries too hard to be odd, with some purposefully bad effects, outlandish costumes, convoluted storylines and quirky ‘80s J-Pop. And while it’s no Rocky Horror, it’s hard to deny its energy, positivity, and charm.