Movie Name: Videodrome
Studio: Canadian Film Development Corporation
Release Date(s): Februar 4, 1983
MPAA Rating: R
Max Renn (James Woods) is always looking for edgy new material for his UHF station CIVIC-TV. When his contact Harlan (Peter Dvorsky) stumbles across a transmission called Videodrome, Renn feels he might have found the next thing. Videodrome however might be more than Renn can take. Videodrome induces hallucinating, and Renn is losing his grasp on reality…and Videodrome wants Renn!
Written and directed by David Cronenberg, Videodrome is a “body” horror thriller. The movie was released to praise and criticism due to the violent and gory message. The film performed poorly that the box office but has gained a cult following over the years. Videodrome was released in a remastered edition by Criterion (Criterion #248).
Videodrome isn’t an easy film. It isn’t a straightforward horror film nor is sci-fi or a thriller. Videodrome is classic Cronenberg and makes me wish he’d return to his roots sometime.
Videodrome raises a lot of questions but doesn’t necessarily provide the answers. The movie deals with a lot of hot button issues from 1983, but also most of these issues exist today…and the film is possibly more relevant. The movie deals with the decline in class, and Videodrome is meant to wipe out those obsessed with “sick” things like S&M and kinky sex. This was 1983. Just imagine what this movie would be like today with all that can be readily found on the internet or even just on YouTube…what if Videodrome was implanted in Kim Kardashian’s twitter feed? Videodrome is almost a precursor to things like The Ring. Technology is bad, but people’s desire to experience the extreme is worse.
Woods is good because he emits that sleazy feel from him. He has often played characters like that in Videodrome and he was a good choice for the role. The movie also capitalized on Blondie’s popularity by casting Deborah Harry in one of her first major roles. Harry and Woods are a good combo and I wish there had been a few more scenes between the two.
The movie also utilizes the special effects wizardry of Rick Baker. The movie has a sickening feeling when watching it. This is a general effect of Cronenberg be it The Brood, The Fly, or Dead Ringers…Cronenberg always keeps his viewers in an uncomfortable nauseous state.
Cronenberg is an innovator and Videodrome is just another example of this. Videodrome feels like it is directly tied to Cronenberg’s other films. The horrors he’s presented in other movies feel like they could exist in the world of Videodrome. The movie feels especially tied to eXistenZ which dealt with a similar relationship with video games. I could even see Cronenberg revisit this one…and I don’t know that it would be a bad thing (if he did it). Long live the New Flesh!
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