Videodrome (1983)

videodrome poster 1983 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

More relevant today than when it was made

Plot sometimes loses track of itself and the real issues

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Videodrome

Studio: Canadian Film Development Corporation

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  Februar 4, 1983

MPAA Rating:  R

videodrome tv kissing james woods debbie harry

Just don’t hurt Debbie…she has a heart of glass

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.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #248).

The movie 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 video cassette stomach james woods leslie carlson

Just remember “Be Kind, Rewind”

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.

videodrome leslie carlson body explodes ending

This is a bad migraine

The effects are very memorable and they were produced by effects wizard 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.  The movie feels like it is directly tied to Cronenberg’s other films, and the horrors he’s presented in other movies feel like they could exist in the world of Videodrome.  Watching Cronenberg’s work, you can see his themes and fears rising.  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.  Long live the New Flesh!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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