Videodrome came to us during the peak of David Cronenberg's work. It's a strange yet wonderful journey into the bizarre mind of David Cronenberg. Seriously, Cronenberg put some really weird stuff in this movie, but that just makes it all that much more intriguing. It's brash and sleazy. It's perverted and brutal. It's a tough movie for some to watch and a breeze for those very few that appreciate good solid gore.
Max Renn (James Woods) is a sordid television producer that picks up a pirate signal of some brutal snuff clips playing virtually twenty-four-seven. Once he begins investigating the source of the signal he gets mixed up in a psychological and bio-deforming experience that may be driving him to murder. We get scenes of trashy explicit savagery mixed with scenes of extreme sadomasochism and body manipulation.
The actual storyline gets lost as this movie rolls on. It takes you down a bizarre path led by Woods' character. It's wonderful.
This movie takes reality and shifts it into an uncomfortable position. It creates a really deep fear in its viewers. It identifies with us today being based on a society that is dependent on its visual media. James Woods and Debbie Harry are great and they do a wonderful job. Cronenberg of course delivers big. This movie is fantastic. I can't say it enough. The effects were amazing. From the body manipulation to the set design. Everything was repulsive and intriguing at the same time. It masterfully combined gore, sex, and politics in a single picture.
I cannot recommend Videodrome enough. Go out and find this. The Criterion Collection release has some really good features including documentaries and short films. It also has a booklet of essays based on this film. Check it out.
Did ya know...
David Tsubouchi, who appears here briefly as a Japanese porn dealer, later became a Minister in the Ontario provincial government. His appearance in this controversial film as a pornographer was exploited by the opposition.
The TV station "Civic TV" is patterned after City TV, an actual television station which started out in Toronto and was particularly infamous for showing soft-core sex films as part of its late night programming schedule. At one point in the film, one of Max Renn's partners is called "Moses" which is a reference to City TV founder Moses Znaimer.