REVIEWED
2/9/03

STORY



LOOK

Videodrome
Director: David Cronenberg
Year: 1982
TRT: 1:29


I think David Cronenberg is the most consistent director in putting out the strangest movies ever made that aren't reduced to total schlock. This was the follow-up to Scanners, and you can see how his style is starting to progress. His movies tend to focus in on the human condition and how it is (usually) dominated by some exterior factor, forming a new type of reality. In this film, it is the melding of the mind and television.

James Woods plays the pseudo-sleazy Max Renn, always on the lookout for some new entertainment to put on the practically non-existent cable channel he works for. In order to gain some attention, their content is mainly soft-core porn and hard-core violence. But Max has the desire to get a hold of some programming that is a more grittier than the soft-core stuff they usually show. That's when his engineer turns him onto a pirated signal of a show called "Videodrome," which contains nothing but a room, a victim, and two masked people performing some nasty S&M type of stuff. It immediately grabs Renn's attention, and he seeks out the makers of the program.

Then things get a little weird. He ends up hooking up with the host of a radio show for victims (played by Deborah Harry) whose personal life is much more extreme than she lets people believe, and both are drawn further into the alternate world that is Videodrome. Renn finds it increasingly more difficult to determine what the difference is between reality and fits of hallucination.

This is a pretty familiar theme with many of Cronenberg's films. Because you witness the experiences first hand, it is difficult to determine what is reality as well. Very well done, and if you're okay with the subject matter, this is definitely a movie you want to check out. It makes some great statements about the influence of television in our society, and even though this film is over 20 years old now, still has a lot of valid points, even almost more so now with the total proliferation of massive amounts of channels that cable and satellite television have to offer, and can even be extended to include the internet.

DVD Notes: None since I saw it on VHS. Universal was brave enough to put out an "uncut" version of the movie.