The plot follows a TV executive who is all about ratings and sensationalism. He hits the jackpot when he comes across a video feed that appears to be broadcasting pornographic snuff films of actual murders. He's both horrified and hooked, and things really get intense when it seems like the feed is beginning to alter his reality and sanity.
YEah, it sounds totally off the wall, but that's because it is. It's Cronenberg though, so ithat explains a lot. It's got his trademark blending of man and technology, shocking visuals and effects, a warped sense of humor and life, and is really quite an experience to go through. It's also a rather sharp commentary on society, too, and it's handled with lots of intelligence and care, and I couldn't be happier about that.
You should really see this movie. It's not for all tastes, but for people who want something surreal, cerebral, and horrific, then this is the film for you.
"First it controls your mind... then it destroys your body"
Videodrome is quite the experience. After being less than impressed with the first two movies I saw from Cronenberg; I expected more of the same from this. I finally saw why Cronenberg is highly respected. This is a great concept that is incredibly well-made and doesn't make the mistake of overstaying its welcome. James Woods gives a really strong performance as Max Renn.
The plot is really cool. It centers on Max Renn, a tv executive who is looking for the next best thing in sexual fantasy. He believes he has found it when he watches a pirated clip of Videodrome. It's violent and thinks the public will like it; so he tries to find out as much about it as he can. That's when the "normal" ends and the surreal begins. My favorite thing about this movie was how it wasn't made in a straightforward way, yet it wasn't confusing. It had its share of twists and unreal sections, but it never got to the point where it was too confusing for its own good.
A fantastic movie from the 80's that is sure to please fans of horror and psychological thrillers. It's made with a very inspired and authentic feel to it, which just adds to the experience of it all. This movie definitely is going to make me want to watch more Cronenberg.
Videodrome is in my opinion one of Cronenberg's greatest Achievements as a director. The film is the type of film that shatters your nerves and twists your imagination in every ways you can imagine. The film is haunting, chilling and downright disturbing. Videodrome has everything you'd expect from a David Cronenberg film. The film surrounds a local television station owner, who specializes in providing a sleazy viewing experience then stumbles on Videodrome, a channel that shows graphic torture and mutilation. It's not long after that, that Max Renn starts to hallucinate as Videodrome controls his mind. Videodrome is a solid Horror Sci Fi film, and is everything you'd hope from Cronenberg. Videodrome is a great film that showcases David Cronenberg's directing abilities to a whole new level of deranged genius. Also this film has some awesome special effects work done by Rick Baker and James Woods is excellent as sleazy TV Station owner Max Renn. Long live the new flesh indeed.
Max Renn(James Woods) is a sleazy president of Civic Channel 83 which shows softcore pornography and some violent material. He is always on the lookout for new cheap, erotic films for his station in this 1983 David Cronenberg disturbing yet watchable classic.
When his employee decodes a pirate video broadcast showing torture, murder, and mutilation(Videodrome), Max becomes obsessed with acquiring this series for his channel. Max's sado-masochistic girlfriend Nicki Brand portrayed by Deborah Harry a.k.a Blondie goes to Pittburgh,PA to audition for this series which is very much to her twisted liking.
As Max learns more and more about this particular snuff broadcast, it becomes clear that what he's dealing with is much more than a television program.
"Long live the new flesh".
Max Renn (James Woods, a cinematic great) is looking for new programs for his station, something much more sensationalistic than he's already being showing (mostly softcore pornography). He stumbles upon Videodrome, a program that consists of people getting tortured then killed. Max becomes obsessed with this program, to the point where he starts hallucinating. To say anymore would give away important details about the final act. Suffice it to say, it's quite bizarre. But then, it's Cronenberg so that's no surprise.
This is the first film I've seen with Woods in a leading role and it baffles me why he isn't seen in more these days. I found him out through voice overs, mostly cameos/supporting roles as himself, in shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy (coincidentally, his first appearance on Family Guy mentioned this movie) and the film Hercules. I would later finally see him in a live action performance (Riding In Cars With Boys) but to see him do the movie mostly on his own, it just reaffirms my notion that he's been overlooked. Maybe it's what he wants, to avoid the major spotlight and do character roles. If he does, well, more power to him. Just so long as he keeps making films.
(Slight spoilers below)
One of the greatest things about this movie is the special effects. They make even some CGI effects look like crap (League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I'm looking at your Mr. Hyde here) and really add to the atmosphere. You have video tapes pulsating, stomachs gaining openings for video tapes (told you it was that kind of movie) and a hand literally becoming a handgun. And what would an early Cronenberg film without someone's head "asploding"? Rick Baker was the genius behind most if not all of the effects. If he didn't win some kind of award for his work, it's just one more reason to give up on award ceremonies.
Thematically, the film explores our relationship with television, with our obsession with what it does to us, where it's taking us.
The message I picked up, however, ties in with the old adage "forbidden fruit is sweetest". To that end, my interpretation of the message is "Pursue forbidden fruit and the person holding it will use you to their own gains". Again, I can't say too much without giving away the final act, which has made this such a hard movie to review due to its cult-like status.
I understand the film will be getting a remake in 2011. Whether or not it should or could be remade remains to be seen. However, if it does bring attention to the original, I give a thumbs up to the discussion at the very least. Keep the talks going, get this film in the public consciousness!!