The epitome of psychological horror, Videodrome is part satire (on sensationalistic cable television of the early 1980s), part body horror (thank you, Rick Baker), part science fiction horror story (brain tumors have something to do with this), and part cyberpunk (intercepting the airwaves to show us how technology can ruin us). Most importantly, it's all good movie.
This is an absolutely bone-chilling movie. While I can barely remember the era of sensationalistic cable TV (my dad had a descrambler, if I recall correctly, so I used to watch Beavis and Butt-head and Aeon Flux late nights), I know how frightening it for somebody to go into the world and be confronted with all of these horrifying images.
As for the sexuality, I see it not as a warning against BDSM, but more or less a warning against sexualizing violence. We tend to sexualize it, unwillingly or willingly, so what ends up happening is that violence becomes erotic in a sense. Of course, when something is erotic, it sells, therefore violence sells as much as sex. You wonder why all the TV on news is dark? You wonder why people want death to Islam and not just have peaceful negotiations? Violence sells, dear boy. And at the heart of that greed sits a proto-Videodrome.
While Videodrome depicts a very surreal and extreme situation by which its entire existence is a conspiracy led by a glasses manufacturer and a satellite-TV phreak, the idea of turning TV from a cold medium (the passive medium) to a hot medium (the active medium) is needed in order to make TV important and to lessen the impact of this erotic violence. In a sense, switching TV's priorities from passiveness to activeness is taking on an entirely new flesh. It is, in a way, adopting a new religion. People want their TV to be passive - they don't want to feel guilty about the porn and violence they see on the screen. If you make TV active, you "take the fun and mystery out of the medium."
And here, David Cronenberg's saying "are fun and mystery worth the deaths of people? Are they worth heartbreak and psychological torment? To me, that's an important issue to bring up.
To think that this horror-film flop from 1983 could actually be this cerebral...