The thematic of this post-modern masterpiece is once again the classic Cronenberg obsession with the ways technology completely transforms the human body and soul (and vice versa). Do not mind the cheesy trailer (80s) and don't miss the opportunity to enter the Cronenberg universe in it's most complete form. Long live the new flesh!
The film features scenes of extreme visual hallucinations caused by a fictitious video cassette program called Videodrome.
Basically the main character Max Renn (James Woods) is the CEO of a small Toronto television station that specialises in broadcasting sensationalist/soft porn/horror output.
Renn comes across a new show idea called Videodrome based on illegally viewed output from a supposedly foreign country but is eventually revealed to be orifinating from Pittsburgh.
Viewing the sadistic Videodrome program causes a cycle of hallucinations and brain injury.
Renn succombs to these. In order to escape the 'spell' of Videodrome he must turn into an assassin. Killing his colleagues and the people behind Videodrome. (Are you keeping up?)
The film features some awesome special effects from make up specialist Rick Baker (Star Wars Episode IV and Planet of the Apes).
If the Conservative Canadians were shicked by Cronenburgs debut feature in 1975 then this must quite literally blow their torsos open!
In the end I suppose the message is good. While it may seem innocent enough to watch a video, when we're exposed to images of violence -- whether they be real or fake-- there is a profound effect on us. Things that should horrify become normalized, and it can blunt our sense of empathy in our day to day lives. In the end of the movie, we can't leave Videodrome either.
Max Renn is the president of a controversial TV station that specializes in shocking imagery (from pornography to extreme violence). Max wants to find something new that would push boundaries in order to provide a new experience to his viewers, and in his searching he finds his perfect program called "Videodrome", but this program is more than meets the eye.
David Cronenberg is undeniably the ultimate master of the body horror subgenre, and an extremely talented and visionary director, so it is a challenging task to decide what is his greatest film and I would say that title could arguably go to "Videodrome". "Videodrome" counts with Cronenberg´s stylistic and heavily thematic directing, a extremely peculiar and interesting story, solid acting, unforgettable/shocking surreal and gruesome visuals that have aged well, it has some doses of campy comedy (I don't know if that was intentional), themes that are still relevant and are executed marvelously thanks to the visual style that Cronenberg is known for, characters that are disgusting but extremely interesting, dialog that's extremely peculiar but it works perfectly with the dark environment, heavy use of symbolism, and a creepy and disturbing atmosphere that will alienate some people but that's the objective of horror (to make you uncomfortable). My big issue with this peculiar body horror film is the last 13 minutes. Up until that point the film was this psychological body horror film that had symbolism and well executed themes but then it mixes reality with the main characters psychology thus becoming this unnecessarily violent resolution that takes you out of the experience.
"Videodrome" is a disturbing and smart horror film that has its doses of campiness, but it is unforgettable, deep, and arguably Cronenberg´s masterpiece. If you enjoy horror film that aren't mindless or well made dark satires, this is a must see for you; but if you are into general slasher/gore fest films, you should avoid this one as you will most likely find it boring.