Videodrome

Videodrome

4.0 14
Director: David Cronenberg

Cast: David Cronenberg, James Woods, Sonja Smits, Deborah Harry

     
 

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Hardcore pornography, sadomasochism, mind control, and living televisions all play crucial roles in Videodrome, one of director David Cronenberg's explorations of dangerous sexuality and technological obsession. The morally questionable hero of the tale is one Max Renn (James Woods), a television executive searching for an intense new program for his

Overview

Hardcore pornography, sadomasochism, mind control, and living televisions all play crucial roles in Videodrome, one of director David Cronenberg's explorations of dangerous sexuality and technological obsession. The morally questionable hero of the tale is one Max Renn (James Woods), a television executive searching for an intense new program for his sex-oriented network. He ultimately discovers an underground program called "Videodrome," which appears to broadcast pornographic snuff films of actual murders. Horrified but perversely intrigued, Renn sets out to find the truth behind the program. During his search, he meets alluring femme fatale Nicki (Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry), technology cult leader Bianca O'Blivion, and other mysterious figures. Things become even more disturbing for Renn as his addiction grows, and the program begins to infect the outside world -- or perhaps merely destroy own his sanity. Cronenberg mingles his cerebral concerns about the nature of reality in the video age with enough visceral gore (courtesy of Rick Baker) to satisfy the film's intended horror audience.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Rachel Saltz
Before virtual reality and The Matrix there was Videodrome, the 1982 film that catapulted director David Cronenberg's status from interesting cult icon to seriously heady filmmaker. Visionary, apocalyptic and prescient, Videodrome is a Chinese box of a story replete with Cronenberg's signature creepy eroticism and various fascinations with technology, violence, and bodily orifices. James Woods stars as Max Renn, a sleazy cable exec who searches for programming beyond his station's usual soft-core porn and stumbles upon Videodrome -- a televised chamber of tortuous Grand Guignol horrors. Rocking Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry plays Max's girlfriend, Nicky Brand, who pulls him deeper into Videodrome's orbit. Cronenberg, in total control of his often tricky material, masterfully manipulates the film, creating a dread-soaked criticism of media, voyeurism, and psychological horrors that would give Alfred Hitchcock nightmares. Woods' bravura performance anchors the film: His Max is a dead-on nightmare hipster whose travels through the blandly corrupt urban landscape are frighteningly real.
All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
Well before he adapted William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch, David Cronenberg's debt to the beat writer was laid bare with Videodrome, a phantasmagoric journey through fractured psyches and cathode tubes. The film features several of Burroughs's trademarks, including a stream-of-consciousness narrative, a paranoid, conspiratorial tone, and overriding themes of desire and addiction. At the same time, this movie is perhaps the best articulated vision of Cronenberg's ongoing exploration of the edges of technology and human physiology. Detailing the transformation of a sleazy television producer into literal media terrorist, Cronenberg presents a world of pulsating videotapes, televisions that undulate like flesh, and large, vagina-like abdomen slashes that function as a biomechanic VCR. Though the technology, special-effects, and fashion sensibilities all seem dated, Cronenberg's basic questioning of the media through Max Renn's particular psychological affliction seems more relevant today than it did when his film was first released. As technology becomes more advanced, Cronenberg explores not only whether it will affect our sense of reality but also our evolution as a species. His Videodrome is a postmodern masterpiece that unsettles, shocks, and provokes.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/07/2010
UPC:
0715515062510
Original Release:
1982
Rating:
R
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:29:00
Sales rank:
7,577

Special Features

Two audio commentaries, one featuring Cronenberg and Irwin, the other actors James Woods and Deborah Harry; Camera (2000), a short film by Cronenberg; Forging the new flesh, a half-hour documentary by filmmaker Michael Lennick about videodrome's video and prosthetic makeup effects; Effects men, an audio interview with makeup effects creator Rick Baker and video effects supervisor Lennick; Bootleg video, the complete footage of Samurai Dreams and seven minutes of other transmissions from videodrone, presented in their original, unedited form, with filmmaker commentary; Fear on film, a roundtable discussion from 1982 with Cronenberg and filmmakers John Carpenter, John Landis, and Mick Garris; Original theatrical trailers and promotional featurette; Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos and posters; Plus: a booklet featuring essays by writers Carrie Rickey, Tim Lucas, and Gary Indiana

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Woods Max Renn
Sonja Smits Bianca O'Blivion
Deborah Harry Nicki Brand
Peter Dvorsky Harlan
Les Carlson Barry Convex
Jack Creley Prof. Brian O'Blivion
Lynne Gorman Marsha
Julie Khaner Briley
Lally Cadeau Rena King
Sam Malkin Bum
David Bolt Rafe
Kay Hawtry Matron
Rainer Schwartz Moses
Henry Gomez Brolley
Harvey Chao Japanese Salesman
Bob Church Newscaster
Jayne Eastwood Caller

Technical Credits
David Cronenberg Director,Screenwriter
Richard Baker Makeup Special Effects
Frank Carere Special Effects
Pierre David Executive Producer
Claude Heroux Producer
Mark Irwin Cinematographer
Lawrence Nesis Associate Producer
Ronald Sanders Editor
Howard Shore Score Composer
Victor Solnicki Executive Producer
Carol Spier Production Designer
Delphine White Costumes/Costume Designer

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Videodrome 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As cliche as this headline is for any Cronenberg familiar, it's still a very apt title for any sort of synopsis of the film. Videodrome is Cronenberg's defining statement on a variety of subjects he's covered throughout his career, including effects of mass media, the relation of violence and sexuality, and ultimately, the actual physical evolution of the body due to these and other factors into a "new flesh". Though his mid to late 80's films (and especially his most recent films) deals with these ideas in more subtle ways, nothing quite compares to these 70's and 80's experiments in body-horror for philosophy wrapped in viscerality, of which I consider Videodrome to be the crown jewel. Very highly recommended.
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