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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:
08/31/2004
UPC:
0715515015424
Original Release:
1982
Rating:
R
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:29:00
Sales rank:
21,448

Special Features

Disc 1: New high-definition digital transfer of the unrated version, with restored image and sound and enhanced for widescreen televisions; Two audio commentaries: David Cronenberg and director of photography Mark Irwin, and actors James Woods and Deborah Harry; Camera (2000), a short film starring Videodrome's Les Carlson, written and directed by Cronenberg; English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired; Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition; Disc 2: Forging the New Flesh, a new half-hour documentary featurette by filmmaker Michael Lennick about the creation of Videodrome's video and prosthetic makeup effects; Effects Men, a new audio interview with special makeup effects creator Baker and video effects supervisor Lennick; Bootleg Video: the complete footage of Samurai Dreams and seven minutes of transmissions from "Videodrome," presented in their original, unedited form with filmmaker commentary; Fear on Film, a 26-minute roundtable discussion from 1982 between filmmakers Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis, and Mike Garris; Original theatrical trailers and promotional featurette; Stills galleries featuring hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes production photos, special effects makeup tests, and publicity photos; Plus: a 40-page booklet featuring an essay by film critic Carrie Rickey, excerpts from an unpublished book on Videodrome by film critic and publisher Tim Lucas, and a new essay by novelist and culture critic 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

Scene Index

Side #1 -- The Film
1. Opening Credits/Wake-Up Call
2. Max Renn
3. Something Tough
4. The Rena King Show
5. Transmissions From Pittsburgh
6. "Got Any Porno?"
7. Subterranean Connections
8. "It Has a Philosophy"
9. Cathode Ray Mission
10. Hallucinations Begin
11. Brian O'Blivion
12. "Careful. It Bites."
13. Perceptions of Reality
14. Barry Convex
15. Rude Awakening
16. "Savage New Times"
17. Handgun
18. Assassin
19. Reprogrammed
20. "See You in Pittsburgh"
21. Death to Videodrome
22. "Long Live the New Flesh"
23. End Credits
1. City TV
2. Samurai Dreams
3. Satellite Nerd
4. Marshall McLuhan
5. Debbie Harry
6. Soft Light
7. Porno Beginnings
8. Devil's Advocate
9. Prophets
10. First Person
11. Jack Creley
12. Evolutionary
13. Technology and the Body
14. Electrocution
15. Classic Scenario
16. The Moral Right
17. Incubating
18. Time
19. Cinematography
20. Boston Preview
21. Ready for Anything
22. Fearless Leader
23. Hope
1. A Chance
2. In the Zone
3. Toronto
4. Virtual Character
5. Violence
6. Dark Moments
7. Questions
8. Hidden Agenda
9. Felliniesque
10. The Video Flesh
11. Lips
12. Auteurs
13. A Great Day
14. Nothing Normal
15. The Method
16. The Rule Structure
17. The Slit
18. Mass Murders
19. The Bible
20. Moral Availability
21. The Mainstream
22. A Trap
23. Beyond Language

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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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