Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Videodrome (1983)


Horror | Sci-Fi


David Cronenberg




James Woods, Deborah Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky, Lynne Gorman, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley, Reiner Schwarz, David Tsubouchi


Sleazy lowlife cable TV operation Max Renn (James Woods) discovers a snuff broadcast called "Videodrome". Fascinated by the sick and twisted program, Renn searches to discover where the show is coming from and who is behind it. His investigation turns up some strange and terrifying information.


1980s. The cinematic audience has already watched with enthusiasm the classics of science fiction - "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Alien", and "Star Wars" -, all different yet similar films. Somebody had to come up with something different, something revolutionary; that's when David Cronenberg stepped in and the shocked the audience with "Videodrome", a disturbing, bizarre, twisted and mind-bending film.

The plot is confusing, contradictory and quite absurd, the film lacks any good dialogue and character development, the storytelling doesn't fully engage and the metaphors contained in the film sometimes distract from the actual film, yet this is a great film.

The reason of that must be sought in its philosophy. "Videodrome" is not about mind-controlling cable shows - that would be the most stupid idea ever, right? -, but about our unhealthy relationship with media.

The world of media, from which we are dominated today even more than we were in 1983, is like a cancer devouring us from the outside; it increasingly erodes our relationship with reality and forces us to live, experience human relationships virtually. This television takes hold of our minds, and it deprives us of the opportunity and ability to be in control of ourselves.

Quite prophetic, isn't it? Anyway, this reflection - quite banal nowadays - is shown by the Canadian director through sick and filthy images, a good use of gory special effects, and moments of beautiful photography, thanks to which "Videodrome" remains imprinted in the viewer's mind.

James Woods gives an intense performance as the cable TV pornographer who stumbles upon Videodrome. He is totally convincing, but the lack of character development keeps you from feeling him. Deborah Harry is excellent as Woods sadomasochist girlfriend, and she has a great (sexual) chemistry with Woods.

"Television is reality, and reality is less than television." - Brian O'Blivion


  1. I find Videodrome to not only be prophetic, but even more relevant now than it was in 1983. The proliferation and success of reality TV renders it as such. It's become one of my faves.

  2. Cronenberg is just a little wacky. I have not seen this film but I saw his film "Crash" which is just nuts. If it is like that film, I think I may stay away:) I get what he is trying often to convey but he is often not my cup of tea