Videodrome (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
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Sci-fi horror filmmaker David Cronenberg's (Scanners) diabolical invader is a television show that seduces and controls its viewers. Featuring rock star Deborah Harry (in her first major film) as a kinky hostess, James Woods as a cable programmer looking for the ultimate in viewing thrills, and special make-up effects by Oscar-winner Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London, Star Wars), Videodrome is a pulsating science fiction nightmare about a world where video can control and alter human life.
Love it or loathe it, David Cronenberg's 1983 horror film Videodrome is a movie to be reckoned with. Inviting extremes of response from disdain (critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the least entertaining films ever made") to academic euphoria, it's the kind of film that is simultaneously sickening and seemingly devoid of humanity, but also blessed with provocative ideas and a compelling subtext of social commentary. Giving yet another powerful and disturbing performance, James Woods stars as the operator of a low-budget cable-TV station who accidentally intercepts a mysterious cable transmission that features the apparent torture and death of women in its programming. He traces the show to its source and discovers a mysterious plot to broadcast a subliminally influential signal into the homes of millions, masterminded by a quasi-religious character named Brian O'Blivion and his overly reverent daughter. Meanwhile Woods is falling under the spell, becoming a victim of video, and losing his grip--both physically and psychologically--on the distinction between reality and television. A potent treatise on the effects of total immersion into our mass-media culture, Videodrome is also (to the delight of Cronenberg's loyal fans) a showcase for obsessions manifested in the tangible world of the flesh. It's a hallucinogenic world in which a television set seems to breath with a life of its own, and where the body itself can become a VCR repository for disturbing imagery. Featuring bizarre makeup effects by Rick Baker and a daring performance by Deborah Harry (of Blondie fame) as Wood's sadomasochistic girlfriend, Videodrome is pure Cronenberg--unsettling, intelligent, and decidedly not for every taste. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
Establishing Max Renn as head of Channel 83, the opportunist runs a Toronto-based television station geared at projecting the sensational. After picking up a renegade channel from the otherness of the third world, Max becomes the product of McLuhanesque experimentation, pulses from television signals controlling his thought processes and subsequent actions. The character of Max Renn, it is said, was modeled on Moses Znaimer, head of CITY TV, Toronto's equivalent to Channel 83: Brian Oblivion's monologues a la Speakers Corner.
Our hero's artillery consists of a phallic-like extension housed in a vaginal opening. Nikki Brand (Deborah Harry) represents the desirable introduction to a product that he himself markets, perhaps an obviation that until this point was unattainable? Max's transgressive tendencies are projected through the videodrome, liberating him from the stigmatic purveyor of physical explicitness.Read more ›
After watching this I thought that this was a very Cronenberg film. The ever-returning theme of humans integrating with machinery is very much presented here by James Woods' character blending in with his hallucinations and becoming the new technology everybody must be afraid of. The gun mutating with his arm is the obvious example of this. This is all done with a lot of gore and slime, and this is regrettably what the movie's undoing is.
The acting is very good; James Woods delivers one of his best performances ever. I can not really think of a much better performance from him (maybe Hades in Hercules). Deborah Harry was far better then I expected her to be, her performance gave a very erotic feel to the first two acts, but her character regrettably got lost in the last part. The rest of the cast was fairly unknown to me, but they delivered a good enough effort considering the material they were presenting.
In the third act Cronenberg has to wrap this intriguing premise up in a satisfying way and resorts into gore and violence (expertly executed by Rick Baker) and ultimately fails in conveying his message clearly to the audience. He should have kept the gore in the background and the characters in the foreground. The double ending was well thought of by the way.
The next thing I was worried about is the dating of the movie. The subject of videotaping and watching TV seems to feel less important now in these days of the information age. Computers have taken over the supremacy from the TV when it comes to information-distribution. The internet is omnipresent.Read more ›
Still, Videodrome is certainly a fascinating, unique film that compels the viewer to contrast the interplay between video and real life in our increasingly technological age. By 1983, most people were already seeing life through a television screen – TV defined the news, fashion, the latest fads, etc. In the movie, TV plays as integral a part as food and comfort in the rehabilitation of the homeless taken in at the Cathode Ray Mission run by Dr. O'Blivion (Jack Creley). Rather than paint the television as a soul-draining maker of brain-dead zombies, Videodrome forges its way down an even more frightening path, where television is used as a potential weapon on the masses.
James Woods plays Max Renn, a rather sleazy cable operator who depends on shocking television shows to keep his little station up and running. He discovers many of his shows through satellite piracy, and that is just how Videodrome first comes to his attention. He is fascinated with the show, which features nothing but torture and abuse of individuals, especially women, with no sign of a plot anywhere behind it. It's just the kind of shocking new thing he's after, and so he begins searching for its source.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
If you love this film then this is the perfect copy that you NEED to buy. Every special feature makes the mouth water and gets you more excited to watch the movie over and over!Published 10 months ago by Sean Besner
One of David Cronenberg's early greats. Set in Toronto Canada things that mind can come up with may be startling.Published 21 months ago by David Snow
Shipping was fast, packaging was great, not much else to say, a good transaction all around. Thanks!Published on Aug. 20 2009 by Kitmouse Nadorian
David Cronenberg is one of the greatest horror film directors to come on the scene. His stylish mix of science fiction and horror gives us surreal films easily compared to... Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by B-R-Mike M.
Max Renn (James Woods) is the CEO of a sleazy little cable channel that is eking out its niche in the market by offering violence and soft-core pornography. Read morePublished on June 22 2004 by David Bonesteel
This film is finally getting the treatment it deserves, a double-disc Criterion edition. It will be re-discovered and newly discovered by Cronenberg & Criterion fans alike. Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by acumen pro
Sardonic, visionary tale of a over stimulated society being transformed by its appetite. The visions are erotic, hallucinagenic and nightmarishly violent while the dialogue is... Read morePublished on June 14 2004 by bob lundy
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