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Videodrome (Widescreen)

James Woods , Deborah Harry , David Cronenberg    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Videodrome (Widescreen) + Naked Lunch + The Fly [2-Disc Edition] (1986) (Bilingual)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 33.66

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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be considered a classic Nov. 1 2000
If any film deserves to be called a modern classic, it is definitely Videodrome. This is an incredibly disturbing and dark tale about sex & violence on television. James Woods stars as Max Renn, head of the upstart cable station Civic TV, whose main draw is outrageous softcore pornography and extremely graffic violence. Renn intercepts a show called Videodrome which is nothing but hardcore violence for a half hour and becomes instantly mesmerized by its content. He soon discovers things about the show that should not be told or discussed to anyone until they see the film for themselves. The cast is brilliant, and Cronerberg seems to get his normal sleepy performances from everyone involved, including Woods and Deborah Harry, lead singer of 80's band Blondie. The only thing that will deter people from seeing this film is the amount of highly disturbing imagery and disgusting gore effects by makeup whiz Rick Baker. This is an abosolutely outstanding film that touches on a subject that is still hush hush in today's soceity. This is not a movie only for film buffs. It is a movie for everyone.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Because it's on and is certainly more entertaining than The Beachcombers, Magnum P.E.I. or any other Canadian television programming circa 1982. Riding on the wave of his previous box-office success, Videodrome (1982) marks the first time that Cronenberg creates a story revolving around a single character. Like Donleavy's Singular Man (1964), introduction to conflict appears in the first person, point of view narrative acting as the catalyst within which Max Renn (James Woods) is to exist. There is a distinct break between what is supposed to be reality and that of hallucination (revisited later in Naked Lunch [1991]), the point to which is open for debate, a trajectory to which the film never resurfaces from. Certainly, the audience sees what Woods perceives, first person.
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.
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By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
They say you either love or hate this rather bizarre offering from 1983, but I found myself somewhat indifferent as Videodrome approached its conclusion. To my mind, the final third of the story is ultimately too haphazard, esoteric, and too consciously horror-driven to clearly express the themes worked into the heart of the film. It's easy to read a lot into this film, but that's as much of a credit to the viewer as it is to the filmmakers.

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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beware reality T.V! March 26 2004
By R Jess
Format:VHS Tape
'Videodrome' was a movie way ahead of its time. It flopped on its release in 1982, but the the themes it deals with are more pertinent now than they've ever been.
James Woods plays David Cronenberg's alter-ego Max Renn, a character who eventually becomes more and more in thrall to the sinister messages that come from his T.V. and induce LSD-like hallucinations. A Marshall McLuhan type character by the name of Brian O'Blivion spouts off his media theory from a homeless shelter called 'The Cathode-Ray Mission' (emission). His belief is that television is reality and real communication is impossible which is why he favours appearing on television using the monologue as that is the only way people will listen to him. His office in the mission however is filled with spiritual statues and symbols that somehow seem to reflect a longing to escape from the cathode ray's grip.
As always in Cronenberg's pictures, the body and the flesh start to rebel against the brain. Cronenberg has always been fascinated by the body's ability to slip away from the conscious control of the mind and revolt like colonies taking over their mother country. In 'Videodrome' Max's mind falls into greater and greater subservience to his physical drives until his flesh becomes one with the T.V. technology, creating 'the new flesh'.
Some minor asides in the film proved to be quite prophetic for the future to come. Max states how the production costs for most of his shows are non-existant, a foretaste of the reality shows that now prevade our screens. There's even a hint of virtual reality when Max tries on his hallucinagenic helmet.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
One of David Cronenberg's early greats. Set in Toronto Canada things that mind can come up with may be startling.
Published 4 months ago by David Snow
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Soon, we will all have "special names",
The idea of people being brainwashed into drones just by watching television is a very serious and scary idea. Mostly because I'm in front of it a lot. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2007 by Jenny J.J.I.
5.0 out of 5 stars David Cronenberg Scores Again With Videodrome!
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 more
Published on July 14 2004 by B-R-Mike M.
5.0 out of 5 stars "I want to play something for you."
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 more
Published on June 22 2004 by David Bonesteel
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Criterion.
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 more
Published on June 15 2004 by acumen pro
5.0 out of 5 stars videodrome
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 more
Published on June 14 2004 by bob lundy
5.0 out of 5 stars Prophet of the modern age . . .
It is impossible to watch this film and walk away the same. One only has to transpose the mediums used circa 1983 (Television names, cathode ray) with their modern counterparts... Read more
Published on May 28 2004 by Scott Crockford
3.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the Criterion DVD this August!
From Fangoria:
• Audio commentary by Cronenberg and cinematographer Mark Irwin
• Audio commentary by stars James Woods and Deborah Harry
•... Read more
Published on May 23 2004 by Marc R. Bravo
3.0 out of 5 stars The shape of things to come
Impossible to forget, yet deeply flawed as a cohesive film (unlike "Clockwork Orange"), Videodrome stays with us and may someday assume a kind of "classic"... Read more
Published on April 16 2004 by Kevin Freeman
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