6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Would Anyone Want to Watch a Scum Show Like Videodrome?
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...
Published on Sep 7 2004 by Ashley Allinson
3.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the Criterion DVD this August!
• Audio commentary by Cronenberg and cinematographer Mark Irwin
• Audio commentary by stars James Woods and Deborah Harry
• Cronenberg's short film Camera, created for the Toronto Film Festival in 2000 and starring VIDEODROME's Les Carlson
• A new 30-minute documentary by VIDEODROME video FX artist Michael Lennick...
Published on May 24 2004 by Marc R. Bravo
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Would Anyone Want to Watch a Scum Show Like Videodrome?,
This review is from: Videodrome (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)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 ), 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.
In a sense, Cronenberg has created his notion of Videodrome both as way of weeding out and destroying cells aroused by such activity, and as a way of gauging public sentiment toward this subject matter. The film itself was exposed to the judgmental ardor: its text encompassed, picketed by female members of parliament and removed from public screening, the subtext of subtext. Cut into three versions, the television cut is laughable; the VHS version appears as mise en scène in Atom Egoyan's Speaking Parts (1989), and the old DVD contains an original theatrical trailer that is a fitting pre-curser to this masterpiece.
The Criterion Collection's DVD has the following extra features:
-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
-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 Mick 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 English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
-Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be considered a classic,
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect,
5.0 out of 5 stars Soon, we will all have "special names",,
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. A remake should be made of this movie every twenty or so years to keep it fresh.......gosh did I just say that I am so going to hear this later on. On the other hand: there is of course Ghost in the Shell (1995) which tells a very similar story, only in reverse. A virtual entity wants to become one with the original technology, that of the human body. When you look at this in total, I think this can not be counted with the better movies made by Cronenberg, such as The Fly (1986) and the Dead Zone. "Videodrome" is one of Cronenberg's finest films. It's sick, twisted, and superb.
4.0 out of 5 stars Television is reality, and reality is less than television,
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. His prurient interest in such violent material is enhanced by his current girlfriend, Nicki Brand (Deborah Harry), who is so into S&M that she vows to audition for Videodrome herself. Before long, Max begins hallucinating, and his efforts to discover the source of Videodrome become, at the same time, a desperate attempt to maintain his sanity if not physical life. The show isn't rotting his brain, but it is physically changing it, and therein lies the unheralded danger of this example of reality TV taken to the extreme.
All of this works beautifully for the first hour, but I just feel the psychology of the story is ultimately sacrificed in the name of horror, as the special effects force something of a disconnect between the viewer and the film. At least in my case, this robbed this otherwise perversely fascinating film of much of its power.
5.0 out of 5 stars David Cronenberg Scores Again With Videodrome!,
The film is about a television station that specializes in showing softcore pornography and other disturbing types of film. Max Renn, played wonderfully by James Woods, has people go out and find new footage for the network to play. In his search, Renn comes across a video entitled Videodrome, which contains footage of a brutal torture of a few woman. The video becomes an obsession of Renn's and begins to control his life.
An incredible film, with amazing performances from Debrah Harry, singer for the band Blondie, and Woods. The film gives a surreal look at how what we see on television can control our lives. I recommend it to anyone who loves Sci-Fi or horror movies. Definately a classic.
5.0 out of 5 stars "I want to play something for you.",
This review is from: Videodrome (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)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. Always on the lookout for something tougher, he becomes excited by the pirate broadcasts of a program called Videodrome, 30 minutes of torture with no pretense to any plot. He decides to track down the makers of the show, little realizing that he is already in way over his head...
David Cronenberg is a consistently interesting filmmaker and his major themes are on display here-the question of identity and the ways, both physical and psychological, that man is transformed by his technology. "Videodrome" is prescient in the way it forecasted the ever-increasing levels of depravity and sensation that has become available in the media. The film becomes increasingly surreal and phantasmagoric as the story progresses, but stick with it and think about it afterward. All the pieces fit together.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Criterion.,
This review is from: Videodrome (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)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.
The soundtrack and the dialogue were always more disturbing to me than the imagery, which still shocks and creeps under your skin more than any CGI effect ever could. It's the organic nature of Cronenberg's style that sets him apart from everyone, period.
It's also his most prophetic work, a warning for how television can and has warped our sense of reality.
"The battle for the mind of North America will be fought in the video arena, the Videodrome."
5.0 out of 5 stars videodrome,
This review is from: Videodrome (VHS Tape)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 slick and full of caustic innuendo. Father Brian O'Blivion is the funniest CEO since Bainbridge Waters in Champange for Caesar.
My favorite line is when Barry Convex asks Max "Why would anyone ever watch a show like Videodrome?' and Max wincingly replies "Business reasons." and Barry says "Sure, sure." I love that "Sure, sure." Icky special effects, S&M sequences and a need to read between the lines makes this a hard ride to take but if you have the stomach and curiousity to make this ride you will be rewarded with one of the hundred greatest movies ever made and one that gets better and better with repeated viewings.
Hail to the New Flesh.
5.0 out of 5 stars Prophet of the modern age . . .,
Cronenberg is bloody brilliant. First time I sat at watched this film near the end of the 80s it took me a few weeks to stop thinking about it. Watching it again from the mid 90s onward, it has lost none of it's impact. It has, in fact, gained momemntum in the twenty-first century.
LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH
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Videodrome (The Criterion Collection) by David Cronenberg (DVD - 2004)
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