The most remarkable aspect of this film is that even after nearly 30 years since it was originally broadcast, Videodrome is even more relevant today than it was then. It’s scary just how visionary David Croneberg’s masterpiece of the bizarre ended up. This stunningly unique film explores the mind-bending concept that modern life and modern conveniences may have other more nefarious consequences to our vulnerable human psyches. What exactly are the impacts of watching too much television? Too much violence? Too much sex? Well, sometimes James Woods’ goes batsh*t crazy and hallucinates to a degree that only Cronenberg would even attempt to put on film.
Cronenberg said, “I tried to make a film as complex as reality is for me. I believe the film to be very ambiguous, it feeds from different energy sources and it is very complex. I wanted the film to be like that because reality is like that.” He tuned this film to exactly the right channel. Big time. It essentially redefined a genre and in doing so created one of the most warped cult films of all time. Delving into deep into philosophical questions about technology, metaphysics, and psychology isn’t your standard horror affair stuff– not by a million miles.
How many movies have quotes as thought provoking as this one?
“The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eyes therefore the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain therefore whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it; therefore television is reality.”
But fear not. You need not be a genius to appreciate and understand the film (I certainly can’t wrap my tiny brain around all of it). Connoisseurs of disturbing imagery and extreme violence will not be disappointed. On a strictly visual level this is one of the goriest films ever made. Rick Baker (Seven-time Oscar winning special effects makeup legend) does and astounding job creating some of the most memorable sequences in horror. Wood’s stomach turns into both a vagina and a VCR in absolutely astonishingly grisly moments. By the time Woods’ character swallows another man’s hand (who had put a pulsating video tape in said stomach) leaving nothing but a melted and deformed hand; you just might be mind-f*cked yourself. Violence and erotocism are a plenty as well. Woods’ girlfriend is beaten, burnt with cigarettes, and intentionally cut during kinky sex. Pain is pleasure after all, right?
Now this film is an acquired taste and is certainly not for everyone. Videodrome is like a fine whiskey that can only be fully appreciated by an experienced drunk. This is a thinking man’s (or woman’s) horror / sci-fi film. Sheeple shouldn’t bother; your brain must stay engaged and in the on position in order to properly receive the signal. Heck, Roger Ebert said this film was “one of the least entertaining films ever made.” Roger is wrong an awful lot about horror – like every single time in the recorded history of the galaxy. Ever. The amazing (Read: Must own!) Criterion edition Blu-ray and legions upon legions of fans beg to differ with the famous critic. It may be too far out there or too bizarre for some. But I think Mark Twain sums it up best, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough.”
Videodrome is one of the most truly warped, horrific and intelligent films ever made. The thing is I am not even sure it’s a work of fiction. This movie is becoming reality. Long live the new flesh!
Snore Factor: Doesn’t exist
Early Rare Trailer: