Videodrome title

Tag line : First it controls your mind. Then it destroys your body!

VideodromeMax Renn (James Woods) is the owner of a small Cable TV channel. Struggling to compete with the other channels, particularly the major networks, most of their output consists of soft porn, violent films and various extreme shows and movies that the other channels won't touch (sounds like 'Channel 5', when they first started in the UK).

When one of their tech experts comes across a scrambled satellite transmission called 'Videodrome', showing supposed Snuff movies, he becomes intrigued and attempts to track down the source, hoping to show these on his channel. But all his underground contacts warn him off and tell him not to try getting involved with these people.

But there's something so strangely compelling about the transmissions, that Max can't seem to stop watching them and becomes determined to find out who's behind them. Even if the torture scenes contained in them are genuine and not faked. But then things start to get weird, as Max begins to experience strange hallucinogenic visions, which become more frequent and more intense the more he watches the transmissions. Including a VCR slot appearing in his chest and a pistol attaching itself to his hand, on which it's never quite clear whether these are real or imagined.

Seems the Snuff videos are a front for something much more intense lurking behind the video signal, and Max may have stumbled onto some sort of conspiracy when he came across them. But with his hallucinations becoming more vivid to the point not even I could tell whether what I was watching was supposed to be real or in his head, unravelling what's really going on is no easy task.

Also starring singer Debbie Harry as a sadomasochistic therapist, the film displays many of David Cronenberg's trademarks, particularly the body horror theme started in "Rabies" and "Shivers" and takes the question of whether or not we are influenced by violence on TV up to a whole new level. Overall, this is a very weird film, but is also a very enjoyable one.

Overall marks : 6/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Singer Debbie Harry was chosen for the role of Max's girlfriend as her band Blondie were very big on both sides of the Atlantic at the time and the film makers hoped it would draw in the fans.

  • David Tsubouchi, who has a brief role in the Hotel scene as a Japanese porn dealer, went on to become a Minister in the Ontario provincial government. His political opponents tried to use his appearance in the film against him during his election campaign.

  • The film's budget was $5,952,000.

  • A Commodore 64 computer was used to create most of the effects for the theatrical trailer.

  • Some versions shown on US TV had an additional end scene prior to the closing credits, showing images of the main characters, whilst quotes from the film play in the background.

  • The film was cut for an R-rating in the US for its theatrical run. This removed the shot of a dildo in the Japanese porn film they're watching, shortened the clips of the Videodrome program in Harlan's workshop. The scene where Max is Piercing Nikki's ear was shortened as were the scene of him shooting people at the end. The unrated directors cut version has been released on disc in the US.

  • The UK theatrical version was the same as the cut US theatrical version, but the distributors cut a further 3 mins from the 1987 VHS release before submitting it to the film censors. Later VHS and DVD releases were of the slightly longer US R-rated theatrical version. The uncut directors version was finally released in the UK by Arrow films in 2015.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

 
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Notes on affiliate sites.
 

 

Other Cronenberg films.

 

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