“What you see on that show — it’s for real; it’s not acting.”
Soon after the producer (James Woods) of a small cable TV station learns from his assistant (Peter Dvorsky) about a pirated snuff station known as Videodrome, he meets a seductive woman (Deborah Harry) who convinces him to give in to his sado-masochistic impulses, eventually leading him down an unexpectedly gory and body-altering path.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- David Cronenberg Films
- Horror Films
- James Woods Films
- Mind Control and Hypnosis
- Science Fiction
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this body-horror sci-fi film by David Cronenberg is about the “seedy, profit-motivated owner of a cable channel” (Woods) who “pretends interest in [Videodrome] because he might be able to buy the low-cost programming for his own station” but becomes increasingly “obsessed… with the S&M content”, causing “his baser feelings [to] emerge.” As Woods’ Max Renn “slips into possible madness, his concepts of reality and illusion become blurred” — but “it’s not really his fault” given that he’s “fallen into a trap and is under someone else’s control”. Peary asserts that the film is “ambitious and makes strong points about the hypnotic power of television and its ability to turn a mind to mush”, but “it becomes so cerebral that its fascinating premise is lost in a mass of confusion in the last third of the film.” While “the special effects by Rick Baker are well done,” Peary posits (and I think I agree) that “many of the images are both stupid and repulsive” (though perhaps that’s the point?). Finally, he notes that “Woods gives a fine performance and singer Deborah Harry is truly seductive… as Woods’s masochistic lover.” I’m in alignment with Peary’s thoughts about this mind-tripping film, which is weird, disturbing, often illogical, and entirely unique (as Cronenberg’s movies tend to be). It should probably be seen once by all film fanatics given its cult following, but it’s most certainly not for all tastes.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- James Woods as Max Renn
- Deborah Harry as Nicki Brand
- Impressive special effects
Yes, once, simply for its historical and cult value.
- Historically Relevant
- Important Director
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)