Videodrome (1983)

Videodrome (1983)

“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
  • Dystopia
  • Horror Films
  • James Woods Films
  • Mind Control and Hypnosis
  • S&M
  • Science Fiction
  • Television

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

Must See?
Yes, once, simply for its historical and cult value.


  • Historically Relevant
  • Important Director

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)


2 thoughts on “Videodrome (1983)

  1. Agreed; must-see for its cult value.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this film. A lot. When my best friend Tom and I had many years of ‘movie nights’, ‘Videodrome’ was a film we revived for quite a few screenings.

    I’m in agreement that it’s “weird, disturbing, often illogical, and entirely unique “. ~ which is why it benefits from repeat viewings. Tom and I would often quote the film – as it took on its own meaning for us. I think the more we saw it, the more sense it began to make. It’s potent stuff.

    But that’s us; other viewers would have to make that decision for themselves.

    Our face scene: Max (Woods) convinces Masha (Lynne Gorman) to help him get access to Videodrome. Her initial response: “It has something you don’t have, Max. It has a philosophy. And that’s what makes it dangerous.”

  2. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Along with eXistenZ (1999) Cronenberg’s best and a pretty influential film within the science fiction and horror genre. A real thought-provoking mindbender. To my mind, one of the all-time great science fiction films.

    Definitely a must see.

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