Videodrome: a sleazy horror TV exec is searching for new and extreme content when he stumbles across ‘Videodrome’, a pirate broadcast full of violence and torture. There’s only one thing better than a gory picture, and that’s a gory picture that has something to say, and better still when over 30 years later it’s more relevant than ever. James Woods is great as Max Renn; a character so jaded that he sees a snuff film and immediately falls in love with the plot and cheap production values. On both layers (the film’s plot and the movie itself) sex and violence no longer cut it as ‘extreme’, and both Renn and Cronenberg are pressing hard against the boundaries of sexual violence, perversions, pain for pleasure… Not content with just being ‘extreme’, Videodrome stands out as being unsettling in a number of ways; it intentionally blurs the boundaries between reality and off-kilter hallucinations; and contains stomach turning physical effects like the ‘gun hand’ – shucks, even seeing a living, moving, human-like TV set is disturbing. It’s been at least ten years since I previously watched Vireodrome and even though the sensational imagery and ideas have stuck with me for the entire time, they’re so twisted, unique, and eerily prophetic that they don’t lose any of their impact on subsequent viewings. A brilliant and intelligent horror director, grotesque physical effects sequences, and though-provoking ideas make Videodrome a timeless horror classic.
Arrow Films have just released the comprehensive 4-disc Blu Ray & DVD box-set of Videodrome, which includes 4 of Cronenberg‘s earlier movies and a shitload of interesting & rare behind-the-scenes footage and extras from UK and US TV archives featuring the likes of John Landis, John Carpenter, George Romero. More info here.