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Videodrome TV James Woods, Max Renn, Deborah Harry, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley, David Tsubouchi, David Cronenberg 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.

Score: 8/10

Videodrome Helmet James Woods, Max Renn, Deborah Harry, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley, David Tsubouchi, David Cronenberg

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.

THE FLY David Cronenberg, Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz. Joy Boushel, Leslie Carlson, George Chuvalo

The Fly: when a teleporter accidentally fuses his DNA with that of a housefly, brilliant scientist Seth Brundle slowly begins a dramatic transformation into a man-fly! It’s a great testament to Cronenberg that he can have such an obvious directorial stamp on a film, yet keep it feeling like an old-fashioned monster movie; as the plot could have easily been an old Corman B-movie. The SFX department are on fire, with some of the greatest physical, in-camera effects that no amount of CGI could begin to replicate – the fingernails, puss, blood, guts, limbs, and transformations are all so visceral that it makes you feel sick in the pits of your stomach. There’s some other neat technical tricks such as the ‘how did they do that’ camera trickery for wall-crawling antics. Last, but not least, the small cast are all great, particularly Goldblum, who delivers a riotous performance as an increasingly peculiar and demented Brundlefly – but remains believable throughout. Top top it off, the telepods are a great feature for both extremes (fusion/blood/guts) and dramatics (noise, smoke, strobe), and there’s some classic ’80s programming’ going on. A bit of patience is required as the film takes its time to build toward a conclusion that – even after knowing the story – exceeds anything you could imagine. The Fly is one of those films where everything’s just right, and is easily still on of the best horror sci-fi movies around.

Score: 8.5/10

Seth Brundle Clothes Mr Bean Brundlefly Brundlebean

Seth Brundle’s nerdy clothes reminded me of someone… MR BEAN!!! (at least when it wasn’t one of the 200 shirtless scenes)