Videodrome (1983)

DVD Cover (Criterion Collection)
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Connections: Videodrome

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James Woods
James Woods
Sonja Smits
Sonja Smits
Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry
Peter Dvorsky
Peter Dvorsky
Leslie Carlson
Leslie Carlson
Review by Christopher
Added: January 18, 2005
Max Renn (James Woods) owns a local TV station called Channel 38. The station airs every sort of pornography. He's asked to come on a television talk show to discuss his station with two other folks. Nicki Brand (Deborah Harry) and Brian O'Blivion (Jack Creley). Renn pesters Brand through out the entire show. They end up getting together a few nights after the show. As Brand flips through his video collection, she asks if he has any pornography. She comes across a video tape labeled Videodrome. I pirated tape from an unscrambled satellite broadcast in Pittsburgh he got from one of his fellow co-workers, Harlan (Peter Dvorsky). The video contains pure torture and mutilation, basically a snuff film, but fake. Not too many nights after watching Videodrome for the first time, Brand informs Renn that she is making a trip to Pittsburg and is going to audition for the show.

Hallucinations start to become a common thing with Renn after Brand leaves for Pittsburgh. Though he thinks nothing of them as he tries to get ahold of someone that is involved with Videodrome. Brian O'Blivion is discovered as the creator. When he pays him a visit, he's greeted by his daughter, Bianca O'Blivion (Sonja Smits). When Renn tries to see her father, she tells him that she is in charge. When he mentions Videodrome, she acts as if she never heard of it. Later that evening, he receives a tape from Brian O'Blivion. He begins to tell him about the symptoms Videodrome has and how its signals cause brain tumors. As Brian continues on, he starts to get trapped by one of the masked persons that inflict the pain in Videodrome. He's then choked to death and the mask is removed.

Brand seems to be the murderer in the tape. Just as he thinks he has everything figured out, Brand starts coming out of the TV as Renn begins to dig his face into the screen. He returns to Bianca the next morning to find out more on Videodrome. She begins to explain as he demands to see her father. Her father ends up being a bunch of neatly stacked video tapes. He's been dead for the last eight months due to someone killing him over Videodrome. The man he was talking to on the talk show at the beginning of the film was a pre-recorded video. He made tons of them before he died. Bianca is trying to keep him alive as best as possible. She hands him some more tapes to watch and sends him on his way.

While watching the videos, a hole begins to open in his stomach. While holding a gun, he shoves it in his gut, as he felt like he would be needing it in the near future. He received a phone call shortly after from a man by the name of Barry Convex. The owner of a glasses store and Videodrome. Convex brought Renn to his store so he could try out an invention he created that can record hallucinations. Renn willingly gives it a try and begins to see Brand walking around him. They find themselves in the same room as the Videodrome takes place in. After handing him a whip, she turns into a pulsating TV. After hitting her repeatedly with the whip, he ends in bed back at his home. Though he woke up next to a corpse that was a friend of his.

Thinking the hallucination was over, he called Harlan and had him come over to take pictures of the dead body. There was nothing there when he arrived. The plan was now to meet each other at Harlan's studio so he could see if he was on Videodrome last night. Thinking maybe what Convex recorded was aired. At the studio he finds both Harlan and Convex awaiting his arrival. Seems as if there was no broadcast of Videdrome at all. Harlan had been showing him pre-recorded tapes and saying they were aired. Renn is now stuff with a video taped in his gut and starts to be programmed by Convex. He starts telling him to kill certain people so he can get Channel 38 and begin airing Videodrome to the public. This Convex's plans fail when he tries to get Renn to kill Bianca as she was already expecting him.

One hell of a film for its mixed assortment of genre's. Every effect was done extremely great. Whenever a TV would start to pulsate, have something coming out of the screen, or have someone going into the screen, it was as if such madness could actually occur. When Renn finally took the gun out of his stomach, it started melding to his hand. The hammer on the gun and his fingernails turned into tubes that started running through his hand and into his arm. Through out the film it continued to melt with him more and grow bigger. Renn's stomach that kept opening was also quite the sight. Most of the time you can see how the effect is pulled off easily. They managed to hide this one almost perfectly.

Not too many killings until the end, which alone were well worth the wait. I won't give away the people that get murdered, but there's a television that explodes guts. Renn's stomach gnaws the flesh off of someone's arm, down to the bone. One fellow gets shot a few times, then his skin starts peeling away and his insides begin to squirm. There's a few more graphic ones as well. The movie as a whole was excellent. Original story line, superb characters that were experienced in acting, mind boggling special effects, fast paced, and everything else I forgot to mention was great. There's even a breast scene with Deborah Harry, along with another broad in a separate scene. A definite classic, this is.

Final Conclusion: 10/10
Bluesummers #1: Bluesummers - added 04/12/2005, 04:05 AM
Okay...do you need porn, violence, and a message? See this flick. I just managed to track down the special edition DVD, and lemme tell you, unrated this movie is the best. Okay, not the best, but damn near! You've got your Cronenberg fascination with the concept of "flesh." And hey, can't blame the man. Flesh is cool. Especially when The woman from Blondie is shoving a cigarette into her breast (Remember when women with meat on their bones were hot? I miss that). Then there's the effects...Rick Baker is always the shit when it comes to such, and the pulsating sets and ...vagina VCR, for lack of a better term, are among the greats. Add to that a guy and a girl with the name "O'Blivion" and you have yourself one of the best movies made in the last fifty years, if not ever.
Ginose #2: Ginose - added 05/09/2007, 07:14 PM
"Videodrome"... Cronenberg's masterpeice... followed closely by "Scanners" and then "eXistenZ"... aside from the message provided in this film you get great performances by all actors involved... one of the most well-thought-out plots in flim history and enough sex and gore to keep any sort of depraved horror fan happy... there is no REAL incoherence in this film no matter how hard you look for it... it's all a matter of how YOU interpret the movie... not to mention I absolutely fucking love the final scene... wow... heh... Long live the new flesh... 10/10
Chad #3: Chad - added 10/06/2008, 07:18 AM
I'm not a huge fan of David Cronenberg, but I have to admit, this one was damned good. 9/10.
johannesfaust #4: johannesfaust - added 02/15/2010, 10:39 AM
big fan of cronenberg...sick movie 10/10
Lucid Dreams #5: Lucid Dreams - added 02/15/2010, 06:47 PM
A friends keeps telling me to borrow this from him, so I might do that.
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