Monday, May 27, 2013

Film Review: Videodrome

Been a while that I've posted anything so we'll start with my most recent item.

Watched this one last night I as I had limited time from putting the kids to bed and was just running through what was available for free on demand.  At only 84 minutes and a cult classic, Videodrome fit the bill.

A classic David Cronenberg film mixing hallucinatory visuals with modern social critique, it could be remade for the Internet age and be just as applicable as it was in the early 80's.

James Woods stars as the leader of a small TV station in Toronto who is on the look out for new programming.  With the station's soft-core porn not garnering the ratings wanted, Woods' character comes across something pushing even his boundaries, snuff films he at first believes to be just well staged but in fact he comes to discover, horrifyingly real.  The more of these programs he views, the more disturbing and deep his hallucinations become.

In typical Cronenberg fashion this comes to include pulsating TV sets and cassettes, a new orifice in his gut which accepts VCR tapes, his gun, etc. and various TV based communication.  It is in this last part where the film takes a sci-fi/political bent.  The truth of the whole matter is that there is an underground group using the TV signal broadcasting the Videodrome programming to kill off those who are depraved enough to be watching such a show.  This would eliminate the "sick" and "undesirable" in America is the theory here.  Given that the company creating this solution is linked to NATO weapon production you can read some political critique here.

In the end the film suffers a bit from 80's cheesiness as do other period pieces of Cronenberg and Carpenter and other "cult" film makers in this range but it holds enough of its core value and Marshall McLuhan education to make it worth viewing--and not just for the fact that it features a topless Debby Harry!

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