Cert: 18 Runtime: 89 mins Director: David Cronenberg Cast: James Woods, Deborah Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky, Lee Carlson and Jack Creley
Long live the new flesh
Videodrome is one of David Cronenberg’s pinnacle pieces. Arrow Video have released a Limited Edition set of this Cronenberg classic. Not only it’s been digitally transferred and looks better than ever on Blu Ray and DVD, but you also get four of Croneberg’s earlier works and a 100 page booklet about the films. This is a pack any collector should own and I’m glad I got my copy. So what is Videodrome about? As the president of a trashy TV channel, Max Renn (James Woods) is desperate for new programming to attract viewers. When he happens upon “Videodrome,” a TV show dedicated to gratuitous torture and punishment, Max sees a potential hit and broadcasts the show on his channel. However, after his girlfriend (Deborah Harry) auditions for the show and never returns, Max investigates the truth behind Videodrome and discovers that the graphic violence may not be as fake as he thought.
The movie makes a metaphor of the influence of TV over people, and the script uses heavy symbolism in its approach. Using from mind-control to gruesome body mutations, the idea of the TV used as a weapon becomes a central part of the movie and Cronenberg handles the topic with a not so subtle approach that at times is haunting, at others disturbing, but never fails to keep the tension to the max. It is a very accomplished script that seems the incarnation of modern nightmares. Cronenberg’s vision of TV-influenced people would not be the same without the superb performance of James Woods. He makes a great job as a man who is completely self-confident until he discovers a world bigger than anything he knew before. He is entering a strange land and us, the audience, follow his steps as he gets trapped in this bizarre world of mind control and TV-based religions. This is one of Wood’s best performances indeed.Not only Woods makes a good work, Deborah Harry gives a fine performance as Renn’s object of desire, and Jack Creley is fantastic as the strange Dr. O’Blivion. Also, credit must go to the SFX team, who created some of the most frightening hallucinations in cinema history. More than 30 years after its release and many of the effects used in the movie still are as shocking as the first time.”Videodrome”, is not a simple movie, it is a masterpiece of modern cinema and a movie worthy of a look. While it probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it is a thought-provoking metaphor of the power of TV.