Director – David Cronenberg – 1983 – Canada – Cert. 18 – 87m
This review originally appeared in What’s On In London during the film’s revival at the ICA. See also my review for London Calling Internet.
In a career-defining performance from 1983, the young James Woods is Max Renn, glutted on the diet of video porn he watches as buyer for a Cable TV station. Everything he sees is “too soft”. “I’m looking for something tough,” he proclaims, “something to break through the market.”
In the station’s basement, his technician assistant Harlan (Peter Dvorsky) finds the very thing. Videodrome. Women strung up and beaten to death. No cuts. One locked off camera. Nil production values. Here, indeed, is something tough.
Welcome to a world of media personalities like Brian O’Blivion (Jack Creley), a man who no longer exists as flesh but merely as viewable video images. Like Nikki Brand (Debbie Harry), who agrees with Renn on a TV chat show slot that her red dress is a come on, later vanishing after declaring she should audition for the Videodrome show.
A world where hands mutate into guns, men literally bury their heads in eroticised television screens and one person loads a videocassette into another’s stomach to programme him.… Read the rest