So Videodrome along with Christine won the polls put to the good people of Twitter, I was happy with the choices one film Christine which I had not seen for about 20 years and which I will review tomorrow. The second winner was Videodrome a film I have never seen, I’ve heard a lot of good things about this so was keen to sit down and get it watched.
Director – David Cronenberg
Writer – David Cronenberg
Stars – James Woods, Debbie Harry, Peter Dvorsky, Les Carlson, Jack Creley and Sonja Smits
Run Time – 89 minutes
Budget – $5.9 million estimated
Tagline – First it controls your mind, then it destroys your body
Trivia – Three different endings were filmed. The ending used in the film was James Woods‘s idea.
Trivia – The majority of the trailer was created with a Commodore 64 computer.
Trivia – Among the scenes that were scripted but deleted was one where Max Renn’s TV rises up out of his bathtub, while showing an image. The crew had researched how to do this – there had been talk of having the actor IN the tub – and had come up with several solutions. One involved filling the tub with a clear fluid that was non conductive, but that would have cost $25 a quart. The crew eventually decided to take a real TV and simply cover its insides with layers of waterproofing insulation. It worked – they dunked the TV into a swimming pool and found, to their astonishment, that TVs float due to the ultra-high vacuum inside the picture tube. The scene was axed just before it was to be filmed.
James Woods plays Max Renn a sleazy TV executive that runs a channel in Toronto, the channel mainly shows soft porn, although Max is proud of what his channel does he feels it needs something more, something people haven’t seen, something that will shock them. He called down to a room where Harlan runs a satellite system allowing him to view pirate TV from all around the world.
It’s here that he has found a seemingly story-less show where a woman is tortured, there’s no character, no story, no nothing just violence. This appeals to Max in his quest to bring in a new audience with shocking new material. He goes to appear on a chat show where he defends his use of soft-core porn and it’s also where he meets the amazing Nikki Brand played by the amazing Debbie Harry.
Nikki is into all kinds of pain during sex and she wants to go onto the torture show billed as Videodrome as the pain turns her on, she claims she’s build for this type of show. This is where things get weird Nikki disappears and Max starts having hallucinations after watching Videodrome. Determined to get to the bottom of things he sets out on a quest to find out more about the show.
His quest leads him to meet with Brian O’Blivion, who also appeared on the talk show earlier on. If you thought this film was weird up until now this really sets things off on the oddball track.
He finds out a lot that I can’t put here without spoilers, however it turns out this is more than a TV show and the cost of watching it is extremely high. Max descends into more hallucinations and things get really twisted all leading to a horrible ending for just about everyone, Long Live The New Flesh.
- The overall idea of a TV show that is more than what it seems is a great one but hard to explain without ruining it for people who haven’t seen, anyway it’s a very odd but entertaining concept.
- James Woods it perfectly cast for his part.
- Debbie Harry is well Debbie Harry and that is awesome, she looks amazing and like Woods seems perfectly cast for her role.
- The weirdness! There’s some trippy scenes in this film and they’re fun to watch.
- Cool ending.
- There’s a couple of decent gore scenes it in which were really well done.
- No interesting characters outside of James Woods and Debbie Harry’s.
- Pacing is off, there’s quite a few scenes that bored me.
- The torture scenes are quite tame by todays standards.
Other than that there’s not much else wrong with this film however I feel it’s really overrated. It may have been shocking in it’s day but nowadays it’s just another horror when it comes to the torture and shock elements. Sure the idea was good but for me it was missing something, I felt bored quite a few times during the film. The majority of the rating I’m giving it is for the ending along with Woods and Debbie Harry who make it more than watchable. I’m probably in the minority as I know a lot of people rate this film but it just wasn’t for me.
Overall Rating – 5/10
9 thoughts on “My Life in Horror 1983 – Videodrome”
I would like to revisit this movie since I haven’t seen it in awhile. I remember Debbie & James were pretty awesome. Good review. You made me want to take a trip back in time for this one.
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How about Scanners?
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