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Videodrome

tn_videodromeIt’s probly hard to imagine for people who grew up post-internet, but there was a time when you couldn’t just turn on your computer and find the weirdest, most fucked up shit imaginable just as quick as you can type www.theweirdestmostfuckedupshitimaginable.org. Back then people who had strange fetishes or possessed disturbing footage tried to hide that shit, they didn’t think they could proudly put it out there and try to make new friends with it. Finding that stuff took time, effort and connections. These days kids email each other real footage of hostages being beheaded. Back then the FACES OF DEATH guys had to fake a beheading, and even their fake version was more of a legend people heard about then something they’d actually seen. That’s when Dave Cronenberg’s VIDEODROME takes place. And it involves material way more unsettling than FACES OF DEATH.

mp_videodromeJames Woods plays Max Renn, a guy who runs Civic TV, a small Toronto cable channel that plays softcore porn at night. But he’s always looking for something with more bite for what his agent calls “the subterranean market.” One of his connections uses a satellite to intercept broadcasts from around the world and tape them for Max. They find something called “Videodrome” which Max considers to be a “show” but that seems suspiciously like home video of people being tortured by death squads maybe in some South American country somewhere or something. Of course, because it’s Cronenberg it’s gotta have some bizarre dream-like touches, so the people are being tortured in front of a wall of electrified wet clay. (Who thinks up this shit? Well, David Cronenberg.)

Of course it turns into a creepy mystery with him going to the source of Videodrome and unwrapping a conspiracy that involves a church mission for homeless people, an eyeware company, a media figure who’s actually dead but nobody knows it because he pre-taped years worth of TV appearances and monologues, brain tumors and bizarre hallucinations.

You can only imagine what it’s like if you’re familiar with other Cronenberg movies, because nobody else does shit like this to compare it to. It involves elaborate latex effects depicting an intersection between video hardware and human organs. He notices a huge opening on his chest and scratches inside it with his handgun. Somebody hands him a throbbing VHS tape that he puts in his chest and it programs him to be an assassin. His handgun and arm start to grow together like a couple of trees planted too close to each other. Next thing you know he’s running around with a roughly gun-shaped lump of flesh instead of a hand.

Debbie Harry plays his creepy new fling. He meets her on a talk show where she represents the Moral Majority and he defends his right to show smut. He asks her to dinner right there on the show and before you know it they’re involved in erotic ear-piercing. That’s a good one because there’s obviously some sexual component to piercing (otherwise why are all these people poking holes in their bathing suit areas?) so when you pull back to the more innocent ear lobe, but combine it with fucking, it seems somehow much weirder.

Cronenberg really demonastrates how much you can get out of just trying something that hasn’t been on screen before. Stop being literal and plum the nonsensical shit from your subconscious. You keep that hidden because it’s uncomfortable, so if you’re making a horror movie why not use it? Think of all the Freddy sequels with their comic-book-artist-killed-by-Super-Freddy type nightmares, and how much scarier they’d be with Cronenberg’s freaky shit instead. Makes you wish for some reason he’d been asked to do and willing to do that NIGHTMARE remake. He could’ve actually caused some sleep disorders.

At the same time I think this is Cronenberg’s strongest dose of the freaky shit that maintains a balance with normal thriller conventions. It dips further into Mindfuck Valley than SCANNERS does but not all the way like NAKED LUNCH or CRASH. To me that makes it more subversive because it has enough suspense to hook a normal viewer of Ashley Judd serial killer thrillers but still tricks them into seeing a TV screen grow nipples.

And because this is 2010, of course some motherfucker (specifically Ehren Kruger, an individual who willingly put his name on the scripts of SCREAM 3 and TRANSFORMERS 2) is trying to remake even this crazy movie. That would make it one of the very first movies about a guy with a VHS-compatible chest vagina to be repackaged for this generation. I don’t know how you do it in this day and age, but hopefully Channing Tatum or whoever stars will grow a weird new orifice that’s equipped for text messaging.

videodrome-barbieThe world has really changed since VIDEODROME came out in ’83. Back then Debbie Harry was very edgy, she’d only been in underground movies like DOWNTOWN 81 with Basquiat, and she’d just done a closed-after-one-night wrestling play with Andy Kaufman. Now she has a Barbie doll. But the themes of the movie are still relevant, they just apply to different technology. And more importantly the tone is still creepy as, uh… as a guy with a lumpy flesh gun on his hand. There is no match for Cronenberg’s filthy Canadian mind. This is not a movie about a series of murders, but its imagery is way more terrifying than any of those types of movies. You don’t even have to understand what’s going on in this one for it to give you the heebie jeebies.

I mean, seriously Cronenberg. You’re the best. And what the fuck is wrong with you? Holy jesus. I love you man, but you need help. But don’t get it. Make more movies.

thanks Cronenberg

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 at 1:38 am and is filed under Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

59 Responses to “Videodrome”

  1. Remaking this would and setting it in the modern day would present a problem far outweighing the ‘mobile phone issue’ – you know how in every film now you have to sit through an explanation of why they can’t just give the coppers a bell on their mobiles and ask for help ? Imagine how long the exlanation will be as to why a depraved TV exec hasn’t seen the kind of sick, fascinating, luduicrous shit that passes for late night entertainment these days.

    Or they could do it kind of in reverse – some wide-eyed innocents come out of the forest (or underground or wherever they have been living) and experience what we consider normal telly. It knackers their minds / bodies…cue DVDs into vaginal chest cupboards and they attempt to bring down the TV company or something.

  2. BluRayDrome doesn’t have the same ring to it

  3. VideoOnDemandDrome is even worse.

  4. youtubedrome ?

  5. NSFWdrome.

    Tagline: “What happens when the USA plugs into the USB?”

  6. I remember watching this as part of a Cronenberg mini-marathon I did years ago, back-to-back with DEAD RINGERS and THE DEAD ZONE. Good times.

    Check out the CRONENBERG ON CRONENBERG book by Faber; of all the directors in that series, he and David Lynch come across as the most normal and down-to-earth, weirdly enough.

  7. Well, for an “intellectual perv” like Cronenberg he is definitely not above doing a cameo in “Jason X” or even guest starring in a mainstream show like “Alias”.
    I also read once an interview with Anthony Hopkins, in which he mentioned that he got an offer from Cronenberg to be in one of his movies (don’t know which one), which he unfortunately had to turn down. But he said that the script that Cronenberg gave him was completely handwritten by him! And that the spelling and grammar were perfect.

  8. I forgot what I wanted to say with that. I guess the first part was about him being normal and down to earth, the second part about some of the weirder touches of him.

  9. Dvdrome. Yeah, it’s missing something.

    Interestingly, on the Criterion DVD Cronenberg states that the whole film is seen from Woods’ wholly unreliable perspective, and that all the later bio-horror moments–the grenade, the organic videotape, the kissing tv screen, the gun hand, the guy exploding during the speech–are Wood’s hallucinations after he’s driven crazy by Videodrome. He’s actually just going around shooting people and acting crazy but there’s never a scene from another character’s point of view where, for instance, Woods threatens them with his “hand-gun”, we see the gun hand, cut to the other chracter looking puzzled, cut to Woods holding a normal handgun, cut to Woods raving, cut back to the gun hand, ect. It’s similar to THE DEAD ZONE, DEAD RINGERS, M. BUTTERFLY, and NAKED LUNCH, as a story about a character who thinks they’re enlightened and know the truth, but whom most other people see as crazy.

  10. Mathias – if that tagline isn’t on a movie poster by the end of the year, I’ll metaphorically buy you a pint.

  11. DEATH TO VIDEODROME! LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!

    this is one of my favorite movies of all time, I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting criterion’s blu ray

    what I want is for Cronenberg to do a sequel himself where someone uploads videodrome to the internet, could you imagine the chaos that would ensure? the title would be simply, INTERNETDROME

    I don’t know about you guys, but in my opinion the internet is pretty much a Cronenbergian horror come to life

  12. also I laughed quite heartily at Vern’s Videodrome Ken Doll

  13. Jareth Cutestory

    June 8th, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Jam: The genius of the public personas of Cronenberg and especially Lynch is that they come across as excessively normal, normal to an extreme. It’s as if they’re inhabiting normal so thoroughly that they become a bit scary.

    In the books you mention, when given intelligent questions, they respond with great insight into their craft; they’re incredibly articulate. The books really dispel that “weird for weird’s sake” cliche that follows both film-makers around.

  14. Tango – I’ll metaphorically enjoy it.

  15. You probably all knew this already, but Max Renn and Civic TV are thinly-fictionalized versions of Toronto’s Moses Znaimer and CityTV. Znaimer, a publicity-loving iconoclast, did indeed show softcore late at night on CityTV throughout my youth (God bless him for that).

    So, American audiences should imagine Renn as, I dunno, Ted Turner maybe, to get the same roman-a-clef effect.

  16. But wouldn’t that make Debbie Harry Jane Fonda?

  17. Jareth Cutestory

    June 8th, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Andrew Miller: CityTV also had the greatest show ever, NIGHT DRIVE, where they just fixed a camera to the dash of a car and drove around the city all night. I spent much of my insomniac adolescence watching that show. They also had a talk show that was hosted by a raunchy sock puppet.

    Of course, all that wierdness was jetisoned when the station was bought out by a big media conglomerate.

  18. CC – I think what disturbed me most about VIDEODROME for years was how I for the most part, didn’t understand what the fuck was the point.

    I mean imagine you see on a TV a guy getting beaten to death in broad daylight with a baseball bat. Tragedy if the dude got his brains bashed in because he was black or queer, but really Horrifying if the assailant did it for no good reason. Just calling him a crazy guy and move on is an instant cop out of tackling this soul void.

    That’s how VIDEODROME felt to me. But I get it now (I suppose) that the movie is metaphorical, that the story is that Woods gets captured and brainwashed into an assassin, which he does and that whole LONG LIVE THE FRESH ending….basically that cabal who did this to him is getting rid of the evidence if you get my drift. Right?

    Yet VIDEODROME loses some of its sexyness because I now get it. Dammit.

    BTW, remember that FAMILY GUY episode with James Woods? “See Peter, I’m naked.”

  19. Between a good friend of mine telling me how awful EXISTENZ was and a ladyfriend whose opinions I trusted telling me that how “you probably wouldn’t like Cronenberg,” I never really gave him a shot except for his more recent Hollywood stuff. I’ll have to track this one down. It sounds pretty good.

  20. Nobody can really have a fully informed opinion on Cronenberg unless they’ve seen VIDEODROME. I think it’s the key to understanding his work, like the Rosetta Stone of the new flesh.

    By the way, EXISTENZ, while kind of okay in parts, already feels like a watered-down remake of VIDEODROME.

  21. […] MOVIES: REVIEW: Videodrome [The Life and Art of Vern] I watched this movie before. Good stuff. Good review. (tags: media video movies Videodrome DavidCronenberg OutlawVern reviews) […]

  22. Night Drive sounds like a great show. Seriously. We had here in Germany something 10 years ago called “The most beautiful railroad tracks of the world”, where a camera was attached to a train and we would see sometimes up to five hours or longer nothing else but a perfect tracking shot through a beautiful landscape.

  23. Y’know, I miss these times where TV was willing to do crazy experiments, even if it was sometimes just because they had nothing else what they could send.
    One of my favourite shows ever is maybe “2Step”, which was shown on “Viva 2”, a music channel that showed only alternative and experimental music. Especially stuff that none of the other music channels would touch, even if it would become the most sold record of the year! (Of course the channel doesn’t exist anymore.)
    And 2Step was an interesting concept that won several awards. A DJ played a liveset, while a VJ would create the weirdest visuals he could come up with.
    To honour Vern’s admiration for the Soundtrack of the “Ocean’s” series, I wanted to post here the episode with David Holmes, but unfortunately the copyright police found it and several of the 6 parts don’t have any sound. So I just post part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLLkEJkv6Lk

  24. M. Casey – Never even tried THE FLY or DEAD ZONE, maybe among his most mainstream accessible? Interesting.

    But yeah Mr. M is right, I mean VIDEODROME is to Cronenberg as ERASERHEAD is to Lynch and ON DEADLY GROUND to Seagal.

    You can’t study one’s filmography (egomania) and grasp it without tackling that title.

  25. Jareth Cutestory

    June 8th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    RRA: I agree with you about Lynch and Cronenberg, but it’s interesting how not every director – even auteurs – has that one key film. Kubrick, for example, or Wong Kar-Wai or Carpenter. They all have undeniable strong visual styles and thematic preoccupations, but their oeuvres can be opened through one of several equally valid films.

  26. Man this movie freaked me out. The first time I saw it, I felt dirty and grossed out by the whole thing. Thinking back on it, it really does work wonderfully and all the different pieces and ideas congeal together. If you watch the scene where Woods massacres his business partners, there are a couple shots where he’s clearly carrying the gun, it’s not melded into his flesh. At first, I thought this was a goof or something, but I think it actually works as Cronenberg breaking from Max Renn’s perspective to show what is actually happening outside his delusions.

  27. RRA-Do you feel Eraserhead is Lynch’s essential film? I love Lynch, and Eraserhead def has all of his themes, but I’m not sure what I’d consider his essential film: I love them all.

  28. eXistenZ (“lower case e, capital x, capital z”) is a sublime deconstruction of virtual reality unlike anything ever made in the films of cinema. For those of us who like movies where reality and pseudo-reality merge (like, say NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) eXistenZ (“lower case e, capital x, capital z”) is the tits.

    There is an arresting precision to every shot, the visual elements are tightly controlled and the very last frame of the finale loop-de-loop can only have come from the mind of a master.

    It’s still floating under the radar – as did VIDEODROME for more than a decade – but people will catch up to it in time; I think for now most viewers are stuck on comparing videogame tropes (“that’s not what games really play like” etc.) to pierce through the layers beneath. I concluded this after noticing that every time I played it at the video store where I worked, the audience, who so far manage to relate to the VR/RL dichotomy just went “W.T.F?!!!” as Jude Law ordered The Special.

    I can think of no better intro to a discussion on perception vs reality in the mediated era than that flick.

  29. I feel Lynch’s essential film is BLUE VELVET. It led to so much. TWIN PEAKS wouldn’t have happened without BV. The mystery, the small town, The psycho-sexual elements, the violence, the misogyny, the his use of sound, his fetish for wood, Kyle Maclachlan. Frank Booth is still his greatest character. RIP Dennis Hopper.

  30. Val Kilmer's Elbow

    June 8th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    eXistenZ also had the misfortune of coming out weeks after THE MATRIX and THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR, but it’s aged a hell of a lot better than those two. Maybe I’m a Luddite but I prefer good old practical organic video game pods and bone pistols.

    The twist ending is spectacular too, and makes a bold statement that’s becoming all the more depressingly prescient.

  31. I have the same opinion on eXistenZ , I consider that movie an update ( if you can use that word with Cronenberg ) on Videodrome and the concept of altered reality and perception. I really can’t think of a new way to remake that movie .Videodrome , okay , was about TV channels and tapes , but how in the hell are you gonna top the “living consoles” of eXistenZ ? If in the remake they try to make an alternative version of YouTube or some kind of new DVD format , it will be incredibly lame when compared to eXistenZ .

  32. Man , I love eXistenZ. I always loved that for humans , when they have to install a new interface they go to a mechanic like Gas , like we’re some kind of strange car or machine . The machines , “the living consoles”, instead , are processed in places that look like slaughterhouses !

    Also , there’s a sequel to Eastern Promises by Cronenberg himself?

  33. Yeah I’d also like to defend eXistenZ as worthwhile, even though RRA is somewhat right that its kinda like a lesser VIDEODROME. On the other hand, it also currently caps of his “NEw Flesh” period. Since then, his films have been more psychological dramas.

    I think eXistenZ may actually sort of be the summation of Cronenberg’s ideas on perspective, madness, identity, and transformation. Because, as CC points out, he’s touched on those themes in VIDEODROME, DEAD ZONE, M BUTTERFLY, THE FLY, NAKED LUNCH, and DEAD RINGERS before, it seems a little derivative, but in actuality its just sort of a culmination of everything he’d been trying to explore since VIDEODROME in 1983. Since then, he hasn’t necessarily needed to return to those topics in the same way, for better or worse.

    Of course, it also sadly feels a little slighter than most of his other films, perhaps due to trying to cram too much he’d already said into one final weird dream. Also it features Willem Dafoe as a character named “Gas,” so watch it already, jesus.

  34. Jareth Cutestory – Oh on contrary, Kubrick’s essential movie is 2001. Not the first classic he made, but that movie was a cultural/generational event which unlike any he had produced before. Before which he was a talented auteur but lets admit it, Stanley Kubrick became “Stanley Kubrick” after 2001 and which he had that pretentious-but-awesome brand name to live up to for the rest of his days. A clear before and after effect.

    anthony – You could argue (as someone does here) that BLUE VELVET is Lynch’s essential. But honestly I don’t think Lynch has made a movie as sublimely disturbing or Lynchian “out there” as ERASERHEAD. I like both movies, but VELVET is much more mainstream accessible while ERASERHEAD pulls off in visceral effect in capturing which few movies (if any) have ever pulled off….the human Nightmare.

    Darryll – With that argument, you could almost say the same for DUNE. That’s his only “major “Hollywood production, a specular failure which dictated the rest of his career to be independent, long gunslinger in his kitsch weirdness, to be embraced or hated. First time he worked with MacLachlan, Brad Dourif, Dean Stockwell and also producer Dino DeLaurentiis. Who of course made BLUE VELVET possible, even creating his own distribution company so BLUE VELVET could get a proper release. Which it did and scored Lynch an Oscar nod and started that hit streak with WILD AT HEART winning the Palm D’Or, TWIN PEAKS, and even the cover of TIME magazine.

    Mr. Subtlety – Actually Mr. Majestyk said that, not me. And he said it in a dissing of EXISTENZ, a movie I liked.

    EXISTENZ is a solid movie, with a good cast and indeed a good ending, all delivering at the least what any filmmaker would and should demand from their movie.

  35. I wasn’t really dissing EXISTENZ. I just didn’t think it was all that great compared to the other Cronenberg body horrors. I remember kind of liking it, though, despite the Cinemax After Dark feel it had. Maybe I should give it another chance.

  36. Mr. M – considering it was I believe a low budget movie, I gave such production value considerations a slight break.

  37. I thought eXistenZ was excellent btw

    anyway my interpretation of Videodrome has always been that “reality” is only as real as our brain’s perception of it and because Videodrome causes such strong, vivid hallucinations it essentially changes reality itself and makes them real

    in other words Spectacular Optical Corporation stumbled upon the secret of reality accidentally when all they were originally trying to do was create better night vision goggles

  38. RRA: It’s been 11 years since I’ve seen it, so maybe I’ll go easier on that “late nineties syndicated TV” sheen it had than I did at the time.

    I do remember being reminded of this movie when the iPod first came out. What a Cronenbergian word that is.

  39. LONG LIVE THE NEW iFLESH!

  40. RRA- fuck, sorry about that bud. I have no idea why I always do that. Glad you liked it too.

  41. Whoops, forgot that A). there are few glimpses of objective reality revealing Renn’s gun, ect (apparently Cronenberg did too!) and B). should have included SPIDER in that list of films whose main characters live in altered states and / or are visionary madmen.

  42. I first saw Videodrome a few years ago, when I bought it on VHS tape for a dollar at a garage sale…it made the experience of watching it so much better and creepier. In spite of the old school technology, I think everything the movie’s talking about is more applicable now then the time it was made. And, I don’t know if I can explain why, but, the idea of satellite broadcasting a hidden torture porn signal is far creepier to me than, say, an evil website or whatever the fuck they’ll try to change it to in the remake.

    I’ll also say this about Videodrome: it’s really fucking funny, and I don’t mean in an unintentional way; I mean it has a very dry, subtle sense of humor that I didn’t pick up on at first. It’s definitely a movie that gets better every time I watch it.

  43. Sorry RRA! Actually I did see his version of THE FLY. When I was about seven years old, the three heavy VCR tapes in rotation when I had my choice were SHORT CIRCUIT, PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, and THE FLY. Loved it in the late 80s, but haven’t seen it since.

    Okay, that will be my new movie goal: catch up on Cronenberg.

  44. Griff – Cronenberg talked about remaking The Fly a couple of years ago, but I’d actually rather see him do……Interdrome! And might I also recommend the potentially controversial casting of Lady GaGa.

  45. too grim and realistic, should have been done with dayglo outfits and ninja costumes.

  46. Videodrome is a PERFECT movie to remake. Because it’s about technology, which has changed enough to make a remake different enough…and it’s about depravity being transmitted through technology, which is doubly current. Out of all the remake ideas out there, this is one that could be good…with the people involved it probably won’t be, but if someone GOOD did it…

  47. I would actually let Tom Six, the guy who made THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE, do it. He has a nice dry sense of humor, a good sense of pacing and framing, a surprisingly tasteful take on gore, and obviously he likes the sick shit.

  48. Jones – Yeah that’s a big If. But otherwise yeah you’re very much right.

  49. I think a good follow-up to these trippy ass 80’s era horror movies with lots of latex effects would be From Beyond. Just saw it recently and I couldn’t help but think of Scanners and Videodrome through-out. I know Vern doesn’t like being told what to watch but it would be the perfect companion to all this Cronenburg. Might even lead into The Re-Animator series reviews.

  50. An interesting aspect of old Sci-Fi is that when it’s done well, whatever gimmicks exist in the “world of tomorrow” will incontestably appear quaint after a generation or two and reveal bare-bones what the author was going for.

    FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury is a perfect example of what I mean. In that book, most of the trappings have become silly but his depiction of the mankind’s realtionship with mass media has, with the passage of time, only gotten more actual and, from his p.o.v. more prescient. All the scenes depicting the wife and her TV are chilling, even though the technology he described is so ancient it never came to pass.

    THX 1138 is another. Those “futuristic” cars anchor and date the film firmly back to the 70’s, as do the style of the TV programs – yet what Lucas was getting at about boredom, alienation, aloness and the vacuity of popular culture is only more so. Is Doctor Phil really any less moronic than The Voice in those robotic “confessional”? Is religion bleating anything less irrelevant than Unichapel?

    I can think of few tropes good sci-fi has egregiously missed other than the rise of Islam and the sliding failure of liberalism – and that’s only because I have not read everything.

  51. CC — for some reason, SPIDER feels like less of an extension of his subjective reality theme and more a precurser to HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, even though you’re absolutely correct that the film is all about subjective reality.

    I think in part it has to do with the way its filmed — unlike the dreamlike surrealism of even things like DEAD RINGERS and M BUTTERFLY, SPIDER feels like its very firmly set in the real world, just through the eyes of a very unstable person. And unlike nearly all the other film which precede it, the break from reality is entirely a product of the person, and not drugs or virtual reality or brainwashing or something like that — just the bare essential fractured human mind trying to make sense of things.

    Meanwhile, disfigurement and transformation of the body and the solid world take a distinct backseat to the transformation of time and narrative, which is also a different direction. It obviously has a lot of the same themes, but i see it as a clear transition towards his new direction of more “realistic” psychological dramas.

  52. Sublety: Honestly, I feel like Cronenberg’s “realistic” dramas are almost more the norm and his outrageous body horror stories are almost the exceptions. Look through his filmography and the lower key “Dead Zone / Dead Ringers / Eastern Promises” stories actually dominate, all the way back to “Fast Company”, one of earliest and, I honestly think, his most underrated film.

  53. Jareth Cutestory: I do remember NIGHT DRIVE fondly. Ed the Sock, though, him (it?) I was indifferent to.

    The other CityTV thing was the show where they invited a bunch of professional dancers into the studio and you could watch them dance to the latest club hits. (What was that called?) Yes, let’s sit in front of our TVs and watch some other people have a good time.

    Huh. Maybe Cronenberg was onto something with his “Civic TV” riff…

  54. CC — I feel like both DEAD RINGERS and DEAD ZONE have a similar nightmarish surrealism to them, even though they obviously are set in reality more than, say NAKED LUNCH. DEAD RINGERS does have a few moments of body horror, but look at their creepy office and evil red scrubs. DEAD ZONE is full of paranoia and random bizarre violence, even if its not quite as stylized (then again, it also has the supernatural element). FAST COMPANY I haven’t seen, sorry — this weekend is the one. I guess what I’m trying to say is that body horror isn’t exactly the point of his pre-SPIDER period; its in there as a way he demonstrates the transformative power of altered reality. The world in all of the pre-SPIDER films feels a little more fluid and nightmarish than his more recent works. Just my interpretation, of course.

  55. I’m not sure a VIDEODROME remake will be very good — experience has taught us to be cynical about remakes, no?

    The parts in VIDEODROME which fascinates me most, though, are when the character Brian O’Blivion shows up. He’s obviously inspired by Marshall McLuhan (look it up, kids), and he doesn’t exist but almost everyone thinks he does because they can see him on TV.

    And the things he says: “Reality is less than television” — just sentences like that can stay in your mind much longer than a creepy special effect.

  56. Takashi Miike might be the only one who could do something interesting with a Videodrome remake (and, while I’m at it, I think Jane Campion could direct a pretty sweet remake of Lifeforce)

  57. Okay, just for the record, because the post above me is going to be deleted. There is a spam bot that claims to be about child care…posting a link on a VIDEODROME review.
    Child care.
    Videodrome.

  58. ExceptionalFantastic articles!

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