This movie’s director, David Cronenberg, is one of the most creative directors in Hollywood. The amount of disturbing imagery, sexuality, and violence in each of his movies is just astounding. He creates complex narratives that are a challenge to unravel but if you are able to sit through and understand the movie then you are rewarded with a fantastic experience.
Videodrome tells the story of Max Renn, the scum bag CEO of a small time cable television station. He is introduced to a pirated broadcast of a show called Videodrome. From that point on his life becomes filled with hallucinations and he is stuck in the middle of a battle between two ideologies. His journey also blurs the lines between hallucination and reality and most of the time he is barely able to tell the difference between the two.
…To the entire movie. If there was a weakness in this movie then I was certainly unable to find it. Cronenberg created the best movie of his career when he came up with this story. Each aspect of the movie is as close to perfection as you can get, everything from the acting to the special effects are just phenomenal.
The twisted imagery is really the main attraction of the movie. Cronenberg has the unusual ability of bringing things to the screen that appear to be living, breathing nightmares and the images are horrifically beautiful. It takes a truly disturbed mind to come up with the idea of having a skin covered television with bulging veins that moans in pleasure when whipped. That is just one of the many disturbing images that is shown throughout the movie. It was also interesting to find out that Cronenberg gets a lot of these images from his own nightmares because he only writes at night.
An early version of RoboCop.
James Woods also deserves a lot of the credit for the success of this movie. This movie would have buckled if there was a different leading man in the role of Max Renn. Woods plays the character to perfection mainly because Woods comes off as a complete scumbag in most of his roles and he is able to make you feel for the character and be repulsed by him at the same time. Renn is a completely selfish character and throughout the entire movie he is not really trying to help anyone but himself but you still feel bad for him because of this horrific situation that he is in.
I think it was something he ate.
Rick Baker, the special effects supervisor of the movie, is the real star of the movie. Baker and his team bring life to the images that flowed from Cronenberg’s mind. Baker is one of the most accomplished special effects supervisors in movie history and has created many memorable scenes, but my personal favorite from this movie is the “cancer gun” sequence. The scene is so uniquely grotesque and unlike anything I had ever seen before. It is one of the only scenes that I have ever seen that really shocked me. The detail and quality of the effects in the movie are great and you can tell that he and his team had to work extremely hard to accomplish putting all of the effects together the way that they were meant to be.
This is essential viewing for any self respecting horror fan. Rick Baker’s effects alone are worth the price of admission, but it’s a good thing the David Cronenberg also added an engrossing story and great characters to sweeten the pot. This is still one of my favorite movies, even after a third viewing. The movie simply gets better every time I see it.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time a television moans.
Take a Drink: every time you can’t tell what is real and what is a hallucination, on-screen.
Drink a Shot: every time James Woods pulls something out of his stomach.