Dir: David Cronenberg. Cast: James Woods, Deborah Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky. 1983.
I saw Videodrome when it was first released to theatres in 1983. I was (and am) a fan of both Cronenberg and Debbie Harry. When I walked out of theatre after that first viewing, however, all I could think was, ‘What the hell was that?’
The fact is, Videodrome was years ahead of its time. It’s a metaphor-heavy movie that uses body horror to expand upon Marshall McLuhan’s notion that ‘The medium is the message’, and in this case, we become the medium.
Max Renn manages an adult content cable TV station. His tech guy introduces him to Videodrome, a show comprised of only sex and torture that he’s discovered via short bursts of glitchy transmissions. Max becomes obsessed with tracking the show down for his network, and along the way becomes ‘the new flesh’.
Gory, surreal, visceral and intelligent, Videodrome is a brilliant piece of work that becomes more and more prescient as time passes.