|Formats:||18 DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Deborah Harry, James Woods, Peter Dvorsky|
|Run time:||1 hour 25 minutes|
|Rental release:||03 Aug 2004|
Most helpful review
Nightmarish horror funBy a customer from Reading, England , 15 Mar 2005
[Highly rated reviewer]This film always had a kind of arthouse thing happening which always appealed to me, and twenty years on it's still a moody, phantasmagoric, teddy bears picnic of a film. Not a traditional horror by any stretch of the imagination, but unsettling and often disturbing. James Woods holds the enigmatic story together magnificently while Debbie Harry is ineffeably, unutterably, inconceivably cool. One of Cronenberg's best, with some unmissable sequences.
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One of Cronenberg's bestBy ArrogantDuck (69 reviews) , 09 Aug 2013David Cronenberg's movies often follow themes of disease, addiction and obsession and Videodrome is right up there with The Fly as examples of the director's better works. James Woods plays a sleazy cable TV executive whose network screens pornography, sexually perverse and controversial material. He stumbles across a pirated signal of Videodrome, a sadomasochistic snuff film channel and becomes addicted, not realising that it is brainwashing him. Cronenberg's movie is very much a commentary on how media drives us and despite certain aspects of the movie being quite dated, the moral is still quite relevant. One thing that hasn't dated however, is Rick Baker's amazing special effects makeup. Considering this movie is 30 years old, the visuals are absolutely brilliant. It's a surreal, disturbing and just plain weird sci-fi/horror, twisting fiction with reality, but it's a brilliant piece of filmmaking.
classic cronenbergBy horrorfilmfreak (1 review) , 21 Jun 2013classic mind bending cronenberg....definetly got better second time i watched...a different take than his other works ie scanners and rabid but if your a fan then this is definately worth a watch
Only good in some of its incoherent partsBy Arnold_the_Frog (2 reviews) , 01 Jun 2013
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideThe film never delivers on its implied promise
to make sense. Dr. O'Blivion never gets to say
anything more than McLuhan-esque gnomic
nonsense. The film seems, early on, to be
offering a view of the dark underbelly of video
watching. Popular culture! Just say no,
children! It ends up explaining the Videodrome
signal as a deliberately manufactured
surreptitious addition to the associated
broadcasts, so we have a sleazy Hand-of-God
attempt at poetic justice (they were watching
VIOLENT PORN! What did they EXPECT?). in
which the motives of the Videodrome
broadcasters and those of Cronenberg
himself are hopelessly muddled.
It's rapidly obvious that it's not just Max Renn
who can't tell when he's hallucinating. We
have no way of distinguishing sheer
hallucination from visionary transformation
from what is actually happening. I suppose
Renn shoots Convex with *something*, but is
it something strangely manufactured
by Videodrome, his own old pistol returned
(!) by Videodrome out of his own interior, or
a Space Raygun his hand has grown into?
Too little reality and it stops being frightening,
and just made me stop caring.
The final invitation to a post-bodily Higher
Reality may have some plausibility as something
strictly in Renn's head: his life is really, really
badly out of control, with no anchors left for
his sense of reality, and he has (perhaps)
shot several people. The hope that death
might provide the necessary touch-stone of
reality then gets expanded into an empty
promise of something better afterwards, with
all the cultural investment in life after death
fed in. But that involves taking a lot of views
about stuff which hasn't been inspected or
aired, and it hardly allows the ending to be
as portentous as Cronenberg builds it up to be.
Are we meant to take it seriously? What
exactly is the 'New Flesh' in whose name
Renn is told to abandon his old flesh? Isn't
it just an O'Blivious parody of St, Paul on the
spiritual body (we are sown in corruption, but
raised as television! Yowza!).
Videodrome, In its attempts to be occupy
several genres of film in rapid succession,
even turns into a spy thriller not far before the
end, as Renn is 'turned' by young Ms.
O'Blivion, Like altogether too much else, it's
just thrown out there and then dropped. Is her
apparent survival supposed to be a sign of
hope for the future, or has Cronenberg merely
forgotten all about her by the end?
What's left? I'll skip past the heavy-handed
poetic justice bit, in which reality helpfully
turns up to warrant all those once-fashionable
this-stuff-is-bad-for-you worries, recycled as
horror. There remain in my memory a few short
scenes in which we see Max Renn falling
apart as he finds he's losing it, and some
rather triffic conflations of sex with
mutilation with videos, played in the end for
mere splatter, which was a let-down. It really
looked at times (that pistol and that orifice!)
like as much as I could take of what one pays
David Cronenberg for, but they went nowhere.
Picking up some remarks made by others in
their reviews, I'll single out two.
This film is 'dated', in some obvious behind-
the-curve ways. The imagery depends critically
on those chunky big video cassettes, and it's
obviously pre-internet, but why does this
bother people? Do they need to pretend to
themselves that it's a warning about a possible
There have been several comparisons drawn
with David Lynch, I suppose with Eraserhead
in mind. Oh, don't be silly.
Either hate it or love it, anything else and you missed the point.By Sirmixalot (7 reviews) , 25 Feb 2013When Cronenberg made this movie he said he didn't know why he made it and that he gave it no discernibly obvious meaning. It isn't a horror movie though it contains horror, it isn't sci-fi though there is science based fiction. It is a strange and unique ride into the mind of a filmmaker. This films incorporates S&M, snuff video, psychotic hallucinations which can be induced through the television and behind it all is the archetypal villain universally known as 'the man' Empirically this is Alice in Wonderland except wonderland is now tv land and people who enter are turned into psycho assassins James Woods is the tv producer looking for the next big thing and he turns to the darker side only to find he has become one of these corporate killing machines. Where the film excels is in the depiction of how the hallucinations manifest and control Woods creating very unsettling imagery. They can't and would never try to make a movie like this anymore, aside from the fact this type of film would never be a financial success the appetite to think outside of the box is gone and we are left with 'final destination' and 'saw' and similar, all devoid of imagination, these films are the empty calories of the movie world whereas videodrome is almost artistic in comparison.
TV, the retina of the mind's eyeBy a customer , 03 Feb 2013Winning combination of startling and gruesome special effects (all the more impressive given its age) and dystopian philosophising about TV's power to influence. James Woods is at his twitchy best and Debbie Harry does a great dead-eyed femme fatale. Definitely worth watching if you're a fan of Cronenberg's work or '80s sci-fi horror like The Thing.