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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 9 April 2017
what a classic I can not stop watching this one this is a movie that can not go wrong one of a kind 10 out of 10 very hard to get simon
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on 26 May 2014
Videodrome is a classic sci/fi horror film from David Cronenberg which stars James Woods in what has to be his best role as a T.V. producer in the not too distant future. Being the successful business man that he is, Max knows that only the most perverted, violent and brutal shows evoke any real interest among viewers. One day he comes across a mysterious show called "Videodrome", which just shows what may or may not be snuff films all day. The problem is, the more he watches it, the more he likes it, and the more he has to watch more of it. Same thing goes for his kinky girlfriend (Debbie Harry). Max tries to track down the station, only to find a lot of secrecy and mystery around it, not to mention a cult leader-like figure at its head. The odd things start when his girlfriend disappears after trying to audition for Videodrome. Then Max sees her on Videodrome, being tortured, and speaking at him in his living room, as if she could observe what he's doing at the moment. Not only that, but Max begins to hallucinate big time, seeing for example a rubber like humanoid trying to crawl out of his TV screen and into the real world. It soon becomes clear that "Videodrome" is much more than just a T.V. show, something a lot more dangerous. Before he knows it Max is caught up in the whole thing and the line between reality and hallucination is blurring.

Woods turns in another great performance, and the cast is appropriate. Cronenberg paces this very well, and can make the film scary without having to have someone suddenly jump out with a knife. Also notable are the effects by a rising Rick Baker and the score by Howard Shore. Plus, this is one of the first films to explore the possibility of TV influence on the masses, only that taking it to another more demented level. The story's highly original and is filled with bizarre imagery, looking at it from today's standpoint it's unsettling how prophetic the movie was. We've already reached a level where we're able to look at the sickest kind of crimes and abuse through the internet. That part of the movie is no longer utopia, it's already become real. Videodrome remains some many years later a visceral movie-viewing experience, a film that many will pass off as just your typical Cronenberg fare. It's a lot more: it's like a weird, definitive statement on the things that are most of concern to Cronenberg, at least in the bulk of his originally written work. How does one make the distinction between what's imagined or thought and what is right there whipped on the flesh? It's thought at one point in Videodrome that Max has a brain tumor. Sounds like an explanation, but after a few minutes it changes from being a plot gimmick to a sad fate. Long live the new flesh? What about the dying flesh? It's an extraordinary film.

The Critereon Blu-ray edition is the best way to watch the film in it's complete and uncut glory, it is a bit expensive but I thought it was worth it. The disc is also region A so unless you have an American or region free blu-ray player, it's probably not going to work so I suggest you buy one. Presented in 1.85:1 high-definition widescreen using the AVC codec, Videodrome has to look as it did when it first came out in theaters, meaning Criterion's done an excellent job with the disc. Some of the work done to age/degrade the video sources in the movie looks excellent, even recent if one didn't know the film was made three decades ago. The PCM track accurately replicates the pre-stereo world of the era as best as it possibly can, and does it well. The Fear on Film segment is probably the best feature and is definetely worth checking out, it's a vintage roundtable segment with John Landis, John Carpenter and Cronenberg, all of whom were shooting films for Universal at the time (Landis' An American Werewolf in London, Carpenter's The Thing and Videodrome).

They talk about influences, ordeals in getting the film shot, and butting heads with studios about ratings. Worth watching if you're a fan of any or all of those directors. There were lot's of other features as well, including a making of, forging the new flesh (a kind of retrospective), Effects men an audio interview with Baker and video effects supervisor Michael Lennick. The "Bootleg Video" section includes the complete footage from "Samurai Dreams", the film Max finds in the beginning. There's also the "Transmissions from Videodrome" and test footage of the Helmet Cam, all of which include commentary by a mix of Cronenberg, Irwin or Lennick. The "Effects Visual Essay" (19:17) is an extended stills gallery of sorts and a commentary track. This was just an awesome edition by Criterion that blows any of the previous editions (including the old universal dvd) out of the water. Make sure you check it out, highly recommended.
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on 7 June 2016
fun film
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on 21 August 2002
Phenomenal entry from Cronenberg, which is as shocking and subversive today as when first released. The story's basic premise is that the world is slowly being controlled by television and video, with a specialist group sending out a dangerous broadcast which causes a tumour in its viewers. The tumour triggers vicious hallucinogenic effects and leads to the group being able to control these unfortunates to do their deadly deeds.
The commentary on the potential effects of video/violence and pornography is fascinating and in typical Cronenberg style, it all ends badly with much gore and violence. Extremely thought provoking and perhaps even more relevant today, in light of the power of the media and TV to influence our perception of different events.
Watch and be propelled into a dangerous underground world of S&M, violence and a quest for the truth that ends in tragedy.
Superb and obviously worth the modest price. Just be careful - 'it bites'!!
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on 25 March 2012
Videodrome is one of my favourite movies of all time and one I was looking forward to seeing on blu-ray. The film itself is obviously 5 star (and then some), a deliciously barmy tale of body horror and arguably Cronenberg's first classic.

But the disc itself is lacking. This is the cut version and comes with no extras whatsoever. The cuts are minimal and shouldn't detract from the enjoyment of the film but it's still inexcusable. Sadly I don't think there's much chance of a better version in the near future so unless you have a multi region player this is still worth the lowly asking price.
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As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of David Cronenberg’s TV-swallowing horror shocker “Videodrome”. And the BLU RAY has long been available in the States on Criterion and several other territories. The US Criterion release in particular has received much praise being the ‘full’ version of the film with a half decent print and loads of cool extras (typically stunning job done by them). But that’s where the good news ends for British and European film fans…

Unfortunately the sought-after American Criterion release is REGION-A LOCKED - although it doesn't say so on Amazon. So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't). Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

The UK and Europe issues are REGION B - so that will play the movie on UK machines – but feature the slightly truncated version of the film (a couple of minutes of nastiness chopped out) and there are reports of ‘print’ problems.

As ever when it comes to something controversial – fans are given the short straw. So check your player’s region coding acceptability if you want the pricier Criterion release (must have REGION A playback capability)…or opt for the UK and foreign territories BLU RAYS that weigh in at a far healthier price but offer what some feel is less…
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on 11 May 2016
The review for the cut version below is not for the arrow blu ray which is not cut and is a superb transfer
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2013
Videodrom is David Cronenberg's sleazy 1983 masterpiece starring James Woods and Debbie Harry. The Universal DVD version appears to be marginally shorter than the Criterion version. The cut does not really damage the film but of course the marginally longer version is presumably better. The Universal DVD contains no real extras so this is just the film itself. It is great.

The plot combines themes of mental illness, the controlling power of television, the darker side of sexuality, and the lingering myth of underground snuff movies. That combination of themes makes Videodrome a bit more of a challenge than most but for those comfortable with seeing the world from a less comforting angle it is a work of genious.

Primary character Max played by James Woods is a small time porn producer in Toronto looking for the latest innovation to champion. He is jaded, calm sensual pornography not being enough for him. Max demands something harder. Cronenberg understands that darker side to sexuality, the need to up the hit, to take the imagination into places previously unknown. Max is himself an example of the degrading effect of visual media, an exploitative character craving new experiences.

The world Max inhabits is thrown into chaos by two forces - radio host Nicki Brand played by Debbie Harry and Videodrome. Nicki is some form of sensate, living vicariously through the emotional torment from the callers to her show. She is every bit as exploitative as Max. The pair make a beautiful couple. Videodrome is what eventually comes between them.

Videodrome's appearance as a flickery pirate shot speaks to the perception in the 70s of an underground cinema scene parading truly horrific concepts like snuff. While that idea has never really gone away it was a much better known meme at the time of Videodrome. To the audience of 1983 the idea of Videodrome was one that could have been reality.

The blurring of reality and visual fiction is at the heart of Videodrome. Which parts of the experiences Max endures are real? Does Nicki really enter his life? Is he just mentally ill?

These kinds of questions are never answered merely added to through the film. The presence of Debbie Harry both strengthens and questions the realism of everything on screen. In 1983 Debbie Harry was still a superstar despite the breakup of Blondie. At that time she was a stunning image, so beautiful but with a strangeness about her that only added to the allure. She was perfect for Videodrome. Everyone recognised her as someone they knew in reality but here she was acting in a film that questioned what was real in the projection of images.

For any red blooded male the sight of a masochistic Debbie Harry enjoying the suffering she inflicts upon herself makes the rest of the world seem momentarily irrelevant.

As the film progresses things become wierder. The visual effects are incredible for 1983. Cronenberg pushed the envelope in creating disturbing effects to reflect the illness either within Max or caused by the sickness that is Videodrome. Effects that pretty much stand the test of time, a gritty photography style for the world Max inhabits, and the breathtaking imagery of Debbie Harry make this a real visual feast. Fitting that a film about the distorting power of the image is so great to look at.

The audio of Videodrome is pretty clever. The quote from Max about torture and murder being the next big thing captures so well the world Cronenberg portrays. The heartbeat and breathing sounds that permeate so many of the scenes keep an almost sub-conscious attention reflecting Nicki's quote about living in a highly excited state of overstimulation.

The moral story is told through slightly longer words mainly from Brian O'Blivion. His non-visually stimulating and wordy style contrast so strongly with everything else. It is through O'Blivion that Cronenberg delivers his warning of the encroaching power of the small screen. Imagine what Brian O'Blivion would have made of the pervasive internet and all the darkness that can be freely located within it.

Of course the best known line of Videodrome belongs to Max - "Long Live The New Flesh".

On the surface level Videodrome is a sleazy and slightly gory exploitation film. On further reflection it is a masterpiece deliving into the dangers of the creative mind seeking stimulation and doing so with such stunning beauty.
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on 18 December 2011
Universal are releasing the censored R-rated version onto blu-ray in the UK. It's missing 80 seconds of gore.

The picture is the same transfer as used on Universal's Italian blu-ray and suffers from excessive edge enhancement. The only extra is a trailer.

Get the Criterion blu-ray, it's uncut and loaded with extras.

UPDATE: Although the Criterion disc is region A locked, there is a region B release out in Germany with the same extras and transfer. So avoid the UK release.
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on 7 November 2013
Videodrome despite being a box office flop surely must be one of David Cronenberg's best films. Filmed at a time where heavy censorship ruled the movie and TV industry, Videodrome was not afraid to explore this. Starring one of my favourite actors in James Woods, the film tells the story of a CEO at a sleazy television company who is looking for the ultimate programming to draw in viewers. Woods ends up getting more than he bargained for when he stumbles onto Videodrome.

The film is highly entertaining, driven along so well by the effortless acting of Woods. Deborah Harry is superb in the role of Nikki, an off balanced individual happy to enjoy the ultimate thrills in life.

Cronenberg is one of the most important directors of our time and even though his early work has a clear balance towards horror/sci fi he is much like John Carpenter in the fact that the two of them have made consistantly great films in all genres.

For sure Videodrome is a film of the 80s- you'll see this in the out of date machinery and the usage of betamax videotapes. But 30 years on the film remains very relevant.
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