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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For sure Videodrome is a film of the 80s- you'll see this in the out of date machinery and the usage of betamax videotapes.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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on 15 November 2014
James Woods plays perfectly to type as Max Renn, a slimy TV executive whose channel specialises in titillation and sensationalism. On the look-out for more extreme programming, Max employs Harlan, a freelance pirate who has unearthed something called ‘Videodrome’. Seemingly being transmitted from the Far East, the programme appears to depict people being beaten to death whilst chained-up in a dungeon; Max immediately decides that this is the future of TV, and determines to get a piece of the action, however when he learns that the programme doesn’t actually feature actors, but real people being killed for mass entertainment, Max starts to get cold feet – unfortunately he is already in too deep, and when he begins to experience weird hallucinations, events start to really spiral out of control...
Strange, surreal, body-horror, from the undisputed master of the genre – at 85 minutes long the film doesn’t come near to outstaying its welcome, and stands as one of the most visceral things Cronenberg has ever produced – and that’s saying something!
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on 16 January 2012
Videodrome is Cronenberg at his best and if you are reading this review you probably know that.
That's why I'll concentrate on the disc itself.

As another reviewer mentioned, it is the cut version of the film. While it is unfortunate, I wouldn't say anything vital was cut.
Most of the time, it's a couple of seconds of gore missing (sometimes even less). Don't get me wrong, I hate tinkering with the director's original vision but all in all,
I wouldn't say the film's impact has been diminished.

As for the A/V quality, it's a mixed bag. While it's nowhere near reference quality,
it's not as bad as some other catalogue titles from Universal.
Edge Enhancement is clearly visible but not to the point where it's too distracting.
Similarly, some DNR and sharpening have obviously been used, but the image still looks quite natural.

As many of you know, the film has also been released by Criterion but unless you have a multi-region player
and are willing to import the disc, this is the only way to watch Videodrome in High Definition.
It's also worth noting that the Criterion release seems to have been quite substantially cropped,
so it's also less than perfect.

Unfortunately, there are no extras on the disc to speak of.

Available audio tracks: English, French, Italian, Latin American Spanish, Russian (VO)
Available subtitles: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Latin American Spanish, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Traditional Mandarin
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on 21 December 2004
Cronenberg has achieved a huge cult following with his take on horror and science fiction. It's sophisticated, often controversial, and always incisive. He dissects contemporary society by looking into the day after tomorrow and giving a caustic spin to the commonplace - the motor car, the condominium, the television.
In 'Videodrome', James Woods plays a Canadian television entrepreneur, a man who provides material - usually suspect, often porn - for cable TV. In the course of his seedy research he finds a pirate broadcast of a strange, compelling programme. The torture and masochism he glimpses as the programme hisses and breaks up is ... well, it looks real. Or is it just incredibly well made, with the interference and fluctuating picture quality just an example of good engineering and clever directing, simulating clandestine status to give the show a bit of edge?
Woods teams up with a radio broadcaster (Debbie Harry) to investigate. They tune in, turn on, and drop into an underworld of research and exploration which exposes human vulnerability to the influence of television. Maybe it doesn't just have a numbing effect on the brain ... maybe it can take over your body ... maybe the broadcast can become flesh as TV and reality merge? This is television as an acid trip.
An engrossing movie, playing off its own ironic take on the ability of film and television to confuse, mislead, misinform, or corrupt. Cronenberg speculates on the impact of television by taking you into the surreal, asking you to suspend your disbelief ... then question your belief.
Woods' character is sated by all the garbage he's seen. Nothing surprises him any more. He needs something weird, something even more shocking than porn. Do people really need to be shocked? Given the mind-numbing diet of reality TV to which we've been subjected in recent years, maybe Cronenberg is wrong. Television doesn't have to push us to the extreme ... it can destroy our minds with monotony instead.
But 'Videodrome' takes us beyond the unreal. Consider how much of your understanding and experience of the world is based on television news. The truth, and its corruption, is out there, and can come at you through your television screen. The moment we accept reality as what the television portrays, that's the moment it takes over our bodies as well as our minds.
A disturbing, thought-provoking, hugely entertaining film. Like many of Cronenberg's movies, though, you'll either love it or hate it. He's a man who doesn't seem to allow much room for a middle way. If you enjoy the unusual, if you appreciate the surreal, if you like to be challenged and explore irony, this may be a movie you'll love.
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on 12 December 2004
Cronenberg has achieved a huge cult following with his take on horror and science fiction. It's sophisticated, often controversial, and always incisive. He dissects contemporary society by looking into the day after tomorrow and giving a caustic spin to the commonplace - the motor car, the condominium, the television.
In 'Videodrome', James Woods plays a Canadian television entrepreneur, a man who provides material - usually suspect, often porn - for cable TV. In the course of his seedy research he finds a pirate broadcast of a strange, compelling programme. The torture and masochism he glimpses as the programme hisses and breaks up is ... well, it looks real. Or is it just incredibly well made, with the interference and fluctuating picture quality just an example of good engineering and clever directing, simulating clandestine status to give the show a bit of edge?
Woods teams up with a radio broadcaster (Debbie Harry) to investigate. They tune in, turn on, and drop into an underworld of research and exploration which exposes human vulnerability to the influence of television. Maybe it doesn't just have a numbing effect on the brain ... maybe it can take over your body ... maybe the broadcast can become flesh as TV and reality merge? This is television as an acid trip.
An engrossing movie, playing off its own ironic take on the ability of film and television to confuse, mislead, misinform, or corrupt. Cronenberg speculates on the impact of television by taking you into the surreal, asking you to suspend your disbelief ... then question your belief.
Woods' character is sated by all the garbage he's seen. Nothing surprises him any more. He needs something weird, something even more shocking than porn. Do people really need to be shocked? Given the mind-numbing diet of reality TV to which we've been subjected in recent years, maybe Cronenberg is wrong. Television doesn't have to push us to the extreme ... it can destroy our minds with monotony instead.
But 'Videodrome' takes us beyond the unreal. Consider how much of your understanding and experience of the world is based on television news. The truth, and its corruption, is out there, and can come at you through your television screen. The moment we accept reality as what the television portrays, that's the moment it takes over our bodies as well as our minds.
A disturbing, thought-provoking, hugely entertaining film. Like many of Cronenberg's movies, though, you'll either love it or hate it. He's a man who doesn't seem to allow much room for a middle way. If you enjoy the unusual, if you appreciate the surreal, if you like to be challenged and explore irony, this may be a movie you'll love.
But for those of you already converted, the Special Edition offers a compulsive package of extras - commentaries, featurette, a documentary, interviews, and an enthralling discussion of the nature of horror. Excellent package.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2010
AMAZON REVIEW NUMBER 100. (But is this a good thing?)

Ah, VIDEODROME: one of a very small number of films to have given me nightmares.

THE STORY
MAX RENN, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control after stumbling upon the broadcast signal of a seemingly plotless tv show called VIDEODROME which features extreme violence and torture. To his horror, he discovers that the signal causes damage to the viewer's brain through terrifying hallucinations, and that he himself is now a 'carrier' of it's malicious content.

Made in 1983 and Thank God I didn't see this on my own.

DAVID CRONENBERG is a director who knows how to work his way under the skin - then, when you're expecting the worst, he'll go one better and rip it inside out with intense bursts of visceral imagery, often utterly repulsive...yet strangely fascinating. Directorial mind games of the highest order and very, very effective. SHIVERS, THE BROOD and SCANNERS all dealt with similar themes - in essence, a fear of the flesh, of uncontrollable bodily transformation - but this is the first film of his to seriously tap into that deeply subconscious anxiety we all have of internal corruption, of something dark and malevolent eating away at our, for want of a better word, soul.

VIDEODROME: the public face of a crypto-government conspiracy to morally and ideologically "purge" North America by giving fatal brain tumours to "lowlifes" fixated on extreme forms of sex and violence...

JAMES WOODS is skin-crawlingly excellent as Max Renn, an opportunistic CEO always on the lookout for material that will push the envelope - or "break through", as he calls it - in order to reverse the fortunes (and ratings) of his tired cable tv station. But VIDEODROME is a freakshow like no other, and truly interactive in the most gut-churning way, literally sucking him into a world where the only path available is the one leading to self-destruction.

So this is as close as it gets to a morality tale of one man's descent into hell, but it's also an outrageously twisted glimpse at what might happen when broadcast media becomes completely unregulated - pretty far-sighted in 1983. Twenty-seven years further down the line, you'll still need a Kevlar-coated stomach to fully appreciate the film's 'message', but it's worth it.

SCENE GUARANTEED TO INDUCE NAUSEA
HARLAN removing his arm from the gaping orifice (it is not a wound) in Renn's torso to find an old German stick grenade (ticking) attached to the bloody stump.

An unforgettable experience from a director on the verge of mainstream greatness.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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on 15 August 2011
I have seen this film over twenty times and I still don't get it. I am either incredibly thick (which is, of course, possible) or the film has so much in it to keep interpretations various and readings ambiguous. I love it. Long Live The New Flesh!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 July 2007
David Cronenberg is a unique filmmaker whose vision of the world is somewhat skewed as compared with the rest of us. In Videodrome he investigates the possible insidious and damaging effects that a continuous stream of torture and death from a TV screen could have upon an individual. Well that is one possible interpretation of this film, in fact he could equally just be pushing the boundaries a bit further himself.

The film was made in 1982 when Video was just beginning to boom all over the world. It stars James Woods as Max Renn, who gives one of his best ever performances, as an executive for a small cable TV station who in searching for something new to air on the station. He discovers Videodrome, or is a duped into discovering it, and from that point on starts to hallucinate. Beyond this point it becomes difficult to know what is real and what isn't. Suffice to say, if you are not familiar with Cronenberg, things turn pretty nasty and although some of the special effects look a little dated now this certainly isn't for the squeamish.

Unless you have read a detailed synopsis by Cronenberg himself, you are likely to get to the end of this movie and wonder what it all means, which is pretty much how I felt. However its done with a style that is largely missing from a lot Hollywood movies, and that is not surprising. Cronenberg is Canadian and this is a Canadian film. It has a different feel to Hollywood movies, perhaps more akin to a European movie. I agree with the previous reviewer that towards the end the typical Cronenberg 'horror' element was overplayed, but overall this is a thought-provoking and strangely entertaining movie that I look forward to watching again.
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on 1 August 2013
James Woods is brilliantly cast as Max Renn, head of CIVIC-TV, a controversial television station which broadcasts sensational content from 'softcore pornography to hardcore violence'. Woods pulls off an electric performance as a sleazy, morally ambiguous but irrepressibly likable anti-hero who is fascinated when he stumbles upon an obscure broadcast of a show called 'Videodrome' which is ostensibly nothing but chillingly realistic scenes of torture and murder. His date Nikki Brand, a kinky radio hostess played with simmering erotic intensity by Debby Harry, immediately embraces 'Videodrome' seeing in it an outlet for her extreme sadomasochistic desires. The couple separately go in search of the source of 'Videodrome', each for their own reasons, and find that it is something beyond their worst fears or wildest fantasies.

This is a unique vision of surreal technological horror, Cronenberg employs his trademark 'body horror' style to blood curdling effect as visual metaphor for the impact of media upon our lives and sense of reality. Although the film is dated by the fact it centres around a now obsolete technology (videotape) the themes seem perhaps even more prescient in the age of the internet. Make no mistake, despite the luridness apparent in the synopsis, this is a film made by a highly intelligent writer/director who is serious about exploring with great verve; science, technology and the effects they have on our psychology and society.

I wouldn't recommend this if you don't like the feeling of being left bewildered by a film, Videodrome burns through a lot of heavy imagery and ideas in it's fairly short (89 mins) running time and could've perhaps done with more time so the pace could be slowed and more clarity brought to the latter half of the film, conversely though the film's bursting at the seems, too much in too little time, furious energy is probably why it's so good to rewatch, it feels different each time.

All in all I love this film for being a diamond in the rough; unique, shockingly vivid and reaching in some very interesting directions. A classic midnight selection. Gore and depravity for the thinking man.
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on 28 May 2015
The greatest David Cronenberg film ever made. An original spin in body horror films about the media influence on people and distorting their reality. James Woods plays the main character who is going out his mind which is an excellent performance. The special effects done by Rick Baker who just done the effects in the iconic werewolf film An American Werewolf in London are brilliant. A strange film but very clever take on media consumption in people's minds which was also relevant at the time.
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