Videodrome Review From Blu-ray.com

Videodrome Blu-ray Movie Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov December 8, 2010
Source: blu-ray.com

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David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome” (1983) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include two audio commentaries, one with David Cronenberg and Mark Irwin, and another with James Woods and Deborah Harry; “Camera”, a short film which David Cronenberg directed in 2000; roundtable discussion with David Cronenberg, John Landis, and John Carpenter; various featurettes; promotional materials; and more. The disc also arrives with a 38-page illustrated booklet. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A “locked.

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James Woods is Max Renn, a cocky, fast-talking man in charge with a small Toronto-based television station looking for unique content to boost its ratings. One day, he stumbles across Videodrome, a brutal pornographic broadcast, which Harlan (Peter Dvorsky, Mesmer), one of Max’s best men, has recorded while playing around with the station’s pirate satellite dish. Impressed with the raw visuals, Max decides to find out more about Videodrome.

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While researching Videodrome, Max meets Nicki Brand (Deborah Harry, Hairspray), a beautiful psychiatrist who likes sex as much as she likes pain. Before Max beds Nikki, he shows her footage from Videodrome, which proves to be exactly the type of show she has been dreaming about. Nikki decides to go to Pittsburgh, where Videodrome apparently is based at, while Max decides to see Professor Brian O’Blivion (Jack Creley, All in Good Taste), a mysterious character who apparently knows everything there is to know about the show.

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Max meets Bianca (Sonja Smits, That’s My Baby!), Professor O’Blivion’s daughter and personal assistant, who gives him a videotape containing an important message. After he views it, Max begins hallucinating – first his body gets a giant vagina in which one could insert various objects, including videotapes, then he starts seeing dead people, and finally he enters Videodrome where Nikki has been patiently waiting for him. While trying to figure out what is real and what is not, Max loses his mind.

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Most critics who have written about David Cronenberg’s Videodrome argue that it is a horror film with a prophetic message about the destructive power of television. To a certain extent, I agree with them. A lot of what Cronenberg predicted in Videodrome has come true – by merging with the Internet, television is increasingly affecting the way we live our lives; television is easily transforming lies into truths, which is why each year billions of dollars are spent on political advertising; television is brainwashing our minds, which is why various religious groups pay big money for prime-time slots.

What critics rarely mention in their articles, however, is the fact that Videodrome is above all a film about the power of philosophy – the ideas that give meaning to the torture and pornography seen in it, the environment that has nurtured them, the culture that breeds their consumers. What terrifies in Videodrome are not the various graphic scenes, or Max’s colorful hallucinations, but the logic that supports their existence.

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There is a common theme amongst great horror films – they all balance well the reasonable with the unreasonable. When we watch a great horror film, we are terrified because there is a possibility that everything that happens in it could be real. Videodrome is one such film – a lot of the images in it are incredibly disturbing and unsettling but far from unrealistic; even Max’s hallucinations are not completely devoid of objectivity.

The cast is excellent. Woods is very convincing as the cocky businessman who slowly but surely evolves into a violent, paranoid loner. Harry, the famous voice of new wave and punk legends Blondie, looks incredibly seductive. Creley has a small but very important role. Smits is the only one who occasionally looks a bit stiff in front of the camera.

ALL CREDIT GOES TO Dr. Svet Atanasov of blu-ray.com

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