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From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

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Review of Videodrome

Brilliantly reflecting the media’s power over self-image and the expression of human emotion, Videodrome is a disturbing and profoundly prescient sci-fi conspiracy flick that may be the height of director David Cronenberg’s career. What it lacks in coherence and length, it more than makes up for in concept and execution, perfectly articulating Cronenberg’s alignment between the mechanics of the future and the organisms of the natural, fleshy human form.

The story focuses on Max Renn, the sleazy, but likable, president of Channel 83, a network that specializes in the graphically violent and the explicitly sexual. Max’s only goal is to provide audiences with what they “really want to see” and he frequents roach motels and dank basements in hot pursuit of the most extreme new video or creepiest underground perversion. He thinks he’s hit the jackpot when an assistant in the A/V room stumbles upon a shocking pirate frequency known as Videodrome. As Max tracks down the program’s creators, his obsession with the show triggers hallucinations and throbbing headaches, all of which are the product of Spectacular Optical, a corporation sending radiation waves through television signals.

All of Max’s alarming hallucinations are hand-crafted by six-time Academy Award winner Rick Baker, and each is a perfect amalgam of human flesh and synthetic matter. The visual buffet includes a stomach with a gaping hole resembling a VCR slot, a hand coalescing with a pistol, a TV throbbing and pulsating like a living being, and a show-stopping finale featuring a gory body decomposition that just might be the coolest looking death ever put to film.

It also offers up a very interesting subtext concerning human behavior. Do we need to be visually stimulated to feel or is feeling something generated preternaturally? Cronenberg seems to believe the media is manipulating our emotions based on their interests and forcing us to associate images (or products) with our feelings and values. For a film that has recently celebrated its 25th birthday, that is a concept that could not be any more contemporary. Highly Recommended!

Reviewed by Mdeapo 23:43, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

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