That's James Woods describing Videodrome, the pirate TV show his programming exec Max discovers being broadcast, ostensibly from Malaysia. The show features people -- mostly naked women -- being electrocuted, beaten, and eventually killed. That's the show. Woods's Max becomes obsessed with the show, which he quickly discovers is real -- not make-believe. And it's not Malaysian, it's from Pittsburgh. And there's something underneath the regular track... something sinister that ultimately reveals a dark conspiracy.
Or is it all a hallucination?
Between bouts of rough sex with girlfriend Nicki (Blondie singer Deborah Harry), Woods plays P.I. with a host of interesting and absurd characters. Director David Cronenberg ultimately turns in a film that is frequently nonsensical, but was years before its time. Not only is there a prescient story about the perils of media overexposure and its desensitizing effect within, Videodrome also forecasted the reality TV craze that would emerge a decade later.
Videodrome is probably better known for its Rick Baker-designed special effects, which are heavy on throbbing videotapes, tables, and televisions, culminating in a man-meets-machine creep-out that defined a new genre of horror/sci-fi. Cronenberg himself would borrow the ideas again in eXistenZ. The Matrix is directly inspired by Videodrome's story and effects.
DVD extras on the two-disc set from Criterion include two commentary tracks -- one from Cronenberg and DP Mark Irwin, one from Woods and Harry -- plus a short film called Camera, a handful of documentaries and interview clips, the complete footage of the "Videodrome" tapes as seen in the film, and the usual photos and trailers.
Run time: 87 mins
In Theaters: Friday 4th February 1983
Box Office Worldwide: $2.1M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Famous Players Ltd, Guardian Trust Company, Filmplan International II
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 35 Rotten: 9
IMDB: 7.3 / 10
Director: David Cronenberg
Producer: Claude Héroux
Screenwriter: David Cronenberg
Starring: James Woods as Max Renn, Sonja Smits as Bianca O'Blivion, Debbie Harry as Nicki Brand, Peter Dvorsky as Harlan, Jack Creley as Brian O'Blivion, Lynne Gorman as Masha, Julie Khaner as Bridey, Reiner Schwartz as Moses, David Bolt as Raphael, Lally Cadeau as Rena King, Leslie Carlson as Barry Convex
Also starring: David Cronenberg
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