Videodrome Movie Review
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.