15 July 2024
Videodrome (1983)
88 min.
Directed by David Cronenberg.
With James Woods, Deborah Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky, Les Carlson, Jack Creley.
This muddled Cronenberg entry tells the story of underground reality show Videodrome which has insinuated itself into the life of television show programmer Max Renn (Woods)...and ultimately into the lives of millions.

The problem? The S&M show is *too* real.

Viewers who watch it develop a strange infectious virus that causes them to crave more of the same violence, to grow vagina-like VHS-type slots in their stomachs, and to rage mindlessly out of control.

Who's behind the broadcasting of Videodrome? And what's their real goal? Could it be a part of some government plan to morally cleanse America?

Concept - rather than plot - driven, this merely treads water with its solid Rick Baker special effects and nice performances by Woods and Blondie rocker Harry.

There's lots of portentious espionage subplots, and socio-political folderol. But the whole thing's inevitably undone by a lack of cohesive fruition and apocryphal messages on reality TV (admittedly ahead of its time in this respect).

Too self-conscious and contrived for its own good, this one should have cooked longer.

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