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Videodrome [VHS]

4.3 out of 5 stars 230 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky, Leslie Carlson
  • Directors: David Cronenberg
  • Writers: David Cronenberg
  • Producers: Claude Héroux, Lawrence Nesis, Pierre David, Victor Solnicki
  • Format: Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios Ho
  • VHS Release Date: May 4, 1999
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300182770
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,256 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Love it or loathe it, David Cronenberg's 1983 horror film Videodrome is a movie to be reckoned with. Inviting extremes of response from disdain (critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the least entertaining films ever made") to academic euphoria, it's the kind of film that is simultaneously sickening and seemingly devoid of humanity, but also blessed with provocative ideas and a compelling subtext of social commentary. Giving yet another powerful and disturbing performance, James Woods stars as the operator of a low-budget cable-TV station who accidentally intercepts a mysterious cable transmission that features the apparent torture and death of women in its programming. He traces the show to its source and discovers a mysterious plot to broadcast a subliminally influential signal into the homes of millions, masterminded by a quasi-religious character named Brian O'Blivion and his overly reverent daughter. Meanwhile Woods is falling under the spell, becoming a victim of video, and losing his grip--both physically and psychologically--on the distinction between reality and television. A potent treatise on the effects of total immersion into our mass-media culture, Videodrome is also (to the delight of Cronenberg's loyal fans) a showcase for obsessions manifested in the tangible world of the flesh. It's a hallucinogenic world in which a television set seems to breath with a life of its own, and where the body itself can become a VCR repository for disturbing imagery. Featuring bizarre makeup effects by Rick Baker and a daring performance by Deborah Harry (of Blondie fame) as Wood's sadomasochistic girlfriend, Videodrome is pure Cronenberg--unsettling, intelligent, and decidedly not for every taste. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
TV will rot your brain, some say- and in the world of Videodrome, that's exactly what happens. A group working with a media philosopher (a nice parody of Marshall McCluhan) has created a signal that can be superimposed on a video program that will, quite literally, mutate the brain. It may be a tumor- or it may be a new organ. It's infected cable TV president Max Venn (James Woods), and is starting to change him and his world in bizarre ways.
Videodrome is a wonderfully original movie that mixes a well crafted script with some novel (for the time) special effects and a marvelous darkly comic sensibility. Puns abound; the president of "Spectacular Optics"- itself a pun- is named Convex. Brian Oblivion (the Marshall McCluhan parody) founded the "Cathode Ray Mission" (as in "cathode ray emission"), where the homeless and destitute are re-integrated into society by providing them with exposure to television.
Underneath this is a dark, sexual theme- Max's attraction to the images of bondage and sadism that are his undoing, and to radio psychologist Nikki (Debbie Harry, in a compelling if inartful performance) who is willing to go a lot farther than is Max in her pursuit of kinky thrills.
Is Max really being physically transformed, or is it all in his head? Is the New Flesh real, or another delusion? All in all, a compelling and original film that will delight any fan of cult films and erotic horror.
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Format: DVD
Videodrome is not only one of the top three horror/sci-fi movies made in the last 25 years it also has the distinguishing trait of having been given one of the best royal treatments from Criterion. If you need basic plot and such look elsewhere. This review is more about why this is one of the greatest films of all time.

First, the film: A must-have for any film collector, not just a horror or sci-fi buff. James Woods plays a Cable-TV station owner who broadcasts soft-porn and adult entertainment. His favorite technician shows him a pirated TV show called Videodrome in which people are tortured and killed. Woods pursues this show, watching more and more of it until his investigations lead him to two sources: The Videodrome show producers itself and the show's arch-enemy, The Cathode Ray Mission. Woods discovers that the show transmits a signal that creates a tumor in the brain that leads to S+M hallucinations. Woods begins to hallucinate incredible sexual/violent nightmares ( the fleshy TV set)and finds himself as a pawn between the two entities. Videodrome plans on using Woods' station to transmit the violent Videodrome show in order to kill the audience of porn. Videodrome owner Barry Convex "programs" Woods to kill his partners at the station and the Cathode Ray Mission Leader, Bianca O'Blivion. Bianca "counter programs" Woods into killing the Videodrome people. Bianca declares that Woods has "evolved" (Darwinism on its ear) into The New Flesh, an allegory of an information-age human with a body that mutates via hallucination. In the end, Woods, alone and his head filled with tumors, is prompted by his now dead girlfriend (Deborah Harry in the flesh TV set) to "evolve" into the next stage by shooting himself.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The TV producer Max Renn (James Woods) works for a sleazy TV network that focuses on violence, sex, and other bizarre programs. Max's job is to search and find programs that keep pushing the aggressive nature of the network and can keep the viewer numbers up. Years of exposure to violence and sex have diminished the effect that the brutality and sexuality have on Max. As a result Max continues to search for something rough and more sadistic, and through an employee of the network he finds a pirate cable show, Videodrome.

The nature of the Videodrome is as Max refers to it as, "It's just murder and torture. No plot. No characters." It is the cutting edge, no pun intended, of cable TV for Max as it is rougher and more brutal than anything else that he has seen. Max tapes the show and becomes fixated with the pirated shows. This also begins to affect Max's social life as he meets Nicki (Deborah Harry) with whom he initiates a sadistic romance. Max begins to track the source down for Videodrome, which initially seems to be sent from Malaysia. However, further investigation leads Max to Pittsburgh, and he realizes that it is connected with a nightmarish cult.

David Cronenberg creates a terrifying atmosphere where reality and delusions begin to blend. This shadow land draws the audience into a paranoid cinematic experience where the threat is located directly in front of them, the television. The exceptional special effects are a big part of creating the bizarre atmosphere, which are startling with the breathing video tapes, open stomachs, and a sensually moving television. Videodrome carries Cronenberg's distinctive insignia as it is unique, disturbing, and groundbreaking.
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Format: DVD
They say you either love or hate this rather bizarre offering from 1983, but I found myself somewhat indifferent as Videodrome approached its conclusion. To my mind, the final third of the story is ultimately too haphazard, esoteric, and too consciously horror-driven to clearly express the themes worked into the heart of the film. It's easy to read a lot into this film, but that's as much of a credit to the viewer as it is to the filmmakers.

Still, Videodrome is certainly a fascinating, unique film that compels the viewer to contrast the interplay between video and real life in our increasingly technological age. By 1983, most people were already seeing life through a television screen - TV defined the news, fashion, the latest fads, etc. In the movie, TV plays as integral a part as food and comfort in the rehabilitation of the homeless taken in at the Cathode Ray Mission run by Dr. O'Blivion (Jack Creley). Rather than paint the television as a soul-draining maker of brain-dead zombies, Videodrome forges its way down an even more frightening path, where television is used as a potential weapon on the masses.

James Woods plays Max Renn, a rather sleazy cable operator who depends on shocking television shows to keep his little station up and running. He discovers many of his shows through satellite piracy, and that is just how Videodrome first comes to his attention. He is fascinated with the show, which features nothing but torture and abuse of individuals, especially women, with no sign of a plot anywhere behind it. It's just the kind of shocking new thing he's after, and so he begins searching for its source.
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New Book on Cronenberg
Thanks, but what exactly are they trying to imply with the title?
Apr 7, 2009 by Lintelsoups |  See all 2 posts
December 7th Release-Date Be the first to reply
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