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Videodrome [VHS] (1983)

James Woods , Deborah Harry , David Cronenberg  |  R |  VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

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Videodrome [VHS] + Blue Velvet [VHS]
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Product Details

  • Actors: James Woods, Deborah 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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300182770
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,273 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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Horror October 1, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
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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78 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Criterion DVDs September 6, 2005
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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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They use her image to seduce us... March 12, 2001
Format:DVD
A cult favorite since its release in '83, VIDEODROME is in some ways a "great flawed film." The characters are far from sympathetic, the plot is often confusing and contradictory, and some of the dialogue is unintentionally hilarious. Yet on the level of images and ideas, VIDEODROME is a rich, compelling experience which will take root in your brain long after the film is over. James Woods turns in a terrific performance as Max Renn, sleazoid co-owner of a quickie TV station. For reasons which never become clear, Renn is chosen as the gateway for public transmission of the "Videodrome" TV signal, which hypnotizes its viewers and causes mind-altering hallucinations. Renn, always on the lookout for the ultimate trash with which to hook his slavish, sensation-seeking audience, is introduced to "Videodrome," a charming bit of snuff TV where men in masks torture women and a black man for no real reason at all, except for cheap thrills. Renn, correctly assuming that sex and violence sell to the masses, tries to discover the human face behind Videodrome. Along the way, he stumbles onto what seems to be a conspiracy to control the mind of the North American audience through TV (hmmm...hasn't this happened by now?), seemingly to create an audience of docile, consumeristic sheep. After a rather shocking sequence of events, Renn becomes one of the "New Flesh," apparently a race of humans who have evolved away from the body to exist entirely in the electronic realm (hmmm...isn't this happening right now?) and are trying to destroy Videodrome. His companion in this journey is masochistic Nicki Brand, played by Deborah Harry at her most glamorous. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
awesome for its day
Published 1 day ago by steven vanweddingen
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfully Jaded Film
One thing that has always fascinated me is the way that in every modern era, there are always a few films from that particular time that are not only good films in and of... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Thomas Dunham
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
classic
Published 24 days ago by Michael Buttram
2.0 out of 5 stars Very explicit. I did not expect that. There ...
Very explicit. I did not expect that. There were three places where the d.v.d. messed up. I was still able to watch most of it. Im not going to return. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Laura Sharp
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it but I was hoping it would be rated ...
It was sci-fi so I knew would be unusual. I like it but I was hoping it would be rated R, but it was slightly above. It was not X rated though.
Published 1 month ago by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars ... and of course the internet works today its still pretty on the...
A somewhat obscure film but in light of how television and of course the internet works today its still pretty on the nose 30 years later... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tony M,
5.0 out of 5 stars cronenberg morty
cool movie. I heard a Cronenberg reference on some comedy show, never heard of the guy so I looked him up... cool horror movie and I'm down for anything with james woods.
Published 2 months ago by nougat420
5.0 out of 5 stars Came in perfect condition
Great buy for VHS collectors like myself. It was even the UNRATED version! Was really impressed by this along with the condition. Thanks a ton!
Published 2 months ago by Julian L. Brentlinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Value
Buy this instead of the Criterion DVD or Blu-Ray. Universal has given us a fantastic looking copy, and, if you're like me and can't afford everything in HD, this is one you can... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Leon
3.0 out of 5 stars its what it is
Videodrome is exactly how I remembered it when it premeired. Although one of my favorite movies due to the taboo nature of the subject matter, I am such a die hard Debbie Harry... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bob
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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
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