A fringe-psychotronic, psychedelic film where television is a drug which blurs the line between reality and TV. What a sleazy TV station manager (James Woods) thinks is an erotic pirated program turns out to be a live snuff broadcast that tortures and kills its female victims. Not only is the program frighteningly real, but its transmitting signals are dangerously hypnotic, inducing hallucinations which intertwine television with reality. But are they really hallucinations? This cyberpunkish film deals with older concepts with which modern times are finally catching up. Marshall McLuhan's "The medium is the message/massage" is explored with horrifying consequences in this film.
Deborah Harry plays the masochistic girlfriend of Woods' character, and gives the film its deliciously psychotronic flavor.
Directed by David Cronenberg
Here is the TEXT POPUP for Videodrome:
Any person who needs to be in control - who wants ultimate control must find video technology the most threatening device ever invented, because there's freedom to record, add, change, edit, and to exchange tapes. The technology of film is too clumsy, but video is freedom of the image. It doesn't surprise me at all that the focus is changing from cinema to video. Cinema is safe and can be centrally controlled. You often find that images actually kill - like in "Videodrome" - that the depiction of a sadomasochistic act will trigger someone to go out and do something that they wouldn't have done before.
The very existence of imagination means that you can posit an existence totally different from the one that you are living, and if you are trying to create a repressive society where you want people to submit only to whatever exists now, that the very act of thinking of something else - regardless of whether it is better or not - will be regarded as a threat. So even on that very basic level, imagination is dangerous to the status quo. And, if you accept, at least to some extent the Freudian dictum that civilization is repression - than imagination and unrepressed creativity is very dangerous to civilization.
I think the whole idea of horror coming from within you - from within the human body - is something I think I've contributed to the genre.
- David Cronenberg
His themes have remained consistent. And, I think it's such an obvious stance from such an original talent. It's almost like a painter who paints the same subject over and over again. Someone said his work has a lot of the same impact as the painter Francis Bacon and I think that's true.
David Cronenberg is about the late Twentieth Century and the fact that we have no control over it. His films are about our own self-destruction which seems to be out of our control. That's what's so clear and so unsettling about his work. A lot of the time I don't even want to see his movies for awhile. I have to work up to them. And, when I get there it's an experience - a catharsis I go through.
- Martin Scorcese