Plot: Max Renn (James Woods) programs a small cable channel and has a specific audience, one that seeks out sex and violence. To find his content he searches through countless sources and creators, but most just isn’t up to snuff. He doesn’t want soft, romantic, or stylish programs, he wants shocking and realistic shows. When he sees a short, nearly scrambled transmission of a program called Videodrome, he knows he has found the future of entertainment. The show has no plot or characters, just torture, abuse, and even murder. A single set, low production costs and a high degree of realism draw in Renn, who becomes obsessed. While he can access limited amounts of the show, Renn is determined to find the source of Videodrome. As he digs to find out information, he is warned again and again to cease his search. Will Renn be able to uncover the truth and even if so, will Videodrome consume him?
Entertainment Value: An acclaimed, well respected genre classic, Videodrome is a movie only David Cronenberg could give us. There are endless debates about what the movie’s social context is, so I won’t delve into that mess. The film is dark, twisted, and crafted with immense skill in all aspects. The atmosphere is palpable and watching Renn’s downward spiral is almost hypnotic. This is due in large part to the writing and direction, but also a strong performance from James Woods. He jumps into the character with both feet and becomes Renn, easily one of his finest efforts. Debbie Harry was an interesting cast choice and she is great here too, embracing the darkness quite well. Then you have eerie visuals and wild special effects, bolstering the film’s unnerving atmosphere even further. Not much else to really say here, as Videodrome is just a genre masterpiece that should be in any film buff’s collection.
A couple of topless scenes, including Debbie Harry. Otherwise, the only nudity is James Woods’ ass and some naked flesh in the videotapes he views. But I suppose the giant vagina in his chest could count, right? Speaking of the giant vagina, it is just one of the numerous disturbing special effects in Videodrome. The gore quotient rises with flesh based video tapes, a gun fusing with a hand, blood soaked gun shot wounds, organs spilling, and all kinds of other goodies. The bloodshed is high end too, so it looks sick and polished. As a bonus, you can see amateur ear piercing, which is always fun. A good amount of memorable lines, more for being awesome than anything else. Long live the new flesh is a mantra no one will forget. Videodrome is a wild, mind fuck of a movie that certainly ratchets up the insanity meter. The tone, the atmosphere, the special effects, it all adds up to a pretty damn crazy experience.
Overall Insanity: 8/10