Late to the Scary Movies! A review of Videodrome

Prologue by LarryvilleLife:

We won’t bother starting our intro by asking “How in the world have you never seen David Cronenberg‘s Videodrome?”  It’s not particularly odd to have never seen Videodrome.  In fact, MOST people have probably never seen Videodrome.  But we’re pleased to find that it popped up, a bit oddly, on the Late to the Scary Movies’s list, even though it’s probably less obviously a horror film than almost anything else on there.

Which is not to say that it isn’t scary, what with all the oooey-gooey, early-Cronenberg special effects and scenes of James Wood naked (not to mention its prophetic vision of humanity– literally– fusing with technology). We noticed recently that Late to the Movies wasn’t fond of Cronenberg’s The Fly, so we’re curious to read a reaction to his earlier work.  In our opinion, it’s still his best film (or at least the perfect summation of his themes). “Long Live the New Flesh!”  (Is this a famous film quote?  Probably not.  But it SHOULD be!).

LTTM review:

I am just now putting two and two together and realizing that David Cronenberg also directed Crash, which is not a movie I have seen but definitely have heard of. Interesting.

This movie is definitely bizarre and surreal, and isn’t shy about that from the start. James Woods plays a skeezy television producer who becomes interested in a pirated snuff film porn channel that one of his pirate satellite operators finds. He decides to try to pirate it and air it on his television channel because he believes this is the “future of television,” and in the meantime he shows it to his lady friend (Debbie Harry) who is very sexually aroused by it. She goes to Pittsburgh (the location of the channel’s signal) to audition for it and doesn’t return, yadda yadda, hallucinations, yadda yadda, FLESH GUN.

Okay, there’s a lot more in the middle there. There are some really deep themes here about technology and consuming media, a lot of good acting by James Woods and a lot of bad acting by Debbie Harry (but she’s pretty!). And I’m understanding now why the visuals and special effects were so central to The Fly– that’s Cronenberg’s thing. I still don’t like The Fly and I felt like the special effects enhanced the plot more in this case (AND there was no tearing off of any fingernails) but at least I understand the movie more. My previous experience with Cronenberg was with A History of Violence and I had been very disappointed by that movie since I felt it failed at recreating the graphic novel (which I loved).

I liked the movie but I think there were a few things I missed (because there’s a lot going on). I definitely appreciated the incredible special effects and I plan to watch this again several more times.

Face palm moment: N/A

Favorite part: Many of the hallucinations are really incredible. I think my favorite had to be anytime Woods’s stomach became a gaping hole/VCR, or the entire end scene with the television explosion and…flesh gun.

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment: This photo.


Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10): Maybe 7/10? I guess understanding a director makes more sense sometimes when you watch in the order the movies have been directed. I wish I had seen this before watching The Fly. I’m definitely planning to watch Crash in the next month or two.

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