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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: April 17: Videodrome


April 17: Videodrome

"A sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a very unusual fashion when he acquires a new kind of programming for his station."

   Videodrome is one f**ked up film. With graphic violence and old-school special effects so good that you can't help but continually think of how they made them. The film is a sci-fi classic. Directed and written by David Cronenberg, the film is a visual feast and a disturbing blend of violence, sex, and horror. Only a mind like Cronenberg could come up with something so bizarre. He employs all sorts of camera effects and sound effects to mess with your mind along with attacking so many of your senses. It does have its faults, but so much of it can be looked past as you know the flaws are simply casualties of the time it was made (1983). 

In the future we will revert to standard definition televisions (the size of your couch) rotary phones and of course, Betamax tapes. 

  The story of Videodrome is slightly confusing at first, but then you realize it's a sort of allegory to our continued obsession with media and how the sexual and violent boundaries continue to be stretched further and further away. Videodrome tells the story of Max Renn (James Woods), a TV executive who's tired of the usual programming he's made and seeks to find something new and revolutionary. He comes across a signal being broadcast from Asia that shows a program called Videodrome, a show that resembles a snuff film. Realizing it's something he could use, he begins to pirate the program and record it to use later. Everything starts getting really weird and Max is almost hypnotized into an altered state where Videodrome and his own reality begin to blur together in an orgy of sex and blood. 

And a tummy vagina! 

   Overall, Videodrome is so weird it really needs to be seen to be believed. The special effects alone are worth watching and there are a couple of scenes that blow away any CGI shit we have today. James Woods is good in the role of Max, but he plays second fiddle to the effects and the transformations that happen to his body. My biggest complaint would be that the story is a little confusing and lacking and much more could have been explained (the film is only 87 minutes long). Some of the technologies used are insanely dated and, believing the film to be a futuristic look of what's on the horizon, should not be taken seriously. I would recommend the film, however, but keep in mind it is certainly not for those with a weak stomach. 

The Good:
jaw-dropping special effects that you'll want to rewind over and over, just to try and get an idea of how they did it
The Bad:
a story that could use a little more explanation
The Ugly:
realizing movies from the 80's poorly predicted the future (cross your fingers for Back to the Future Part II, we have til 2015)

Overall: 7.5/10


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