Thursday, December 8, 2011

Videodrome


  This was... beyond trippy.
Its a great high-concept movie with loads of pure weird. Directed by the amazing David Cronenberg, Videodrome is about a sleazy cable TV programmer, Max Renn (played wonderfully by James Woods), who uncovers a strange and unknown broadcast called 'Videodrome', featuring nothing but nonstop S&M, torture, mutilation and murder 24/7.  Max is captivated by the show. He finds himself wondering if its all staged, or if its as brutally real as it looks.

   He sets out to get answers, but at every turn he's left with bigger and more serious questions. Pretty soon... some very strange things begin to happen to max. His life begins to turns upside down, and his world spins wildly out of control. The deeper he digs, the more the line between fantasy and reality is blurred. Is Videodrome a government experiment? Or is it part of something far more sinister...? Its almost like 8mm, with a Sci-Horror/surrealist twist.

  One great moment in the movie is when Max comes to realize something quite shocking that I won't spoil here, but a character in that delightfully creepy scene says to him... "Why would anybody watch a scum show like Videodrome...? Why did you watch it, Max?"
The line is chilling. The implications are chilling. And not just in this scene, and not just pertaining to Max... you could very well ask the same about the movie itself. Its wall to wall surreal gore and strange sex.

  Why did you watch Videodrome? Another scene in the movie highlights my point exactly.
Its an exchange between Max and a business friend of his, Masha. He says about the show:
"It's just torture and murder. No plot, no characters. Very, very realistic. I think it's what's next."
And she just replies: "Then God help us..."
Its a wonderful little conundrum. Is this stuff entertainment? What exactly do you get out of it?
Of course, the movie feels rather tame next to 8mm in terms of impact, objectivity and seriousness.
The movie often dips into extremely surreal territory, especially in the last half of the movie. This unfortunately renders any social commentary it had, into a mere whisper in the background.

  Of course this whole theme could've supported a whole movie and produced quite a gripping thriller. But this isn't primed to do what 8mm was, you know. Its a horror movie first off. Set up to screw with your sense of reality. And that is honestly fine. It works wonderfully as late night fodder for some really messed up dreams and such. It really does practically feel like a bad dream. This urging sense of dread pushing forward as it gets stranger and stranger. And like any good bad dream it flirts with some dark erotica too. The erotica in Videodrom is far too odd to make you uncomfortable and squirm in your seat, but fear not, the rest of the movie is chock full of mind-bending, hair raising, cringe inducing, squirm worthy moments.

  Videodrome is a full-on weird trip that is ambiguous in all the right ways to keep you guessing. You're unsure about everything. Its a very creepy feeling that will leave you saying... "What the hell did I just watch?" Any other movie, and that would be an insult. But Videodrome kind of stands apart from a select crowd as a movie thats weird for weird's sake. Its not supposed to be wrapped up neatly.
Its one of those late night gems that you wanna show your friends, just to weird them out. It takes pride in its strangeness. It embraces it as few movies do, and for this, its an awesome flick thats worth checking out.

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