'Videodrome' Review: Long Live the New Flesh
Videodrome is a strange, deep, and disturbing film; it's also one of my favorite horror films. It's quotable and fucked up in the best way possible. There are few things better than a man with a chest vagina having a VHS stuffed into his chest or making out with his TV. Most of the film is spent questioning "what the fuck did I just watch" since it is hard to distinguish between reality and the digital world in the film.
The mind fuck begin with James Woods as Max Renn who owns Civic TV, which is essentially the bottom of the barrel programming like TLC or Bravo. It shows softcore pornography, hardcore violence, and anything else too lewd for the mainstream viewers. Wren, through means of a cable pirate, finds a rogue TV channel called Videodrome that seems to show real executions. What happens next needs to be seen to be believed as chest vaginas open, hands become guns, and men explode into bits of what looks like General Tso's chicken. It doesn't toe the line it jumps over it with reckless disregard for the viewer's well being.
The effects in the film are top notch which is to be expected in a David Cronenberg film and disgusting as well. Renn has what can only be described as a vagina open on his chest and it pulsates with desire for VHS cassettes. Its really fucking weird and pretty nasty as there are no other films that can pull off chest vagina other than a Cronenberg. Along with the chest vaginas, there are also a number of disgusting transformations that take place in the film such as Renn's hand melds with the gun in his hand. The gun sprouts tentacles and pierces his flesh, driving itself deep into his body, melding steel with flesh. Its pretty awesome and gross at the same time, shades of The Fly.
A special mention goes out to Brian O'Blivion, the professor who lives in the retina of the mind's eye otherwise known as the TV. It is revealed about halfway through the film that his character has been dead for quite some time yet lives on through the TV. It is shown that he recorded thousands of videos worth of responses so that he could continue to live on through the TV with the responses carefully crafted together. It's pretty fucked up though because he talks directly to some of the characters that he has never met before. O'Blivion is one of the stand outs of the film and further cements the brilliance of Cronenberg as a true genius scriptwriter.
Watch Videodrome. Get lost in it like Max Renn. It will cause you to question what you know and feel about the influence of television on daily life. It might also freak you the fuck out with all of the chest vaginas and "handguns" as well as wanton murder and mutilation. It's a truly great film and one that is deeper than it let ons and begs for future viewings. Give into the Videodrome, and prepare to let the new flesh live on.
Final Say: Watch It
Who Said What?
Brian O'Blivion: "The television screen is the retina of the mind's eye."