All I need to say about this is: David Cronenberg. If that makes you think that Videodrome (1982) will be something off the beaten path then you know what to expect. Cronenberg likes the strange and out-there in his films—Crash (not the Crash from a few years ago but the ‘90s Crash about car wrecks and sex!), Dead Ringers—among many others that will freak you out. Needless to say, I’m a fan.
Videodrome stars James Woods as a TV exec named Max who stumbles across a hardcore s/m satellite feed called Videodrome. The signal is so real that it might be a snuff film but he still wants it to air on his channel that shows a lot of soft-core porn. Max meets a woman named Nickie (Debbie Harry, in her first acting role) who is into s/m and who also sees the video and gets drawn into its dangerous world.
I don't want to say much on the plot, as it would spoil some of the twists or turns into weirdness that develop. I really enjoyed Videodrome as it excels as what is a fantasy/reality horror film but also pushes buttons regarding issues such as the power of TV in the world and how it is connected to sex and violence in our lives.
One of Cronenberg's main obsessions seems to be the application of technology in our daily existence. In Videodrome, technology is literally inserted into the human body where it forces total control over the person's life. In one of Cronenberg's most recent films, eXistenZ (1998), some of the same themes cropped up. Both films use startling images of technology, as it becomes a part of the human body. Those ideas creeping up today in this world of machines is not much of a surprise but to have them so graphically expressed in '82 by Cronenberg is downright chillingly visionary.
Videodrome is a bizarre mind bender with fantasy and reality merging in a world of thought control, technology, sex, violence, TV, paranoia and philosophical cults. Very recommended if you want to step out of the mainstream into the darkness of the wilds and let Cronenberg lead the way. Long live the new flesh!