Thursday, June 28, 2012
bad/awesome flixxx review: Videodrome (1983)
"The battle for the mind of North America will be fought in the video arena: the Videodrome. The television screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore, television is reality, and reality is less than television." - Father O'Blivion
"Death to Videodrome! Long live The New flesh!" - Max Renn
"You'll forgive me if I don't stay around to watch. I just can't cope with the freaky stuff. " - Barry Convex
Cronenberg's hi-tech sci fi horror thriller! A great companion piece to SCANNERS, Cronenberg was the cream of the crop when it came to freaky deaky in the early eighties. A flick that seems like 120 minute dream sequence starring James Woods and Debbie Harry, I present to you VIDEODROME!!!
Max Renn is the sleazy station manager of a low budget Toronto indie television station CIVIC TV. He's one of those guys who'll do anything for ratings and he knows that sex and violence is what the people want. So he's always on the look out for the creepy shit that is his bread and butter. He has a nerd dude who works for him that seeks out fucked up signals from one of those old school satellite dishes with feeds from all over the world. His nerd finds him a weak signal of a torture show from what they think is Malaysia called Videodrome.
Come to find out that Malaysian signal was just to throw people off the scent and the signal was really coming from... wait for it... PITTSBURGH!! So Max Renn is invited on this local talk show (presumably on some other channel). He's a guest with a guy who only appears via televised recorded(?) tapes named Father O'blivion and this hot chick named Nicki (Debbie Harry !!) who is like a radio self help lady. Max Renn immediately hits on her after her only giving a hint that she may be into some wild shit. Good call by him because she turns out to be a fucking CUTTER!!! Whoops! Nothing says head trip as fast as an arm full of cut marks. While they're flirting, the Father basically lays out the way television actually works here NOW in 2012 speaking about television and reality and reality television. PROPHETIC!!
So Max gets his nerd to record some Videodrome. He shows Nicky who turns out to be a straight up full on sadomasichist. She wants him to cut her and then burn her and all kinds of shit. She's super turned on by the torture shown in the Videodrome tape. Max gets so into this footage that he thinks he needs the rights to the show to broadcast it. He tries to get his friend to search it out for him by his friend who sells him shows. She finds out its real shit, and reluctantly gives him the name of the dude who MAY be able to help him get the footage he craves. Father O'blivion!!! Next thing you know, Nicky claims she has work to do down in Pittsburgh and she tells Max that she may go audition for the show. He warns her not to, but he can tell there's NO WAY this crazy bitch is going to listen to him.
Max seeks Father O'blivion. He meets the Father's daughter at the "Cathode Ray" Mission where homeless people are sheltered to watch television. She explains that her father won't meet with anyone in person. But the next day, Max receives a tape that "breathes". He has a vision that a slit is in his own torso. Later we figure out that this is to fit "living" VHS tapes in. He freaks out and O'blivion's daughter tells him her father has been dead for like 2 years, and that his answers will come from a man named Barry Convex. BUT she warns him to leave it all alone, but basically tells him Videodrome is a virus and that he is already infected, but gives him a bunch of tapes of her dad philosophizing crazily. Max seeks out Barry. He finds out his nerd was a plant to get him into Videodrome and to USE him to propagate its own nefarious plans. He tells him that they planned the whole thing and that his hallucinations would only get more intense but they wanted to video them so they may be able to help him. He agrees then has even worse ones. The whole plan is to give brain tumors (the same that killed O'blivion) to the scum of the Earth who would watch such stuff. So then Barry Convex puts a VHS in the slit in Max's chest and it makes him kill all his coworkers and then he goes on the lamb. He tries to kill O'blivian's daughter, but she somehow talks him out of it, and convinces him that he needs to kill the people who created Videodrome to stop it, which means killing Convex. So Max tracks him down and blows him away and his guts just bubble out of him like some alien was inside of him. Plus I forgot that the tape inside him made him lose a gun in his belly, only to find it later and it attach itself to his hand... PLUS that chick Nicky was already dead before he met her (somehow!) and also he killed his own nerd before he got Barry. Finally, he splits to hide on a boat but then Nicky appears to him on a tv that's on this old rotten boat somehow, telling him to kill himself. It shows him doing it, and then guts spill out of the tv, and then he says- "long live the new flesh" and blows his brains out. Should you check it out??? YES man! get on it!! On Netflix instant right now.