Any horror fan who has read my blogs or knows it’s no secret that I am heavily influenced by David Cronenberg’s 1983 masterpiece cautionary tale; “Videodrome”. Cathode Ray Terrors, itself, was inspired…okay, pretty much lifted from Videodrome; I just modified the ‘T’ to mean Terror instead of Tube yet this cancerous pirate broadcast channels does impart terror thru the tube. Thru the retina of the mind’s eye, as foretold by professor Oblivion.
Yet for all the fandom and admiration I have never written about Videodrome, its importance to me and its relevance to our current day state of constant need for over stimulation. My lovely wife, just last night, pointed out how during a sleepover for my youngest, the 4 little girls all aged between 9 and 10 were all multitasking between watching a movie right in front of them and interacting with their cell phones and tablets simultaneously. Kids today can’t even sit and watch a something on one screen, they have to have visual information shot at them from every angle.
David Cronenberg predicted this 30 some odd years ago. Of course, he took it a bit further. But remember I called it a ‘cautionary tale’. Max Renn’s thirst for badder and bolder content to air on Civic TV Channel 83 drove him to depths he was not prepared for, unveiling a sinister plot, a global conspiracy to control the masses thru the seemingly harmless television set. And what’s so different today? We’ve upgraded from CRT sets to flat screen plasmas, LCDs, LEDS, OLEDS and now beautifully curved, 4k screens that sucks you in and makes you its slave in all its high definition glory. We have 3D tvs, Oculus VR head sets not too dissimilar from the set Max gets to try out in Videodrome.
While there are other films that illustrate various types of ‘crowd control’ thru media, to me, none is as effective…as perverse, as Videodrome. As I write this blog, the ominous sounds of Howard Shore’s eerie score oscillate out my speakers. I can almost see them breathing, throbbing…yearning to be touched. I can listen to this score over and over and I feel it’s one of Mr Shore’s finest.
If you’re still reading this you have probably caught on that I am not really reviewing Videodrome…just rambling on about it…a fair assessment. I didn’t set out to review a 34 year old movie so much as to simply comment on its importance and relevance. You may disagree on how high of a pedestal I place this film on and, if you do, it could be because you have already experienced a video signal similar to Videodrome and it’s control is gestating deep inside your brain and there is no hope for you; you’re hooked. And maybe that’s the point of the film. Not so much a cautionary tale but a lamentation because we are already defeated. Sensory overload has already happened. What’s the solution to this disease of mind control thru over stimulation? Well, there’s Max Renn’s solution, which I won’t reveal here, or, there’s mine; get the balance right. Disconnect when you can. Don’t get sucked in…easier said than done. Especially since you’re probably reading this on your phone while something else is playing on your 4k flat screen right in front of you.
In the end, will watching Videodrome make you a different person? It just might. Definitely worth the trip, trust me. I’ve been taking it for years.If you know me and want to watch reach out and I’ll screen it. I never tire of watching.
Long live the new flesh!