TV can take its viewers to bizarre places. This journey is taken to its logical extreme with Videodrome. In the film, the TV takes us to a strange place, a dark place, a place where reality is meaningless and the world rots.
The sixth mainstream movie by Canadian horror guru David Cronenberg, Videodrome explores to the fullest the question “Why are we so enamored with sex and violence on TV?” The story follows Max Renn, the owner of a third rate TV station called Civic TV. Since the station is small and poorly funded, Max finds himself drawn to programs loaded with sex and violence. Once such program is brought to him by a pirate satellite, Videodrome. The program consists entirely of gruesomely realistic scenes of torture and mutilation. As Max further investigates the program, he finds himself thrown into a horrible new world filled with sadomasochistic hallucinations.
In the background looms the bizarrely irresistible Vicky Brand, the star of her own radio therapy program with bizarre sexual tastes for pain and pleasure. Also behind the scenes a mysterious man named Brian O’Blivion keeps appearing, though only through his television.
The genius of the film lies in the separation of reality from film. The movie expertly forces our eyes to the movies in the movie. We find ourselves drawn to and fascinated whenever a TV turns on in the movie. The from the enigmatic Professor Brian O’Blivion to the raunchy taboos of the Videodrome program, we begin to ignore the reality of boring Max Renn and his “real” world, just as he does. Many of the scenes are difficult to watch however which may or may not be the point of the film.
Videodrome is a relentless movie about the dangers of overstimulation and the effects it has on both the mind and the body. It will make you quiver, quake, gag, and gasp, but most of all, it will make you think. And that is what the best horror movies are supposed to do.