All of my horror friends have seen Videodrome, and they can pretty much be divided into two groups: Those who love it and those that are endlessly obsessed with it.
Seriously, this movie is way too important within the horror communities I know of for me not to have seen it as part of the 500. It’s talked about far too often. So I had to indulge.
The gist: We take a trip to Canada, smack dab in the early 1980s. There are no DVDs. It’s all VHS tapes, even at the top of the food chain in television. That’s where Max works: At the top of TV, on a way-up-there channel that specializes in edgier shows. Sex, murder, the whole bit. But Max is looking for something new, something visceral. Something that will truly shock and move the viewers.
It would be easy to dismiss Max as a purveyor of smut. But he’s a film nerd. He takes time to watch and observe what’s going on his channel. His apartment is riddled with tapes. One of which is of a weird new show his technicians have picked up on a pirate broadcast: Videodrome.
It seems like just a surreal, violent show. No plot, no recurring. Just violence. Max is fascinated by it. But then he finds himself hallucinating things. Awful things, like the dead bodies of his coworkers and televisions with skin and veins. Videodrome isn’t a show, it turns out. It’s a broadcast that directly works on your mind, forcing you to hallucinate and doubt your own view of reality. There’s nothing you can do, except watch.
What I “learned”: In light of Fifty Shades of Grey coming to theaters as a motion picture at the time I write this, it’s interesting to see how kink was treated in movies of the past. The masochistic love interest in this movie, played by freaking Debbie Harry, is treated as fundamentally broken. She’s “weird” and the product of a society overly saturated by violence. She’s a provocateur. She always thinks about sex and gravitates toward violence as her default mode. And yet… the S&M-based sex scenes between her and Max seem to contain pure intimacy. Their kinky acts feel based in seeking pleasure, not in exorcising some demon within Debbie Harry. I have to give this movie props for trying to develop a kinky character with a little bit of depth. We can always get better, and I hope we do. But it’s nice to see that it was on people’s minds even in the 1980s.
See this movie if you like: Movies that actively mess with your idea of what a movie should be. After watching it in full, I can’t yet give an honest opinion on whether or not I like it. I feel like a part of me has been reset. It’s not an unpleasant feeling, for sure. It’s just unnerving. It’s not what I expected from a movie people proclaim as being “awesome.” It’s not awesome, not in the way I’d describe Pacific Rim. It’s unnerving. It’s revolutionary.
Avoid this movie if: Body horror is really not your thing. For someone like me who loves it, it’s pretty tame. In fact, the gross parts are so sudden and random that it’s one of the movies I would propose to someone new to the concept of body horror. But it’s there
New Films Watched: 66
Films Re-Watched: 2
Total Number of Films: 68
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