Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Review: Videodrome

I can't believe I haven't seen…

Videodrome Poster

Videodrome (1983)
Cert: 18 / 88 mins / Dir. David Cronenberg / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7


Put your hand up if you'd forgotten how weird David Cronenberg's horror-output was? Ah. Just me, then. DC has a great knack for making his audience gawp, flinch and squirm, but never really feel; as disgusting as his gore is, it's presented with an almost nihilistic lack of emotion, and none moreso than in Videodrome.

The first half hour is the most interesting, as Cronenberg's overtly satirical scaremongering of the VCR generation's attitude to sex and violence turned out to be far more prescient of the internet (which existed for military and government networks in 1983, but obviously wasn't the beast it is now). Then, after starting a plot he doesn't mean to see to any sensible conclusion and ramping up the effects-work, the last half hour of the film collapses under the weight of its own subtext and symbolism, and everything basically becomes a red, wet, pulsating cheese-nightmare. It's not that the movie doesn't mean anything, but Videodrome is a classic example of a film where 'what happens' and 'what it's about' are two entirely different things; to the point where the shonky-looking effects don't interfere with your enjoyment (or otherwise) of the film at all, as the ideas behind them are timelessly grotesque.

James Woods manages to come out of the whole thing quite well, given the absurdity of his role, but the rest of the cast struggle a little under Cronenberg's purposely sterile writing/direction. And in that regard, Debbie Harrie is either one of the greatest actresses of all time or the absolute worst. Her mannequin-like performance dovetails into her character perfectly. I think?

Come on, how many films do you know that could feature the character names "Brian O'Blivion" and "Barry Convex" and still keep a straight face..?



Have you really never seen this before?
Despite somehow missing out on this, I caught a few of Cronenberg's flicks back in the day, but I think I was too young to full appreciate them.
Although I suspect this may actually still be the case...



So are you glad you've finally have?
Er… yes?


And would you recommend it, now?
I'd recommend it, but I wouldn't tell you you're necessarily going to enjoy it ;)


Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There are a metric shit-ton of screams in this movie, none of which are authored by Private Wilhelm.


…but what's the Star Wars connection?
James Woods performed voice-over work for the animated Clerks series, as did Phil 'Kit Fisto in The Clone Wars / Bail Organa in Rebels' LaMarr.


And if I HAD to put a number on it…




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• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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