Hardcore pornography, sadomasochism, mind control, and living televisions all play crucial roles in Videodrome, one of director David Cronenberg's explorations of dangerous sexuality and technological obsession. The morally questionable hero of the tale is one Max Renn (James Woods), a television executive searching for an intense new program for his sex-oriented network. He ultimately discovers an underground program called "Videodrome," which appears to broadcast pornographic snuff films of actual murders. Horrified but perversely intrigued, Renn sets out to find the truth behind the program. During his search, he meets alluring femme fatale Nicki (Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry), technology cult leader Bianca O'Blivion, and other mysterious figures. Things become even more disturbing for Renn as his addiction grows, and the program begins to infect the outside world -- or perhaps merely destroy own his sanity. Cronenberg mingles his cerebral concerns about the nature of reality in the video age with enough visceral gore (courtesy of Rick Baker) to satisfy the film's intended horror audience.
Disc 1: New high-definition digital transfer of the unrated version, with restored image and sound and enhanced for widescreen televisions
Two audio commentaries: David Cronenberg and director of photography Mark Irwin, and actors James Woods and Deborah Harry
Camera (2000), a short film starring Videodrome's Les Carlson, written and directed by Cronenberg
English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
Disc 2: Forging the New Flesh, a new half-hour documentary featurette by filmmaker Michael Lennick about the creation of Videodrome's video and prosthetic makeup effects
Effects Men, a new audio interview with special makeup effects creator Baker and video effects supervisor Lennick
Bootleg Video: the complete footage of Samurai Dreams and seven minutes of transmissions from "Videodrome," presented in their original, unedited form with filmmaker commentary
Fear on Film, a 26-minute roundtable discussion from 1982 between filmmakers Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis, and Mike Garris
Original theatrical trailers and promotional featurette
Stills galleries featuring hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes production photos, special effects makeup tests, and publicity photos
Plus: a 40-page booklet featuring an essay by film critic Carrie Rickey, excerpts from an unpublished book on Videodrome by film critic and publisher Tim Lucas, and a new essay by novelist and culture critic Gary Indiana
James WoodsMax Renn
Sonja SmitsBianca O'Blivion
Deborah HarryNicki Brand
Les CarlsonBarry Convex
Jack CreleyProf. Brian O'Blivion
Lally CadeauRena King
Harvey ChaoJapanese Salesman
Howard ShoreComposer (Music Score)
Carol SpierProduction Designer
Pierre DavidExecutive Producer
Victor SolnickiExecutive Producer
Delphine WhiteCostume Designer
Frank CarereSpecial Effects
Rick BakerMakeup Special Effects
Media Satire,Sci-Fi Horror
Year of Release
Special Edition, Criterion Collection, 2 Discs, DVD
Back in 2010 Criterion upgraded their already seminal 2-disc DVD set of Videodrome to Blu-ray with thankfully flying colors.
Videodrome tells the story of Max Renn (played by James Woods), executive at a controversial TV station out of Canada. When his tech wizard finds a broadcast featuring a brutal murder for an underground show called Videodrome Max gets interested and seeks it out with the help of a radio host played By Blondie's lead singer Deborah Harry. When Max starts to have violent and erotic hallucinations he finds himself in the middle of dark political conspiracy orchestrated by a shady government agent played by Leslie Carlson.
Criterion's Blu-ray boast a solid transfer approved by director David Cronenberg and cinematographer Mark Irwin. Despite the disc's age the transfer holds up perfectly capturing Cronenberg's gray, industrial Toronto with no hiccups. Also solid is the restored Mono audio which is up to Criterion's usual standards. The release is packed with bonus features from an interesting short film featuring Carlson called Camera which Cronenberg shot in 2000, documentaries on the films special effects, a 1982 round table discussion with Cronenberg and Horror legends John Carpenter and John Landis, and two excellent commentary tracks one featuring James Woods and Deborah Harry and the other with the director himself. Both are never boring and worth a listen. The film comes package in Criterion's usual plastic box this time with a neat slipbox and 36-page booklet with multiple essays.
Videodrome is a dark and sleazy classic with a lot to say about the rise of technology and it's effect on the human condition. Loaded with gore and sexuality but nevertheless an important and profound work that anyone interested with the stomach for it should see. Highly recommended.
this is kind of a mash of Dead Zones for shadowing and Scanners paranoia. I am a huge fan of cronenberg's early films, rabid is a fave. I even like watching Jason X just to see DC pop up in a weird cameo. Not a giant James Wood fan but this is probably one of his best. he falls into the arrogant role with ease and convinces when losing his mind.
This masterful work created by the one and only David Cronenberg explores the boundaries of reality, and what isn’t. The Criterion Collection released this movie with a brilliant remaster, and it’s undoubtedly a classic, please watch it if you haven’t already.