The 1980s saw a fascinating development in both Horror and Science Fiction movies… that development being the use of media in these genres as a means for murder or enslavement… A couple of examples of this being:
1. They Live (1988): In this movie, Aliens which are invading planet Earth use stuff like TV, Newspapers, Books etc, as a means to pacify the human race in an effort to take over the planet.
2. Stay Tuned (1992): In this movie a husband and wife are sucked in to TV itself and to get out of their predicament they have to try and survive various and strange TV shows.
Another great example of this is Videodrome (1983):
Written and Directed by: David Cronenberg (The Fly). Starring: James Woods (Once Upon A Time In America), Deborah Harry (Rock & Rule), Sonja Smits (That’s My Baby), Peter Dvorsky (The Dead Zone) and Jack Creley (Snow Job).
Videodrome tells the story of Max Renn (Woods). Now Max Renn owns a small little cable access TV station that specializes in more bizarre TV programming, called, ‘Civic TV’. Now Civic TV releases everything from soft core porn to TV shows with heavy violence in it!
So it goes with out saying, that while scouting for new shows, Max discovers at a pirated satellite location a TV show that looks cheap, easy to make and really bloody, called Videodrome.
Now after this, Max goes on to a talk show to discuss his TV channels role in the violence in media as well as the use of gratuitous sex in media as well.
While he is there he ends up meeting Professor Brian O’Blivion (Creley) and Nicki Brand (Harry) who are both guests on the show (He ends up taking Nicki home with him later on.)
Now after all of this goes down, he decides to hire a friend of his to go and try and find out who owns Videodrome.
After his friend comes back in to town, she try’s to warn Max off of his search to acquire this series, but when she fails at this point, she ends up telling Max that the only name she has for Videodrome is for Professor Brian O’Blivion. So Max races off to a sort of Mission that is currently being run by Professor O’Blivion’s daughter Bianca (Smits). When he tries to get in to see the Professor, Bianca decides to snow ball Max’s attempts to see him.
So with assurances that she will send out a recorded message to him from Professor O’Blivion, he ends up heading home. Now later on that evening, he ends up getting a delivery from his personal assistant of a couple of videotapes. One of them is his videotape for his wake up call tomorrow morning, and the other one is the video tape from Professor O’Blivion’s office.
When he gets the 2 video cassettes, is when the first time that he hallucinates, and thinks that he is beating up his assistant.
So with his hallucinations getting worse and worse, and his obsession with the Videodrome growing. Max will discover that the world of Videodrome is not just another TV show, but so much more!
With that said, what I like about this movie and what I truly think makes this movie an Awesome B Movie is a couple of things:
1. The story involving a signal from a Television program that can kill is both fascinating, and very entertaining!
2. I also thought that you guys might find this to be rather interesting, but originally their had been an epilogue planned for the movie but never filmed due to the fact that James Woods and Deborah Harry were both unavailable at the time.
3. A majority of the trailer for this movie was made on a Commodore 64 (A classic computer that was one of the earliest known personal computers).
4. According to some of the research that I did on this movie it turns out that artist Andy Warhol had likened this movie to Malcom McDowell’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) calling it, ‘A Clockwork Orange of the 80s’.
5. The last thing that I thought that I would mention here is the fact that the TV station in this movie that Max runs ‘Civic TV’ was patterned off of a Toronto area TV station, ‘City TV’ which was notorious for putting on shows that are different then your basic average programming.
With that said folks, if your looking for a fun, edge of your seat classic, then I highly recommend this one. It is a fun one!