Films to Watch: Videodrome


First it controls your mind, then destroys your body!

Erik Jorgensen, Staff Writer

People always talk about what’s on TV, but rarely discuss television’s effects on individuals and society. David Cronenberg’s 1983 dystopian film “Videodrome” examines the effects of media violence, predicting reality TV with disturbing foresight: “Videodrome. First it controls your mind, then it destroys your body.”

James Woods and singer Deborah Harry (Blondie) add a post-modern twist to the timeless love story: boy meets girl, boy and girl watch snuff film, girl leaves boy to star in snuff films, boy becomes mind-controlled assassin.

Woods plays Max Renn, president of a sex-and-violence TV station eager to broaden his audience with new perverted programming. Renn discovers Videodrome on a scrambled pirate transmission, consisting entirely of extreme mindless violence.

It also contains a hidden mind-control carrier signal that causes hallucinations and brain tumors.  Then things get weird.

Writer and Director David Cronenberg attended the University of Toronto at the same time Marshall McLuhan lectured in media studies. The “Medium is the Message” philosopher is credited with influencing Cronenberg’s ahead-of-its-time cult classic film.

If you are interested in films about television, violence and Blondie’s Deborah Harry, then Videodrome will both disturb and amaze with its foresight, surpassing both the elegance of real housewives and the culture of Jersey shore.