David Tsubouchi, who appears here briefly as a Japanese porn dealer, later became a Minister in the Ontario provincial government. His appearance in this controversial film as a pornographer was exploited by the opposition.
Among the scenes that were scripted but deleted was one where Max Renn's TV rises up out of his bathtub, while showing an image. The crew had researched how to do this - there had been talk of having the actor IN the tub - and had come up with several solutions. One involved filling the tub with a clear fluid that was non conductive, but that would have cost $25 a quart. The crew eventually decided to take a real TV and simply cover its insides with layers of waterproofing insulation. It worked - they dunked the TV into a swimming pool and found, to their astonishment, that TVs float due to the ultra-high vacuum inside the picture tube. The scene was axed just before it was to be filmed.
During filming of the Cathode Ray mission sequence, the film's gaffer, Jock Brandis, walked in and casually informed the crew that the power lines to the building were smoking because of the load imposed on them by the TV sets.
The TV station "Civic TV" is patterned after City TV, an actual television station which started out in Toronto and was particularly infamous for showing soft-core sex films as part of its late night programming schedule. At one point in the film, one of Max Renn's partners is called "Moses" which is a reference to City TV founder Moses Znaimer.
One of five Sci-Fi/Horror movies that were heavily promoted by Universal Pictures prior to their impending releases in 1982 and given prospective release dates. The others were: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Thing (1982) (both set release dates for that summer), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) (October), The Dark Crystal (1982) and Videodrome (1983) (December). This ultimately changed when Universal pushed back the film from its original slated release date to February 1983.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The chest-slit sequences had James Woods built into a couch with the chest-slit apparatus glued onto him. Woods swore he would never work with anything that had to be glued onto him ever again! During filming the sequences with the flesh-gun (which "fired" bursts of cold, vaporous gas), Woods played a prank on director David Cronenberg by smearing his (real) hand with blue paint and pretending he had frostbite.
An epilogue was planned but never filmed. In it, Max Renn, Bianca O'Blivion and Nicki Brand appear on the set of Videodrome. Bianca and Nicki are shown to have chest slits (vaginas) of their own, from which emerge strange mutated sex organs - this concept was also used in one of Cronenberg's earlier films, Rabid (1977). The scene was scrapped along with many others due to cost overruns, bad timing (Deborah Harry had stomach flu and James Woods was visiting relatives), and the sheer difficulty of executing such a special-effects scene. A number of other ambitious special effects sequences were also dropped.