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Reporter Edison Carter discovers that an advertising medium developed by the
TV network he works for is killing viewers. The network attempts to
'dispose' of him and replace him with a computer generated version. And so
the story goes...
This is a really good film, taking the bleak vision of Blade-Runner and injecting a little 20th century realism. Set in a world where TV networks rule and the population is made up of couch potatoes who rarely venture into the desolation outside their doors, Max Headroom is frighteningly plausible and potentially very downbeat.
However, the story has enough lighter moments to balance the overall darkness of the film and together with a likeable and talented cast, this is a thoroughly enjoyable film that - like its content - was maybe a bit too ahead of its time. 10/10.
The original version of this film, which was titled 120 minutes into the
Future (I believe) was by far one of the most impressive and subversive
things I have seen on TV. The premise involves the idea that Blipverts,
high-speed advertisements, are allowing the TV stations to create more ad
time, but are also at risk of causing the most indolent members of society
to spontaneously combust.
This is absolutely wonderful!
The whole Max Headroom angle was never really exploited until this became a (too short lived) TV series shortly after. However, this movie is nothing short of being among the most impressive and visionary movies ever made, and by far one of the most interesting (and underrated) cyberpunk tales told.
The low-budget enhances the bleakness of this dystopic future, and the utter pessimism about the future of mankind is palpable at every moment. Watching the TV zombies wander the streets in search of more TV, the dark rooms where the future of man (and media) is decided... the burnt-out buildings, the police-state siege mentality. I have rarely seen anything this ambitious attempted in the past.
This movie warned us about the dangers of mass media, and managed to do it in a way that was not ironic and was highly entertaining. Run out and find this movie if you can (I have seen it on tape, and Sci-Fi channel runs it occasionally). Go... NOW!
I happened on the "Max Headroom: 20 minutes into the future" film on
the cable channel Cinemax by accident in 1986 or so. The story, the
setting, and the characters drew me in and I was blown away. It had the
dreary, rainy, dark mood of "Blade Runner" and "Alien" with a touch of
film noir where everyone smokes and the surrounding city is dirty and
decaying. The cautionary tale of corporate control is dead on target
even becoming more true than when this film came out.
There is an underground of people who don't exist - called 'Blanks' - and others who kidnap and kill people to sell their organs at the local tissue collection agencies.
Amongst this backdrop is Edison Carter - played by Matt Frewer - star reporter for Network 23. He uncovers evidence that his employer is killing viewers in an effort to generate more ad revenue. Instead of "killing the story" as happens today, the bosses decide to kill Edison. They have a problem in doing this however. Being that Edison is the star of the network, if he dies then people will know something is up. Enter teen genius Bryce Lynch - played by Paul Spurrier - who does his best thinking while taking a bath, downloads Edison's brain into a computer. He uses that to create a computer version of Edison in hopes of fooling the viewers.
All is not well when virtual Edison takes the name Max Headroom and escapes the control of Lynch and Network 23.
Helped by the lovely Theora Jones - played by Amanda Pays - and the leader of the Blanks, Blank Reg - played by William Morgan Sheppard - Max puts the screws on Network 23 and the whole corporate control culture.
Frewer is a hoot as Max. His zingers through out the movie help lighten the dark tones and Max is not just a computer clone of Edison. Max is how Edison wishes he could be.
Pays is lovely as Edison's and later Max's producer. She and Max have a good relationship.
Sheppard's Blank Reg is an aging punk rocker with a Mohawk to boot. He has it all figured out.
If you get a chance to see this movie then do it. You won't be sorry.
Like the TV show that followed it, the "Max Headroom" movie was a great grim look into a bleak, Blade-Runner-esque future ruled by corporations who keep the proletariat down by anesthetizing them with junk food and mind-numbing television pageantry. The parallels are frightening, or haven't you seen a Jerry Springer audience lately? The UK movie is, if anything, even grittier and more creepy than the eventual US pilot and TV series. It's out of print, but well worth searching out -- a dramatic, thought-provoking example of everything that's good about science fiction.
I grew up as a teen in the 80s being a HUGE computer geek back when the
term wasn't popular. There was something special about Max Headroom, &
I still to this day (1/24/2005) think it was one of the BEST TV shows
made! It was the only show I made time for...otherwise I was outside
with friends or doing some programming with my Commodore 64 (once I
found out Amiga computers were used in the show I **wanted** one.
Sometime later I bought one, I still believe the Amiga IS the BEST
computer platform there has ever been. Windows just doesn't match up.
Anyway, I digress...
I loved the humor of Max Headroom/Edison Carter. Matt pulled the characters off very well. The show really did inspire the young hacker in me as well as the fantasy idea (of the time) for computer generating a Computer Character like Bryce did. ;) Hehe. The sense of humor was awesome, the character roles were very good & it touched very WELL on the Truth of TV!!! :D
I would love to see all of the episodes, commercials U.S & U.K., talk shows, & the Paranomia music video by The Art Of Noise come out on DVDs. Everything that was Max Headroom should be on DVD by *NOW*!! A lot of other junk TV like Sienfeld, Friends, etc have made it to DVD & they don't have the loyal following that MAX does. Common, we're WAITING to spend our hard earned $$ on MAX HEADROOM DVDs Loaded with EXTRAS, interviews, the Car Commercial, & so MUCH MORE. Get that stuttering dude on DVDs!!!! It's WAAAAAAAAY past time, Folks!!
As we used to say in the 80s... MAX HEADROOM for President!! At least THAT talking Head says something worth hearing!! :D
Bravo to Bravo for when they aired MAX HEADROOM without commercials. I miss MAX on Cinemax, too!
I looked up Max on IMDb to see if I could find any information about
the powers that be putting it on DVD. This was one of my favorite shows
(along with Moonlighting, Magnum PI, Thirty Something, and Murphy
Brown). I agree that it was intelligent and worth taping or scheduling
your time around and SHOULD be produced on DVD!!! Get to it!!
For all those who never had the good fortune of being able to view this show, I would compare it to a cross between Robocop on a computer network and combined with the comedy of Jim Carey on steroids. Max, the main character of the show, exists as the personality and life form of the computer--it's not-so-artificial artificial intelligence.
I don't remember much else about the show, which is one reason I would love to see it again, because I love to reminisce, but as the previous posting pointed out...they only seem to come up with shows that have just been running and, mostly, are of no interest to me. So, put it out, Powers That Be!
I loved this film back in the 80s, and its story of CGI characters to
replace real people for TV is easily a possibility now. This is my
favourite film ever, infact I only found out today that the its less than
hour long - theres so much going on Id swear it was 90 mins
Anyone who is remotely into Sci Fi or computer graphics should see this, or anyone who just likes unusual films and fancies a break from the norm without being bored.
If this was a Manga cartoon instead of a British film, it would be massive!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
i have two versions of this movie the first one is just the 60 minute version the second uk version is the same movie with extra max headroom dialog and music videos when blank reg firsts puts on max in the big time TV bus max and reg talk and dominique says he could have his own show max starts to play music videos. there are music videos by squeeze,xtc,queen,the vapours, the untouchables, my favourite video here is making plans for nigel, just before grosmen says get me bryce max plays a music video by the untouchables free your self you see more max telling jokes(very funny) and extra scene's of theora and Edison i hope one day every thing max did will be on DVD, its a shame this was never followed on as a uk TV series and let us see what happened to network 23 etc instead it was remade in the us the series was good but the uk stands out far better
For some reason unknown to me I received this video as a prize/gift
from a company called 'Argus Press' who in the early '80's were one of
many prolific ZX Spectrum games producers. Don't remember entering a
competition, but there you go....
Anyhow, the film was brilliant, and not to be confused with the later TV series that, from the other write ups, I now learn of.
If this film is not on DVD then it should be. The dark urbun setting of some nightmare future is perfectly portrayed and the story is much as has been described in previous reviews.
Blipverts! - I'm surprised they aren't on Fox nowadays, in saying that the most indolent members of society may be most at risk there! The one thing that hasn't been mentioned, but that should be emphasized, is the fantastic soundtrack, coming as it did from the pen of Midge Ure who had recently departed the prolific 'Ultravox'. The setting, soundtrack, script and performance from a tremendous bunch of characters made this a film that, to this day, I still pull out of the loft and watch on my annual pilgrimage back home for Christmas.
To me its the urbun dystopia, the (then) futuristic use of desktop computers to track the action and the soundtrack that made this one hell of a movie and one of the most unsung of the 1980's.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Why this movie has never been put to DVD is beyond me. A wonderful cast
of actors, Matt Frewer, Morgan Shepherd, Hilary Tindall, Paul Spurrier,
Amanda Pays, Paul Spurrier and George Rossi.
Matt Frewer and Amanda Pays are TV reporters who find out that a corporate TV company that controls what people watch run by Ben Chevio (Constantine Gregory) is developing a new type of advert - a Blipvert - to entice people to buy goods, unfortunately it has some unexpected side effects, Max Headroom (Matt Frewer) is created following a slight accident whilst trying to get away from Paul Spurrier and George Rossi (Breugal and Mahler - body part dealers who have been retained by its designer, Byrce Lynch (Paul Spurrier) to dissuade people from finding out about the project.
Whilst escaping on a motorbike Frewer hits a closing remotely closed by Bryce car parking barrier and suffers head injuries, Frewer' personality is taken from his brain by Byrce Lynch and made into a computer generated TV icon as a pet project.
Blank Reg (Morgan Shepherd) and Dominique (Hilary Tindall) owners of BIGTIME TV find the computer containing Max by accident and decide - when they power it up and see Max, to broadcast him as a presenter on their network.
Theora Jones (Amanda Pays) then attempts to regain the personality to put back into Frewers head after rescuing him from the body bank.
There's a lot more to it but overall an excellent movie, if the powers that be don't release this to DVD they themselves should receive a visit from Breugal and Mahler themselves.
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