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When he acquires a different kind of show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality.

Director:

David Cronenberg
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3,570 ( 308)
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Woods ... Max Renn
Sonja Smits ... Bianca O'Blivion
Debbie Harry ... Nicki Brand (as Deborah Harry)
Peter Dvorsky ... Harlan
Leslie Carlson ... Barry Convex (as Les Carlson)
Jack Creley ... Brian O'Blivion
Lynne Gorman ... Masha
Julie Khaner ... Bridey
Reiner Schwarz Reiner Schwarz ... Moses
David Bolt David Bolt ... Raphael
Lally Cadeau Lally Cadeau ... Rena King
Henry Gomez Henry Gomez ... Brolley
Harvey Chao Harvey Chao ... Japanese Salesman
David Tsubouchi David Tsubouchi ... Japanese Salesman
Kay Hawtrey ... Matron
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Storyline

Max Renn is the President of Channel 83 Civic-TV, a small television station on the UHF dial. He defends his programming of largely X-rated shows - which depict graphic sex and extreme violence - as a pure matter of economic survival as a small station. Behind closed doors in specific company, he would admit that he enjoys such programming, but as President will stay away from associated activities that may be dangerous for him in its purchase. His current girlfriend, radio personality Nicki Brand, who he met on a television talk show, is sexually aroused by light mutilation on her person, that despite or because her radio show is like an open air crisis hotline. On that same talk show, the other guest via video feed was Professor Brian O'Blivion - solely his stage name - who believes that television and video broadcasts will one day overtake the world as reality, which may make Max's programming in combination more dangerous. In Max's search for the next big thing in like programming... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

First it controlled her mind, then it destroyed her body... Long live the new flesh! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 February 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Videodrome See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,952,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,194,175, 6 February 1983, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$2,120,439, 13 February 1983
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Debbie Harry dyed her signature blonde hair red for this movie. See more »

Goofs

When Max returns to Spectacular Optical near the end of the film, a sign for prescriptions reads 'perscriptions'. See more »

Quotes

Brian O'Blivion: That's why I never appear on television, except when I'm on television.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The VIDEODROME title experiences a TV white noise distortion. See more »

Alternate Versions

The director's cut (available in the US on VHS and DVD) contains the following additional footage:
  • During the "Samurai Dreams" scene, a dildo, only partly shown in the "R" rated version, is fully visible.
  • The first shot of videodrome in Harlan's workroom runs longer.
  • The next scene in Harlan's workroom shows a different, and more graphic take of videodrome broadcast.
  • The scene in which Max pierces Nicki's ear has been extended.
  • The shot of Max shooting his second partner is slightly longer.
  • Barry Convex's death goes another shot.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Video Bone (1986) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"Videodrome" - Cronenberg takes on the media
22 September 2005 | by dee.reidSee all my reviews

It takes the slightest peeks at his career to figure out David Cronenberg ("The Fly," "Dead Ringers," "Naked Lunch," "The Dead Zone," the upcoming "A History of Violence") is a director who is not to be toyed with. I forgot to add in his 1983 horror movie "Videodrome," and there is a reason for that, which I'll talk about later. His works provoke intelligent thought, and terrify those who can't comprehend it. His films stimulate, offend, and move those who care to watch them with an open mind.

Allow me to (try) explain. I won't bother to go into detail about the plot. A sleazy, lowlife TV producer named Max Renn (James Woods) rapidly becomes obsessed with an unusual television signal, which in turn begins to warp his perceptions of reality. Get it? Nah, of course you don't. You're not going to let a one-sentence plot description and, if you own the Criterion Collection DVD, the three essays included deter you from watching it, are you?

You're also not going to let scenes of grisly torture, unspeakable violence, murder, "flesh guns," human VCRs, exploding cancer-deaths (poor Leslie Carlson as Barry Convex), pulsating video cassettes, Deborah Harry in S&M and morphing televisions turn you away, are you? What's more, you're not going to let Woods's effectively "wooden" performance here (his sticking his face into a "living" television) turn you away either?

I won't even try to pretend I understood what was going through Cronenberg's mind when he wrote and directed this picture. I also won't pretend I understood the essays included with the DVD (and I don't think the writers did either). It's warped, it's perverted, it's depraved, and it's insanely intriguing and fascinating. The masses are frightened by "Videodrome" and with good reason. "Videodrome" is Cronenberg's dastardly take on mass-media consumption during a time when television was afraid... afraid to be real. Media violence had not yet become a major issue in America and hypocritical politicians weren't condemning it. But keep in mind this film was made in '83, years before the mind-blowing reality-morphing of "The Matrix" (1999).

There's a little more that I think I can get away with in describing the plot, and Renn eventually traces the signal to Pittsburgh, and is introduced to the station's enigmatic programmer Brian O'Blivion (Jack Creley) and his daughter Bianca (Sonja Smits). He learns of the bizarre nature surrounding Videodrome, and the fate of those of who watch it. As he becomes more and more obsessed, he finds it nearly impossible to turn it off, or turn away. Then those mutations and hallucinations Cronenberg is famous for start happening and when that does, things become nasty and the queasy may want to keep a finger on the fast-forward button. It's no secret Cronenberg loves torturing his protagonists and here, the "new flesh" wants to live long and Woods has the nice warm body perfect for it - he becomes a literal media assassin with a vaginal slit in his stomach that doubles as a programmable VCR and also has a handgun fused to his wrist - he's a virtual slave to Videodrome.

Lastly, the eerie, driving score by Howard Shore swells up during the film's most intense and surreal moments, the most lovely being Woods's lovemaking with his television. I always watch Cronenberg films at least partially for Shore's music. Now I know why Cronenberg selects him for his soundtracks.

"Videodrome," I think, has a lot more relevance today than it did 22 years ago. It's more visceral than gross, is quite brilliant, and doesn't spare us graphic violence and gore. It's alive, it's "Videodrome."

8/10


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