Bill is worried that he is 'different' to his sister and parents. They mix with other 'upper class' people while Bill is more down to earth. Even his girlfriend seems a bit odd. All is revealed when Bill returns home to find a party in full swing. Not for the weak of stomach.Written by
Parts Blue Velvet and Videodrome, parts Repo Man and Braindead, this thing rocks and is surely one of the cult classics from the decade that you just have to see (forget The Warriors).
The 80's had a strange resonance. It seemed as though nothing was happening, nothing beyond spending and watching TV. It was morning again in America, but a kind of peculiarly false morning as though someone had reached out with a brush and painted false skies. You couldn't even trust it was day, much less anything else. So, something had to be happening that wasn't so clear at first sight, had to. It had to be ugly, since everything looked idyllic. It couldn't be that Watergate had been exposed and that was that.
But it couldn't be a political cinema anymore either, not in a convincing manner, since the people seemed satisfied. So Taxi Driver transformed into Videodrome. Both films are about a helpless observer of a life awash with foulness, but in the second case, he's a corporate type, and he's watching a TV broadcast, a TV broadcast that reveals something malicious in the airwaves that transmit reality that is just gnarly and insane beyond belief. Both films perceptively suggest the damage is in the retina of the mind's eye, and that damage is not a simple madness: the images madden.
This is much less strategic, of course. It was made near the end of the decade, so with enough hindsight to pass around buckets of paranoid blame. The satire is screamingly obvious, because who'd believe something so simple anyway, a conspiracy so pervasive, so blatantly evil, which is the clever little device used here: the film delivers subversive blows in the same channel as the people consumed reality on TV, the channel that played soap opera and assured life was something like it.
Watching the rich and privileged for weeks on end engage with utmost seriousness in lachrimose trifles about sex and power, is rendered here as a kind of goofy, since it was a TV lifestyle, malevolent conspiracy for sex and power over the viewer.
This alone would make the film required 80's viewing. It's a lot of fun, sunny, increasingly unhinged. It's strongly anchored on this end by having a famous TV star of the time in the role of the (paranoid) observer.
The icing on the cake is the unforgettable finale that parodies its own soap-operatic parody: the sexual games mockingly turn into an actual orgy for power. You get to see an actual 'butthead', among other slimy things.
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