Reviewed on 2008 August 12
My favorite David Cronenberg flick is still Scanners. This is darker and more creative but not as much fun.
Slimy TV producer Max Renn (James Woods) is one of the head lizards of Channel 83, a station that beams glittery softcore as the bulk of its programming. Renn is always looking for the next big thing, and he thinks he finds it in a pirate station feed one night. It appears to be a woman being tortured, and most people would be repulsed by the fuzzy video. Renn hears cash registers. He learns the show is called “Videodrome”, and he wants to get this new bit of sleaze for his station. If Renn isn’t weird enough, we learn his girlfriend Nicki Brand (Deborah Harry) wants to actually audition for the thing.
Renn isn’t exactly a humanitarian but even he worries for Nicki and pleads with her not to go. He learns fractured bits and pieces about the show, and it gets more confusing. The feed seemed to come from the Far East, but originated from the wilds of…Pittsburgh. His cynical colleague Masha (Lynne Gorman), a tough bird who doesn’t blush at anything, even warns him away from Videodrome. Since Renn already hunted down and watched the feed, it may be too late for him.
There’s no coherent plot from this point, just bizarre imagery and a lot of gruesome bits where you’re wondering how much of this is going on in Renn’s warped mind. I liked the dark atmosphere Cronenberg maintained and the music was perfect, but it just wasn’t my thing.
Two chocolate morsels.