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Videodrome

Year: 1983
Studio: Canadian Film Development Corporation
Director: David Crononberg
Writer: David Crononberg
Cast: James Woods, Deborah Harry

David Cronenberg made a movie very much of its time with this flick, and he was at the height of his fascination with how flesh and technology merge, often to disgusting ends. He was also in his early Romero-esque phase where his films were all concept and little else (certainly not a special effects budget or interesting script).

But even with decent money behind it and a few more passes over the screenplay, even if the technology depicted in the film didn't date it so distinctly, I still don't know if I would have thought much of it. It was as much like the work of David Lynch as Cronenberg.

A ridiculously young James Woods is a TV executive always looking for the next big thing. He employs a pirate signal scanner to find juicy shows on international bands, and when he finds a show that depicts nothing but women being beaten and tortured he knows he's onto a trashy winner.

But in tracking down the group that produces and airs it he descends into a nightmarish world where TVs breathe like living things, he can hide a gun in his own stomach via a vagina-like opening in his abdomen, and his new lover (Harry) disappears to live on TV. He may or may not be dreaming or insane, but it's all overseen by a reclusive, all-seeing media commentator inspired by Marshall McLuhan.

When all's said or done, little makes any narrative sense, and you get the feeling Cronenberg was just stretching his wings to see what gross images the make-up effects crew could come up with.

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