7.2/10
79,004
256 user 182 critic

Videodrome (1983)

Trailer
1:13 | Trailer
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
Reviews
Popularity
3,187 ( 389)
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

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 ... Rena King
Henry Gomez Henry Gomez ... Brolley
Harvey Chao Harvey Chao ... Japanese Salesman
David Tsubouchi David Tsubouchi ... Japanese Salesman
Kay Hawtrey ... Matron
Learn more

More Like This 

Scanners (1981)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan
The Fly (1986)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Dead Ringers (1988)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske
Naked Lunch (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm
eXistenZ (1999)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm
The Brood (1979)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, amidst a series of brutal murders.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle
The Dead Zone (1983)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic ability.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt
Crash (1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas
Shivers (1975)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core in this action thriller.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris
Rabid (1977)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young woman develops a taste for human blood after experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into blood-thirsty zombies, leading into a city-wide epidemic.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver
Spider (2002)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A mentally disturbed man takes residence in a halfway house. His mind gradually slips back into the realm created by his illness, where he replays a key part of his childhood.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne

Photos

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The majority of the trailer was created with a Commodore 64 computer. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Masha: Videodrome. What you see on that show, it's for real. It's not acting. It's snuff TV.
Max Renn: I don't believe it.
Masha: So, don't believe.
Max Renn: Why do it for real? It's easier and safer to fake it.
Masha: Because it has something that you don't have, Max. It has a philosophy. And that is what makes it dangerous.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The TV version first released to syndicated television is a significantly different edit with extra/additional material as follows: -A very different and extended introduction with longer opening titles presented over red themed paintings. -A longer version of Max's business meeting with the Japanese salesmen, including a reminiscence about a girl in a Hong Kong hotel, a sinister foreshadowing of the disappearing Videodrome performers. -Extended Sales Meeting at Civic TV. -A very brief additional line of dialogue in Harlan's lab. -An extension of the scene with Max and Nicki watching Videodrome. -Masha comments how Max looks tired and exhausted but makes her sales pitch. -Max takes a longer walk down Skid Row, and gets offered two meal choices during an extended scene inside the Cathode Ray Mission. -An extended version of Brian's monologue in which he comments, "You've got a nice little addiction going." -Nicki calls Max and explains that she was behind his first major hallucination, and Brian makes a return appearance telling Max to take advantage of his position. -Nicki picks up Max in a limo, and notes how much she likes his current incarnation, including his "sick and wonderful" hallucinations. -Barry Convex offers a greatly expanded backstory about the optical accumulator as a military device. -Max walks down the street and see a very different version of himself in a store window. -"It's Always Painful to change the program". -An alternate, shortened version of Barry Conex's assassination, made "safe" for US TV. -Max nervously sees a news report about the shootings on TV and encounters a mentally disturbed homeless man. -An extended version of Max's solo excursion deeper into the heart of the city and his own psyche, revealing more of the boat interior. -TV Epilogue - Pivotal lines of dialogue from the main characters are reiterated over the same paintings seen over the opening titles. (All the above are available on the 2015 Arrow Video UK Blu-ray release). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Strange Days (1995) 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


53 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 256 user reviews »

Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 February 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Videodrome See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$5,952,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,194,175, 6 February 1983

Gross USA:

$2,120,439

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,120,439
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 »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed