Videodrome ★★★★★


Physical media, television signals, and analog allure morphed into sex and violence; a dissection of the screens (once VHS/Betamax and now hi-def) we inhabit and the lives we choose to wander within. If such a warning was ever precedent, we're long past the due date, and the big questions no longer linger but scream throughout the everyday. It's so ominous - a visceral mix of the gooey and the cerebral - that its status as a prophetic work, and now, practically a documentary, is terrifying to comprehend. We're no longer physical beings, but unconscious, digital manifestations of the information constantly sent through our private devices.

Max Renn - the film's seedy, sneaky protagonist - has metallic cables and wires replacing veins and internal, fleshy components at one point in Videodrome, and it's instinctively hard to watch in spite of it playing as an exaggeration of our connection with cell phones and the interactivity of fabricated worlds and stories. Not sure how the scene played back in 1983, especially because it's so foreboding, but in today's modern, faux-futuristic landscape, Renn's hallucinogenic transformation visualizes itself as a Tech-Ed video; a horror shift from seduction to dependency.

And throughout its irresistible passages of fantasies and nightmares, visions and sexual, pixelated glows from TV screens, Cronenberg is wide-eyed at the possibilities and horrified at the obliviousness; the double-edged sword cutting its maker and filming the guts through a video camera. So much of this is reflective, staring back at us with the same sultry artifice and moody, expressionistic imagery to lure an audience in, but it confronts the viewer with a philosophy, "and that is what makes it dangerous." But Videodrome is never dangerous in the typical sense. It isn't snuff or a renegade film of underground quality, but a spooky, kooky visualization of images and its viewers. Their effect, their interest, their fall to the flirtatious, their death; it's an evolution which we're wallowing in, and the day in which we all dissipate into history will be a tranquil one. We'll be too busy checking our Twitter feeds and Instagram likes to notice. This is truly a masterpiece.

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