Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Long Live VHS!

Videodrome (1983) - Cronenberg
Long gone are the days of magnetic tapes. Today, it's all about shapeless, formless streaming video. And there is nothing physical about the technology anymore. It might be false and frivolous on my part to be nostalgic about a finite format, but hey, I spent my formative years in the 80s, so I am a product of that silly decade. I can be emotional about seeing a disheveled rubics cube with a couple of its tiles missing in a pitbull's mouth, if I want to. But David Cronenberg shows what was there back then- a subversive filmmaking. I can't think of any recent film or filmmaker that is as daring as Videodrome.

I saw Videodrome as a horny teenager, not grasping its implications about the physical manifestations of watching sex and violence in the media. Seeing it now, it's an electrifying experience. Casting the 80's sex kitten Deborah Harry in a s&m loving TV personality role is pure genius. James Woods has never been better since or prior to as a sleazy public TV show programmer.

One could see a strong correlation with Videodrome and Cronenberg's later, Burroughs adaptation of Naked Lunch. But I think I'd prefer media induced hallucination over drug induced one anytime. The film definitely becomes my favorite Cronenberg.