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Old September 25 2013, 06:55 PM   #1
Noddy
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Videodrome

To those here who have seen this film, can you please help me out? I'm having a little trouble understanding parts of it. Was all the freaky stuff that happened somehow real, or was it all hallucinations caused by the signal carried by the Videodrome TV show? Take the scene where Barry Convex and that other guy thrust what seems to be a breathing video cassette into a hole that opens up in the protagonist's torso - if that wasn't a hallucination, how were they able to do that?
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Old September 26 2013, 06:56 AM   #2
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Re: Videodrome

Rather than get too literal, I'd suggest you check out the novelization (it really isn't a hack job as I recall and has material that was edited from the film) as well as the CINEFANTASTIQUE magazine coverage.

I can tell you I saw it opening day, was totally up for it ... and it just infuriated me, I hated the damn thing, and it wasn't till about 10 years later I gave it another try and began to appreciate it, and I think the detours into surrealism seemed to have context that I 'got' then and on subsequent viewings. Haven't seen it since about 2007, but will probably do so again soon, now that I'm thinking about it.
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Old September 26 2013, 12:26 PM   #3
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Re: Videodrome

What does the novel have to say?
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Old September 26 2013, 02:17 PM   #4
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Re: Videodrome

People used to come standard with VCRs, it's only the last couple of years, they've been coming with BluRays. Though, a Breathing VHS tape is a bit surreal
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Old September 26 2013, 04:40 PM   #5
Anwar
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Re: Videodrome

Noddy wrote: View Post
To those here who have seen this film, can you please help me out? I'm having a little trouble understanding parts of it. Was all the freaky stuff that happened somehow real, or was it all hallucinations caused by the signal carried by the Videodrome TV show? Take the scene where Barry Convex and that other guy thrust what seems to be a breathing video cassette into a hole that opens up in the protagonist's torso - if that wasn't a hallucination, how were they able to do that?
That was a hallucination, we're seeing them do SOMETHING to implant commands into Max's mind but he's seeing them as doing it in a really Cronenberg-esque way.

Also, at the end when he's reprogrammed and goes to kill Conex and his pal he really just kills them. He does not turn one into a grenade nor does Convex really have cancer explode out of him.

What really happens to Max at the end? Not sure.
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Old September 26 2013, 05:38 PM   #6
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Re: Videodrome

If you've ever seen the brainwashing fantasy toward the beginning of the original MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, it can put you in the right frame of mind to estimate what level of reality is taking place during a lot of 'DROME.
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Old September 26 2013, 06:44 PM   #7
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Re: Videodrome

I recall reading somewhere that the novelization expands the story, with the hallucination helmet that Convex puts on Max having started off as some kind of ultra-high-tech new night-vision system that was somehow able to record the hallucinations of the test subjects, while also causing brain tumors that eventually killed them, or something like that. I'm not sure how this eventually led to the creation of the Videodrome TV program though.
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Old September 26 2013, 10:59 PM   #8
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Re: Videodrome

Cronenberg originally seriously overedited the movie, to the point that test audiences didn't realize Woods worked at a cable company till 80 minutes in, so there are probably lots more bits that fell out (like all the great physical fx of a working tv in a bathtub and vfx of Debby Harry's nude body twitching into video, probably like the end of ALTERED STATES in appearance.)

I'm going off what I remember from the CFQ coverage but I bet the dvd or BR probably have tons more info, esp given that Criterion did a version.
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Old September 27 2013, 01:47 AM   #9
Set Harth
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Re: Videodrome

Anwar wrote: View Post
That was a hallucination, we're seeing them do SOMETHING to implant commands into Max's mind but he's seeing them as doing it in a really Cronenberg-esque way.

Also, at the end when he's reprogrammed and goes to kill Conex and his pal he really just kills them. He does not turn one into a grenade nor does Convex really have cancer explode out of him.
But from whose POV are we seeing the "cancer" explode out of him? Isn't Max already on his way out by that point? Is it supposed to be from the POV of the other people in the room?

Also, if Harlan wasn't killed by a grenade, how was he killed? Was he just shot? Afterwards, why do we see people appearing to flee the scene and other things that make it look like an explosion really happened? Is this all part of Max's hallucination?
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Old September 27 2013, 04:31 AM   #10
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Re: Videodrome

It's partly Max's hallucination, and it's partly people running because they just saw Max kill a guy (or they found his body).

Convex's death is from Max's POV. No one is screaming "WTF did he do to that guy?!", they're just screaming over some guy shooting Convex.
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Old September 27 2013, 04:52 AM   #11
Set Harth
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Re: Videodrome

Anwar wrote: View Post
Convex's death is from Max's POV.
But we see Convex "erupting" after Max has already fled.
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Old September 27 2013, 05:01 PM   #12
Anwar
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Re: Videodrome

That's just Cronenberg being his usual visceral self . It's probably just what Max imagined happened to Convex after he left.
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Old September 28 2013, 12:44 PM   #13
Noddy
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Re: Videodrome

Noddy wrote: View Post
I recall reading somewhere that the novelization expands the story, with the hallucination helmet that Convex puts on Max having started off as some kind of ultra-high-tech new night-vision system that was somehow able to record the hallucinations of the test subjects, while also causing brain tumors that eventually killed them, or something like that. I'm not sure how this eventually led to the creation of the Videodrome TV program though.
So, can anyone back me up on this at all? I honestly can't remember where I read this.

Another interesting thing about the helmet Convex puts on Max is that in a brief scene that was cut from the theatrical release, but was reinstated in some TV versions, either shortly before or after killing Convex, Max passes a reflective surface on a building and his reflection is still wearing the helmet, even though he isn't (or does not appear to be). And, of course, we never actually do see Max remove the helmet. After he puts it on, he goes straight into a bizarre fantasy involving his girlfriend and the Videodrome set, and then it cuts instantly to him waking up in bed in his apartment.

I'm also puzzled about the scene where Max is watching Dr. O'Blivion's recorded tape, and Oblivion starts talking directly to Max about Videodrome and how he was its first victim. O'Blivion seems to be warning Max about how dangerous it is here, but if it's a hallucination caused by Videodrome, why would it alert Max about itself in such a way? And how do O'Blivion's comments about the television being the retina of the mind's eye and part of the physical structure of the brain figure into the overall plot?
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Old September 29 2013, 07:25 PM   #14
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Re: Videodrome

So, anyone got anything new to add?
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Old September 29 2013, 08:57 PM   #15
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Re: Videodrome

Noddy wrote: View Post
So, anyone got anything new to add?
Just that the movie is awesome!
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