Censors tend to do what only psychotics do... they confuse reality with illusion. A friend of mine saw Videodrome, said he really liked it, and added, you know someday they're going to lock you up. [Suicide] ...it's probably the only way we can give our death a meaning, because otherwise it's completely arbitrary.
cybersex anno 1983
IntroductionMax Renn runs Civic-TV, a cable softcore / hardcore channel. His satellite-pirate partner intercepts a coded transmission containing a snuff-show. Very simple, very cheap, very real. No story, just torture and murder. The trace of this transmission leads to a man called professor Brian O'Blivion (!).
After this, Max begin to suffer from sporadic hallucinations. Soon he understands that the hallucinations are triggered by a tumor inside his head, which is caused by massive doses of coded signals, hidden in the Videodrome transmissions. It shows later, that the tumor is in fact another organ, controlled by a company called Spectacular Optical.
"The television screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears in the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore, television is reality, and reality is less than television."Brian O'Blivion’s Cathode Ray Mission grants the misfits of society a chance to recover back into "the real world" by pumping TV-transmissions into their eyes. By the tv-soap operas and talkshows they gain some of the social competence they lack in the cold, unsocial industrial world of ours. "Watching TV will help patch them back into the world's mixing board."... Where else do we learn how to act in a social acceptable way?
The Doors and signs
Marcus Wallström has put up a good site (in Swedish) that focuses on the doors and signs that shows up frequently throughout the film. The door is here a metaphor of an mental obstacle that Max has to overcome, and the signs focus on special points that is paramount. In all key-scenes we see a door that is shut, then after it has been opened the story continues with - more often than not - a new significance. On all critical locations, we see a sign pointing out what's paramount.The utilization of doors as metaphors for limits is specially obvious after the key-scene where Max kills his partners at Channel 83. When he leaves the building, several workers carries doors away in order to replace them, in the same manner as Max replaces his own body and mind with the New Flesh.
The different modules
As the movie proceeds, the story takes some abrupt turns, or acts, separated in what I call 'modules'. During the first module, we get to know Max, who he is, what he does and perhaps, his hidden yet obsticled obsession towards the extreme fashions of sex and violence. Here Max also experiences his initial encounter with Videodrome.
The second module appears when we experience some of Max's hallucinations. He beats up the secretary Bridgey Jones, who transforms into Nicki Brand, and then back into Bridgey again. When Max apologize, she seems confused and incomprehensive ( "...you didn't hit me" ).
The third module is merged into the story when we see the open gap in Max's torso. Here we becomes aware of The New Flesh, a physical embodiment of the metamorphosis that is going on inside Max's head. Max evolves as a human beeing into something new (like an insect turns from caterpillar to puppet). In order to complete his final transformation he has to commit suicide.
ConclusionCronenberg shows some of his own personal dilemma between his profession and this movie with Max's metamorphosis. There are some obvious similarities between Max Renn and David Cronenberg. I guess this was one of his trickiest productions ever, I doubt he ever will do this again.
Some other things
All soundclips are zipped WAV's in PCM 22.05 kHz mono
braintumour.zip Brian explains his brain
(all pictures and sounds are copyrighted (c) property of Mr.Cronenberg's production company)
Zappa's Cronenberg Archive
Marcus Wallström (Swedish)
XtravaganzaOn Front 242, :Re:boot: album, track 2, you can hear Barry Convex saying the words "You know me, and I sure know you, everyone of you", sampled from Videodrome.