James Woods isn’t taking the Videodrome remake news very well.
David Cronenberg‘s Videodrome, a mind-melting fresco of trenchant social commentary and nightmarish body horror, is a unique beast among the science-fiction and horror features of the 1980’s. It was the lauded Canadian filmmaker’s first studio film and also his first bonafide masterpiece. It featured amazingly gooey and horrific visual effects created by a talented team spearheaded by the one and only Rick Baker, daring performances from James Woods and Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry, and astute and chilling direction from Cronenberg – who also authored the provocative screenplay. In fact, Videodrome is the singular creation of an visionary storyteller finally hiding his stride as a director after spending years making multi-layered genre films like Rabid, Shivers (a.k.a. They Came from Within), and The Brood for indie producers and studios in his homeland.
Given almost total creative control from Universal Pictures, Cronenberg made a film that took the fascinating ideas he had been developing in his previous features and fused it with a challenging critique of modern technology and new media. The result was a motion picture experience the likes of which had never been seen before and would never be seen again, not even in the director’s later works. No less an authority than the late celebrated artistic genius Andy Warhol hailed Videodrome as “A Clockwork Orange of the 1980s”. But Videodrome opened in theaters to repulsed audience reaction and the sharpened knives of the nation’s top film critics. The version that played in the United States wasn’t even Cronenberg’s preferred cut; Universal compelled the director to pare down his movie’s sexual and violent content in order for it to secure an R rating from the MPAA. His full director’s cut would not been seen until it was finally released on home video more than a decade later.
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