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Videodrome
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Genre:SciFi
Year:1982
Rating:R
Length:1 Hour 29 Minutes
Cast:James Woods, Sonja Smits, Debbie Harry
Credits:Director(s): David Cronenberg

Before virtual reality and The Matrix there was Videodrome, the 1982 film that catapulted director David Cronenberg's status from interesting cult icon to seriously heady filmmaker. Visionary, apocalyptic and prescient, Videodrome is a Chinese box of a story replete with Cronenberg's signature creepy eroticism and various fascinations with technology, violence, and bodily orifices. James Woods stars as Max Renn, a sleazy cable exec who searches for programming beyond his station's usual soft-core porn and stumbles upon Videodrome -- a televised chamber of tortuous Grand Guignol horrors. Rocking Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry plays Max's girlfriend, Nicky Brand, who pulls him deeper into Videodrome's orbit. Cronenberg, in total control of his often tricky material, masterfully manipulates the film, creating a dread-soaked criticism of media, voyeurism, and psychological horrors that would give Alfred Hitchcock nightmares. Woods' bravura performance anchors the film: His Max is a dead-on nightmare hipster whose travels through the blandly corrupt urban landscape are frighteningly real. Rachel Saltz

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