October 7, 2018

Diary Of A Movie Watchin' Madman Volume III - The Bleeding Edge Of Cinematic Prognostication From 1983

     Me paraphrasing Beetlejuice in reference to David Cronenberg's Videodrome (1983)

Videodrome (1983) - Barry bubbles over
Barry bubbling over about the Spectacular Optical spring line. 
(10/6) Videodrome (1983)  One of the very first significant posts I ever wrote for this site was an overview of the ten best genre movies directed by Canadian auteur David Cronenberg.  I had the temerity then to proclaim Videodrome (1983) Cronenberg's masterpiece.  Though I suggested in my previous post this month that I'm sometimes wrong, I stand by my prior assessment of Videodrome one hundred percent.  It is, in my opinion, right up there with George Orwell's 1984 as one of the essential texts of the 20th century.  The particulars of the technology represented may now be anachronistic, but in an age when those in power exploit the base instincts of their constituency every single day to insure that they stay in power, the themes of Videodrome have never been more timely.  How did Cronenberg know?

     I'm treading dangerously close to going off on a political rant, and that would be highly inappropriate since Movies At Dog Farm is just a dopey little horror movie blog.  Instead, let me just say this:  if you watch Videodrome and don't see immediately how easily one can swap out Cronenberg's fantastic imaginings circa 1983 for the very real particulars of our daily lives circa 2018, you just might be one of those people being hoodwinked by your overlords.  Videodrome is real now.  Fight back and don't let the cancer take hold.  The television screen (or perhaps more accurately now, the cellphone or tablet screen ) has become the retina of the mind's eye.  Don't believe everything you read or see, because much of it is being manipulated for nefarious purposes by individuals with a vested interest in insuring that their version of the truth is the one you accept as fact.  I shall remain the eternal optimist and hope that most of us are smarter than that.  (Re-watch)


  1. I was struck by the timliness of the movie when you presented it here, then forgot to mention it. It was my assumption that you chose it partly for that reason.

  2. Food for thought, in an era when critical thinking seems to be in danger of becoming extinct. I was already planning to devote a month to Cronenberg in the near future, and I'm looking forward to a re-watch.

  3. The fucked up thing is that Videodrome is almost always timely, which is one of the primary reasons I hold it in such high regard. It's a movie I'll proudly display to anyone as a sterling example of what the genre is capable of when executed by intelligent artists who recognize its value as a malleable framework for tackling difficult thematic concerns. Cronenberg is a goddamn genius, and he has an uncanny knack for adorning any given thesis with genre trappings that serve as a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. It was actually just happenstance that Tyler came over last night and chose Videodrome when I gave him the option of that title or Cronenberg's The Brood. Of course, I made sure to let him know that Videodrome was so far ahead of its time in 1983 that absolutely no-one "got it" then. I sincerely wish it garnered more attention in the present day.

  4. Brandon,
    Sorry to be so late to the discussion. Let me say that this is a platform for you to go on a rant. Cronenberg must have had some desire to have his films generate discussion. I come to the Dog Farm to hear your opinion. If I agree or disagree, I will enjoy a discussion on the subject. That's what makes this platform awesome.
    Please, don't censor your rants!

    1. I only pulled back from a full on political diatribe because I've grown so weary of seeing seemingly every platform - politicized or not - quickly devolve into mindless party line mudslinging of late. There's a time and a place. This is a place to celebrate movies, and I genuinely believe either side of the political divide can find value in Cronenberg's masterpiece. My personal beliefs aren't germane in a discussion of the timeliness and relevance of Videodrome.

      This post was intended as more of an invitation to everyone to consider the current political landscape in light of the brilliant metaphor Cronenberg crafted for us over thirty-five years ago (!) and draw their own conclusions. It would be presumptive of me to assume Cronenberg shares my personal ideology based solely upon my interpretation of his work. We could all stand to think a little more critically, though, and any interpretation of Videodrome encourages that.

      I sound like a politician, don't I?


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