248 Videodrome

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Martha
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248 Videodrome

#1 Post by Martha » Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:41 pm

Videodrome

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/1415/248_box_348x490_w128.jpg[/img] [img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/3082/248_BD_box348x490_w128.jpg[/img]

- High-definition digital transfer of the unrated version (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack)
- Two audio commentaries: David Cronenberg and director of photography Mark Irwin, and actors James Woods and Deborah Harry
- Camera (2000), a short film starring Videodrome’s Les Carlson, written and directed by Cronenberg
- Forging the New Flesh, a new half-hour documentary featurette by filmmaker Michael Lennick about the creation of Videodrome’s video and prosthetic makeup effects
- Effects Men, a new audio interview with special makeup effects creator Baker and video effects supervisor Lennick
- Bootleg Video: the complete footage of Samurai Dreams and seven minutes of transmissions from Videodrome, presented in their original, unedited form with filmmaker commentary
- Fear on Film, a 26-minute roundtable discussion from 1982 between filmmakers Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis, and Mick Garris
- Original theatrical trailers and promotional featurette
- Stills galleries featuring hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes production photos, special effects makeup tests, and publicity photos
- A booklet featuring essays by writers Carrie Rickey, Tim Lucas, and Gary Indiana

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manicsounds
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#2 Post by manicsounds » Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:16 am

OK, so i put in disc 2 of Videodrome into my dvd-rom drive, and on the menu screen, pressed stop.
Then I pressed play again, and it didnt start from the menu.
It started on a 1 minute piece on why they used BETAMAX.
The it returned to the main menu.

On the main menu I cannot find this featurette on the main menu.
Anyone? easter egg?

ah, found it in the "easter egg" section of the site
Videodrome "On the second disc, go to 'Transmissions from Videodrome' in the 'Bootleg Video' section of the disc. Once you gone to the specific screen for that footage, highlight 'Bootleg Video' and press down. The arrow will point to a Beta cassette below. This leads to a clip discussing the use of Beta tapes in the film."

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mingus
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#3 Post by mingus » Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:40 am

Take One - Fear on Film has got to be chosen as the Best Single Supplement at this years Criterion Forum Awards poll.
Can you imagine such an open and funny discussion being produced today ? This is what i want to see on television everyday.

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Pinback
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#4 Post by Pinback » Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:05 am

mingus wrote:Take One - Fear on Film has got to be chosen as the Best Single Supplement at this years Criterion Forum Awards poll.
I think Camera is going to be hard to beat...

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colinr0380
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#5 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:29 am

mingus wrote:Take One - Fear on Film has got to be chosen as the Best Single Supplement at this years Criterion Forum Awards poll.
Can you imagine such an open and funny discussion being produced today ? This is what i want to see on television everyday.
It was very good and great to see three of my favourite directors together, but Carpenter seemed a bit disinterested throughout, I am not sure whether he was annoyed at being asked questions or not being asked questions, he seemed to treat them both the same! Landis by contrast seems very hyped up and almost too excited (maybe his enthusiasm overwhelmed Carpenter?). Cronenberg though was excellent. And although the discussion is really only a promotional piece for the three films, its an excellent document of the three directors together and of how a studio with three of the best films of the 80's handles marketing them. I wonder if they did other episodes since they themed this one as horror?

I thought the Forging the New Flesh and the commentaries over the Videodrome footage were excellent. I liked the point in the commentary where it is mentioned that there were requests for the footage from boyfriends of one of the girls being beaten, and that the requests were ignored! They should have just waited for the Criterion - they will have it now!

I thought it would also be worth posting the website link shown at the end of the Forging the New Flesh and easter egg on Betamax tapes segments. http://www.foolishearthling.com

All in all, with the excellent commentaries and Camera, a great set!

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#6 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:00 am

My repost with amendments from old forum

I was wondering if it would be right to mention Cronenberg's influence on the director Shinya Tsukamoto. I think Videodrome especially influenced Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer (1991) with the scenes of arms turning into guns and the scene of the father giving his children guns which then grow into their arms as they hold them. Also there is the idea of the lead character being experimentally used by the sinister cabal in each film, with the lead then turning and destroying the group.

Also I think there are some echoes of Videodrome in Tokyo Fist (1995) with the unusual love triangle where while the men are destroying their bodies through bare knuckle boxing the woman is exploring her body through piercing, starting with her ears. There are also a couple of scenes of the couple watching films on television early in the film that, while I think might be pushing it to say is a nod to Cronenberg's film, could show how the couple are so dislocated from their bodies and engrossed in their television. I think that also Tsukamoto's career seems similar to Cronenberg's in the sense that Tsukamoto also seems to have moved away from the more overt outside influences that cause people to change (the more 'body horror' of Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, even arguably Hiruko The Goblin with the outside demonic influence) to more mental or emotional changes in his characters such as in Tokyo Fist, Bullet Ballet or A Snake Of June. It seems similar to the way Cronenberg seems to have shifted from Rabid, The Brood and Videodrome to Naked Lunch, Dead Ringers, Crash and Spider.

I haven't seen Gemini yet but it sounds interesting that it has a Cronenberg vibe as well (with similarities to Dead Ringers). I think I'm pushing it by trying to connect Hiruko The Goblin as that seems to be more of an attempt at a mainstream monster movie, but the others seem to be exploring similar territory. But both Cronenberg and Tsukamoto are making very individual films at the same time as there are these similarities.

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manicsounds
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#7 Post by manicsounds » Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:39 am

i certainly see Tsukamoto's films being similar in style to Cronenberg's work, and even some David Lynch weirdness being thrown in too.

Another director that seems to have a fascination with Body Transformation like Cronenberg or Tsukamoto is (it'll sound a bit strange) Hayao Miyazaki.

JUst take a look at Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, etc. a motiv that seems to be there in many of his films.

Although I doubt Miyazaki is a Cronenberg or Tsukamoto fan, but he could be....

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Harold Gervais
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#8 Post by Harold Gervais » Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:54 am

I'd say Cronenberg is easily the most eastern of western horror directors. There is such an intellectual curiosity and emotional detachment in the way that he views things horrific that they flower before the viewer's eyes without the forced aritfice of most American horror films. And in the case of Videodrome, it has the added selling point of being to watch James Woods go down on a pulsing & throbbing television.
Anyway, probably my pick for DVD of 2004.

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justeleblanc
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#9 Post by justeleblanc » Thu Jan 20, 2005 3:29 am

just curious, besides the eastern softcore porn in videodrome, are there any other pieces of evidence that cronenberg might have an asian fetish?

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#10 Post by Lino » Thu Jan 20, 2005 7:50 am

Well, yes. He did make M. Butterfly.

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#11 Post by Nihonophile » Sat Jan 22, 2005 9:12 pm

Funny story time!

I bought this excellent release today from borders and when I went to buy it, the humorous moment occurred. The clerk was scanning the disc and then slid it along the demagnitizer and suddenly looked deeply troubled. She looks up and asks me:

"Is this a dvd"

me: yeah

clerk: "Oh good, I was worried that this was a VHS and I used the demagnetizer which would destroy it."

me: yeah, its a dvd. They meant to make it look like a beta tape actually as a joke.

clerk: I guess I'm out of the loop of that joke.


FIN

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bcsparker
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#12 Post by bcsparker » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:24 am

Am I the only one that thinks Videodrome was one of the last good releases from Criterion? Except for the Kurosawa and Suzuki, the thrill of the selection has gone out of it for me. Many of the new releases seem boring.

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#13 Post by Nihonophile » Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:05 am

bcsparker wrote: Many of the new releases seem boring.
To quote a fellow board member:

"Sword of Fucking Doom!"

However, this was criterion's last big surprise for me. Double points to them for the beta case

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#14 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:02 am

bcsparker wrote:Am I the only one that thinks Videodrome was one of the last good releases from Criterion? Except for the Kurosawa and Suzuki, the thrill of the selection has gone out of it for me. Many of the new releases seem boring.
Short Cuts? Night and the City? My Own Private Idaho? Hardly boring, IMO.

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#15 Post by skuhn8 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:51 pm

They seem to get better and better. L'Ecclise?! Damn. ooh...back to topic...haven't seen Videodrome. No comment.

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#16 Post by bcsparker » Tue Feb 22, 2005 10:01 pm

Sorry, I take back what I said. I love this film, though. Great supplements and a beautiful transfer. And I've always liked Cronenberg's commentaries, too. Some might think DC too professorial, but I can listen to his commentaries all the way through. Sometimes it becomes the preferred method of playback. I just wish he had done one on Crash.
If you don't own it, definitely pick it up. I didn't bat an eye paying full retail price for this one.
The packaging is amazing as well, with the spine number looking like ballpoint on old masking tape.

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#17 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:15 am

bcsparker wrote:I just wish he had done one on Crash.
If you don't own it, definitely pick it up.
He did, for the Criterion Laserdisc. Hopefully it will be included if Criterion re-release the film on DVD sometime.

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#18 Post by porquenegar » Sat Jun 25, 2005 7:51 pm

I really enjoyed the James Woods commentary track on this disc. I had no idea he was so articulate.

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#19 Post by blindside8zao » Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:41 pm

I very much desire a Crash commentary too. After reading a few things, especially Cronenberg on Cronenberg, and listening to that 2 hr Kodak interview, as well as all the commentaries I have on DVds, I feel like a know a bit about him. Unfortunately I have not heard a lot on Crash. Though he talks about it in the Kodak interview, it is mostly about censorship. I would like a more thorough exploration of themes.

I have no Laserdisc player. Is there any way that Laserdisc audio tracks can be transferred to computer?

Anonymous

#20 Post by Anonymous » Sat Apr 29, 2006 2:56 pm

mingus wrote:Take One - Fear on Film has got to be chosen as the Best Single Supplement at this years Criterion Forum Awards poll.
Are the previous winners in this poll archived anywhere on this site?

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Matt
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#21 Post by Matt » Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:13 pm


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Gregor Samsa
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#22 Post by Gregor Samsa » Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:02 am

For anyone who owns this DVD and hasn't gotten around to watching them yet, I urge you to watch the original theatrical trailers in the 'Marketing' section. The digital effects and over the top voiceover are comedy gold. :D

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#23 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:00 pm

Just a quick post about the music over the opening and closing credits of the Fear On Film discussion. I have a feeling it is from the 1981 film Ghost Story.

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colinr0380
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#24 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Oct 12, 2006 1:48 pm

There is a very interesting review of the film at this site:
At first glance, the plot of Videodrome seems rather shallow: the good (Bianca) pitted against the bad (Convex), with Max figuring as a dummy in their combat, and videodrome, the quintessential representative of the mass media, as the deadly weapon. However, if we view the film as the story of Max's subjection to the gaze, his pursuit, investigation and finally his attempt to take possession of it, Videodrome turns out to be a far more complex film with quite a radical ideological stance. Indeed, the film features a full range of identities available to women and their representations in a misogynist phallocentric culture. Videodrome undeniably aligns woman with the Other, and designates its exemplary human subject male, but it also shows that any such generalisations are intolerable cultural constructs.

Videodrome (not so Max) initially sharply distinguishes between the omnipotent gaze (videodrome) and the limited eye (belonging to the film's human characters, most consistently to Max). Then, as the film proceeds and Max's videodrome-induced hallucinations escalate, Max and videodrome become increasingly entwined, almost indistinguishable, as the blurred distinction between Max's reality and hallucinations aptly indicates. Lacan argued that the subject, which is constituted through the intervention of external agency (the Other, the gaze) and thus always split and decentred, tends to cover up this alterity at its core by eliding the gaze, or confusing it with the eye and attempting to take possession of it. Cronenberg's film, however, does not pretend to have achieved interchangeability or a fusion of the gaze and the eye, nor does it conceal their inescapable division; quite the contrary. The relationship between Max and the signal is anything but reciprocal; there is hardly any evidence of exchange, only the forceful and evidently malign impact of videodrome upon Max. The changes in Max's 'reality' are not a result of fusion but merely a consequence of this impact.

Thus far, Videodrome could only be accused of being pessimistic. But the real problem with Videodrome lies elsewhere. Cronenberg's designation of the 'new flesh' (as a way out of alienated, externally-determined human existence) poses problems, not because it is pessimistic, but because the path leading towards it is articulated excessively through categories of gender and sexuality. When the audience first sees Max, he is no doubt a carefully and consistently constructed stereotype of a white heterosexual male: active, dominant and in sufficient supply of phallic attributes and substitutes. Not until after his encounter with women -- portrayed as seductive, threatening, passive, masochist, or maternal figures -- does his apparently stable identity start disintegrating, which renders him even more vulnerable to videodrome. The latter -- to be quite precise, video and television in general -- is related almost exclusively to women. Even before his exposure to the signal, Max's relation to visual media occurs predominantly through women. His first viewing of 'Videodrome' and meeting Nicki (Deborah Harry) occur almost simultaneously, and shortly after that Nicki's appearances become completely tangled with Max's videodrome-stimulated hallucinations. Even more: videodrome itself, for Max, increasingly takes on attributes of a voracious and ferocious female body. At the same time, as the signal's impact on Max escalates, Max himself is becoming more and more feminised (for instance, he develops the widely-observed 'vaginal' opening on his stomach), subjugated and exploited alternately by Convex and Bianca, and also threatening to men (Max's killing of Harlan quite overtly equates Max's abdominal slit with vagina dentata).

The problem with Videodrome is not that it is complicit with patriarchy, but that it does not go much further than laying it bare. The final sequence of the film is particularly informative in this view. It shows Max approaching the 'next phase' beyond the split between the eye and the gaze. As it happens, Max is about to commit suicide. He (though Max can hardly still be considered male) comes to a desolate industrial site and enters a deserted ship, conspicuously labelled 'condemned vessel'. Here, the image of Nicki on a giant TV screen tells him that videodrome, the tool of exploitation, still exists, and she pleads with him to undergo 'a total transformation into the new flesh'. Nicki shows him how. Max watches himself shooting himself within the (diegetic) screen, and then indeed shoots himself.

Of course, one might suggest that Videodrome's end is ambiguous: is Max's act a result of resignation, disenchantment, revolt or (woman's) seduction? It can also be argued that the final sequence is a climax of the patriarchal attitude to women. Videodrome (television?, mass media in general?) is now completely aligned with the demanding, seductive, yet also threatening image of woman. Max, no longer indisputably male, is simultaneously the victim and the monster. However, I believe the film's end sheds different light on the preceding representations and employment of woman's body. Like one of the twins in Cronenberg's confrontational film Dead Ringers (1988), Max 'can see the image of himself looking back as both subject and object at the same time'. (Russo, 1994: 120) He is given one last taste of what possessing the gaze might be like, but what he sees means giving up human existence. Nevertheless, Max follows the suggestion and carries out his ultimate, yet also his first truly subversive act: having experienced existence in a male as well as a female/feminised body, and having gained insight into the workings of the gaze, he decides not only to annihilate himself as the subject but also to abolish the gaze.

Videodrome is a disturbing and multifaceted film. It attempts to deal with human existence in general as alienated, shaped by culture and finite. It does so from within its cultural context and the context of the sci-fi horror genre. Videodrome manifestly mobilises conventions of the genre and cultural stereotypes regarding gender and sexuality, precisely to expose them as die-hard conventions and all-pervading stereotypes. The film's end is saturated with this air of entrapment. What might seem as a flaw to some viewers, however, is the film's refusal or inability to offer a positive alternative. Ultimately, Videodrome merely states that the current condition is intolerable.

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Gregor Samsa
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#25 Post by Gregor Samsa » Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:15 pm

Interesting thesis. My own position on the film's ideological position differs a bit. Rather than being strictly pessimistic, I think that Cronenberg is saying something else about the position of television and the media in the real world. Although his ideas have been most frequently linked to those of Marshall McLuhan, I see an interesting linkage between Videodrome and Frederic Jameson's influential essay 'Postmodernism: Or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism' (1984)

The central linkage between these texts is that television, like postmodernism is seen to be an inescapable presence of the present. As represented through Spectacular Optical and the Cathode Ray Mission, it can be put to socially useful (patching the disadvantaged "back into the world's mixing board") or destructive (trying to use TV to satisfy the New Right agenda of making America "tough") uses. To tie it back to McLuhan however, we as viewers are imbricated in truth being determined by television, as we can see in the scene where the truth of Max murdering his fellow executives is confirmed by a television news report. As such, television in the world of Videodrome isn't necessarily good or evil, it just is.

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