A Sarcastic Review of Videodrome

So I just watched David Cronenberg’s classic Videodrome. Which I feel is kind of going to be a pain in the ass. I have this problem, and I guess it’s in part a self-judgement thing, that happens when I watch a movie generally considered to be awesome by the movie-going public. Not something current people like, but something that has a following overtime, something that pops up on ranked lists, something that just generally is considered good. Even worse if it’s a cult classic. Even worse if it’s science fiction. What do you write about? “This movie is good, everyone else said so, anyone who knows my taste could’ve predicted this reaction, but now I’m wasting 1500 words of your time.” I don’t see enough value in my initial reaction to these sorts of films to justify the exercise. Part of could just be the quality, or lack there of, I perceive in my own writing. My style is hardly so unique or fascinating to make it better than the countless other reviews and retrospectives and analyses out there. To make it worse, I’ve only seen the movie once, so I barely have the ability to delve deeper into the movie, especially when it’s the sort of thing people obsess over – my insight after one viewing is hardly going to revolutionize the way someone looks at the movie. At the same time I feel like it’s cheating if I ignore I’ve watched it… Okay this has been a whole lot of masochistic self-flagellation. So in order to make this kind of fun for you to read, I decided to write an entirely sarcastic and satirical review that serves as, hopefully, a nice mirror image to how I actually feel. If you want real clarification on anything there’s a comment section below. Enjoy?

So I watched this movie called Video Dome? It was directed by some Canadian guy called David Cronenberg. It’s about finding content for a TV channel, which is weird. I mean, why would you make the guy in charge of finding TV shows a hero? Big Bang Theory is on TV. Actually given how much this guy likes torture he’d probably work for that Game of Thrones or something. Anyways the movie is about him trying to find, like, the best torture he can for TV. TV is all about sex and violence in this movie, which APPARENTLY is set in the future despite looking way, way older than 2014. If David Cronenberg is trying to reflect on TV, he completely forgot about how much good content there is, like Fox TV and the Miracle Channel. Anyway he has this guy who tries to pirate TV shows to use for their channel, which is weird. Wouldn’t they get caught doing that? The movie sort of starts when this guy picks up a channel that’s nothing but naked women getting whipped and electrocuted and other horrifying stuff.

Nicholas Winding Refn, that fruity looking Swedish director who directed that awful movie Only God Forgives, and Pusher (that glorified drug use and showed us a skinhead’s butt), and I think Persona, described Video Dome as “a great mixture of sex and violence.” Which kind of taps into why it’s so awful. I mean, if a guy called Refn likes it, that alone should set off warning signs. Pretentious much.

So the plot, back to that. That’s all people really want from a review right? Plot description or a political take-away. Those are the big two. Well this review has both. Suck it Ebert. This guy becomes obsessed with this pirated televisual program (if this whole movie is about the danger of Pirate’s Bay it might actually have a point). He ends up watching it with his girlfriend, this totally hypocritical radio personality that perfectly implicates the shady and evil goings on all celebrities obviously participate in. Except this movie is so hypocritical the possible lampooning of celebrity culture is not nearly enough to undo its foul content and stupid weirdness. Anyways they watch it together (him and his girlfriend) and then they start having horrifying sex onscreen for us to see. You can see one of the actress’s lady-nipples and the producer-guy sticks a pin through her ear!! Later she lowers her dress slightly and burns her exposed cleavage with a cigarette. It’s disgusting.

Oh that TV show with the torture is called Video Dome too, just like the movie. David Cronenberg probably thinks that’s clever. Must be that socialist education they have up there in Canada.

The producer starts to hallucinate. He imagines he’s in Video Dome and sees the TV breathe and stuff. It’s so scary. Like, unnecessarily so. If it’s a horror movie tell me up front. Halloween at least had an intro with pumpkins before it got to the deaths of copulating teens, so I knew what I was getting into and could like, pause it a lot and stuff. Diffuse the tension you know. Video Dome just seems like a gross story about seedy executives but then the TV starts breathing and has lips and stuff. At one point the producer has a big hole in his chest. It’s either meant to look like stigmata or a vagina and either way that’s just despicable. If David Cronenberg thinks he’s making a movie about how TVs are evil why would he make a movie? They’re basically the same thing. Write a book or something.

The producer finds out that Video Dome (the TV show in Video Dome, not the movie itself) is made by this guy who believes TV is God. This is so over-the-top and on-the-nose and blasphemous. It’s under the guise of science fiction world building and commentary but the image of someone given homeless people TV access but no food is just gross. Why would you encourage something like that? Why would you put such a gross anti-Christian character in your movie? Yuck. The guy who thinks TV is god turns out to be dead and just exists on like tapes that have gained sentience or something. It’s just a blasphemy stew.

The producer finds out that the Video Dome show (everyone slurs this phrase in the movie, must be the Canadian accents) gave him a tumour and that’s why he’s hallucinating. There’s this signal that can be encoded into any video signal that causes the tumour growth. That’s not even remotely possible and it’s super dumb the movie would suggest something like that. The gross torture is just because the movie thinks the future is going to be this awful sinful place where people like that sort of thing more than good shows like American Idol. Good and popular Mr. Cronenberg. Good and popular. Anyways the Video Dome show gave the producer-guy a tumour, and because the Second-Commandment-Breaker-Guy is dead he’s not really in charge of the Video Dome show anymore.

It starts to get really confusing at this point and stops making sense and just isn’t very pleasant to watch. It doesn’t make me feel good at all.

The Video Dome is now controlled by this guy who is in charge of a company that makes glasses and missiles, which doesn’t seem very realistic at all. This guy puts the producer in big goggles and records his hallucinations to study the effects of the Video Dome. He claims the tumour-thing is why the show was a secret broadcast. The goggles also don’t seem very realistic. It turns out that the Video Dome was never broadcast at all and the producer’s pirate just gave him tapes and actually works for the glasses guy and stuff. See? It’s confusing. They decided to inundate the producer with the Video Dome signal so they could get him to air it. The idea is that it’s going to be like televised acid which I guess makes sense because doesn’t acid kill you with tumours after long use too? Pretty sure that’s the case. The televised acid is going to be really popular but also somehow change people past the tumour? It’s really unclear. All I know is that it sort of brainwashes the producer and they send him off to kill people.

When he tries to kill the blasphemous daughter of the blasphemous TV preacher she brainwashes him back and converts him to her religion and makes him start killing the Video Dome people and saying “long live the new flesh” a lot. Implying that like TV God people are the way of the future? And is the Video Dome the tool of the Church people or the missile people? He kills the missile people then kills himself. During all this he has a bunch of gross visions of his chest-hole and his hand merging with a gun and stuff. It’s really dumb because you can’t tell what’s real and what’s not.

My biggest problem with this movie is the content. There’s sex, and violence, sometimes at the same time! There’s even self-harm and swearing and blasphemy. What could this movie do to the children? I hope no one goes to see this guy’s new movie.

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Harry Edmundson-Cornell is obsessed with comics and film and writing, and he fancies himself a bit of an artist. He's dabbled in freelance video production, writing, design, 3D modelling, and artistic commissions. He mainly uses Tumblr to keep track of what he's watching and reading and listening to. Occasionally he uses it to post original works. You can find his email and junk there too, if you want to hire him or send him hate-mail.

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