Videodrome (1983)

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Max Renn (James Woods) runs a sleazy late night cable channel called CIVIC-TV. Max believes he gives the viewing public what they want. Sex, violence, nudity, you can find it on CIVIC-TV. However Max feels that his latest acquisition of Japanese softcore porn just doesn’t cut it. He wants something harder, something dirtier…something that will really pique his viewers interest. Max asks his tech guy Harlan (Peter Dvorsky) to find something for him. Peter tells Max he has just the thing. Peter operates the CIVIC-TV pirate dish and has found a signal broadcasting something called ‘Videodrome’, a kinky show which has no plot, just torture and sado-masochistic sex. Max thinks it’s just what is viewers want.

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Max appears on a talk show where he defends his programme decisions, feeling he provides a decent service. There he meets a a philosopher called Brian O’Blivion (Jack Creley) who never appears in person, and a radio psychiatrist called Nikki Brand (Debbie Harry) who he begins to have a relationship with. He shows her Videodrome and the begin to experiment in S&M. Later strange things begin to happen to Max. He sees a broadcast from Brian O’Blivion who tells him that soon television will take the place of every aspect of a persons life. Max also begins to have strange things happen physically. He learns that Videodrome was created to weed out the filth of society so that only the decent folk remain, since it’s only the filth and perverts that will watch Videodrome. All leading to a bloody conclusion.

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Directed by David Cronenberg when he was still heavily into his whole ‘body-horror’ phase, Videodrome is a movie that needs to be seen. It is a mind-fuck in every sense of the word. The effects for a movie that is 30yrs old are brilliant. I have always been a purist, so I just adore practical effects and this movie delivers.

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This is seriously worth a watch. If you’ve never seen it, then give it a go. It’s pretty crazy yes, but I have a feeling many will like it. If you’re into the weird shit, then you’ll dig this.

4/5

JM

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The Dead Zone (1983)

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Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) is driving home from his fiancée’ Sarah’s (Brooke Adams) house when he is involved in a horrific car accident. He wakes up from a coma several years later to find things have changed drastically. His fiancée Sarah has moved on and found love with a new man. However the most drastic of changes occurs when Johnny grabs the wrist of his nurses hand. He says to her that “Amy needs your help”. Amy is the nurses daughter and she rushes home to find that her house has burned down but her daughter is safe.

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Later Johnny begins to have terrifying visions of things that have happened or have yet to happen. The police use Johnny’s skill to help them catch a serial killer stalking the town. Johnny becomes somewhat of a town celebrity as others call on him for help. However it’s not until Johnny meets and touches the hand of Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen), a man running for Senator, that things take an even more sinister turn.

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Johnny catches a glimpse of a possible future where Stillson is president and close to starting World War III. Johnny realises his power to see things was given for a reason. Most Stephen King adaptations are utter shite, lets face it. The ones that Stephen King hates, like Stanley Kubrick’s version of ‘The Shining’, are the only ones worth watching. He may be able to write horror, but he knows dick about any adaptations of his book. The one time he tried to give people a taste of his version of a horror movie we got ‘Maximum Overdrive, do with that information what you will.

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However that being said, this is one of the better King adaptations. For starters we have a great director taking the reins in David Cronenberg. Next you have two of the finest actors in Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen which just make this infinitely more watchable. You have a supporting cast of Tom Skerrit, Brooke Adams, Herbert Lom and Anthony Zerbe and you have a brilliant  movie all round. The script is brilliant, and Cronenberg ratchets up the tension in all the right places. It really is a fantastic movie, and one I’ll definitely watch again.

5/5

JM

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