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Long live the New Flesh!
March 15, 2012 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Notes from a Videodrome test screening
posted by Artw (65 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Death to Videodrome! Long live the new flesh!
posted by Iridic at 1:20 PM on March 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yup. That's what it is. And it's funny.
posted by Alex404 at 1:21 PM on March 15, 2012


I bet Mr. Cronenberg was tickled by these comments (even if his producers weren't). Gentler times.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:22 PM on March 15, 2012


The first time I saw Videodrome we immediately rewound the tape it and watched it a second time. These people are crazy, and have missed a vital message that could help them unlock them from the confusion of that time.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:24 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


You... you watched it on tape?

Can I just stick this gun in your torso for a second?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:26 PM on March 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Could you imagine going back in time and showing them "The Human Centipede"? Videodrome is almost quaint now.
posted by jbickers at 1:28 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


> You... you watched it on tape?

I'm not that old where I could've gotten into the theater without my parents, you geezer.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:32 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Death to Videodrome! Long live the new flesh!

Oh for time travel and a pen...
posted by Artw at 1:32 PM on March 15, 2012


I think I watched it as a mysterious hand-labelled 3rd generation copy... or possibly taped off of Channel 4 late at night.
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on March 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think it's coming from somewhere in Malaysia.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:35 PM on March 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Videodrome is seared into my brain until the end of time.

When I was a Film Studies major, I had a class on the Horror Genre. We had a chance to do a paper on a film, out of a set list of films. These were also all films that we saw in class. I picked Videodrome. During that class, and in writing that paper, I watched it so many times that I soon became inured to the gore and the sex, in order to be able to focus on the more technical elements, such as camera angles and foley sound effect use. By the end of the semester, I had the film practically memorized, and any shock value the film had was long gone.

I got an A on that paper, that class, and didn't have to take the Final. *fistpump*

That was 20 years ago or so, I should watch the film again and see how I feel about it now.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:41 PM on March 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I went to a creative arts high school and we actually watched it in class. Man, that school was awesome.
posted by brundlefly at 1:42 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


This movie messed me up. Not really joking about that. (I mean, not for long, but for a few days, definitely.)

I still think it's way more challenging and interesting than the vast majority of what's passed for speculative cinema in the last 30 years.
posted by lodurr at 1:43 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I watched it for business reasons.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:44 PM on March 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I watched this with friends when we were in high school (not at high school). We all haaaaated it.

It was only some time after watching it that I realized how difficult it is to inspire such a strong reaction in an audience. After that, I realized that I kinda liked it. Still haven't seen it again though. I did watch Existenz, which is basically Videodrome 2000.
posted by adamrice at 1:44 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


that won't help, shakespeherian.
posted by lodurr at 1:45 PM on March 15, 2012


What I appreciated about the movie were the more lighthearted comedic moments. For instance, Wood's hand turns into a gun, then a grenade. Get it ? A literal handgun and hand grenade! Comedy gold!
posted by Ad hominem at 1:46 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


still haven't seen existenz. it's on the list.

I've almost never been really disappointed by a cronenberg flick. almost always something to chew on. (Dangerous Method, though, felt kind of insipid to me by comparison with the rest of his stuff I've seen.)
posted by lodurr at 1:46 PM on March 15, 2012


Naked Lunch, for me, remains my favorite, what with the whole Burroughs thing. The relatively restrained (for mid-period Cronenberg) Dead Ringers probably takes second place.
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on March 15, 2012


I've almost never been really disappointed by a cronenberg flick.

I was disappointed by existenz, but I had high hopes. I should watch it again.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:54 PM on March 15, 2012


Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, or Videodrome ... all are FANTASTIC.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:54 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I FOUND THIS MOVIE ABSOLUTELY VILE AND DISGUSTING AND CRONENBERG'S FILMIC DECONSTRUCTION OF THE POSTMODERN MEDIA THEORY WORK OF MCLUHAN AND BAUDRILLARD WAS COGENT AND COMPELLING BUT ULTIMATELY FLAWED
posted by naju at 1:55 PM on March 15, 2012 [19 favorites]


Yeah I didn't like existenz all that much. I got to go with Dead Ringers. There was something very disturbing about the surgical tools for mutants.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:57 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


yes, but what color pen did you write that in?
posted by lodurr at 1:57 PM on March 15, 2012


Oh man Naked Lunch is so much harder to take when you know that Burroughs actually shot his wife in the head while doing their little William Tell routine.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:58 PM on March 15, 2012


Fun fact: Today is Cronenberg's birthday.
posted by doublesix at 2:00 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a good of place as any to ask:

Anyone remember a film that features I think two brothers/friends, who end up either dying or being reanimated by some sort of alien machine, that also involves a scene of said machine reanimating an entire butcher shop of animal parts, which I think inevitably become evil? I saw it some weird hour as a kid, and never really knew enough to figure out what it was.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:01 PM on March 15, 2012


It's no Scanners, but I've not seen it in years.... have to watch it again sometime

Heard a pretty good interview with Cronenburg recently where he basically said fans would love him to keep making the same movie but that's just too boring.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:02 PM on March 15, 2012


Oh Shit!

It's Dead Heat, starring Joe Piscopo!

And it is on netflix.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:05 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Debbie Harry interviewed, in and about the film.
posted by longsleeves at 2:06 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Today is Cronenberg's birthday.

And Lovecraft's deathday.

Now there's a pair-up that could lead to interesting results.
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on March 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


My favorite part of Videodrome is when he scratches his stomach with a loaded gun. That and the ending. The ending is perfect for that movie.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:11 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm in the 'loved it since I first saw it' camp. I like the small touches, such as the homeless guy asking for change to keep him in batteries for his TV - "gotta pay the money if you want to see the monkey dance." An organ grinder. A monkey doing mindless tricks for his master, who profits from his prostitution. A prophet outside the Cathode Ray Mission. Prostituting the body via the mind... or is it the reverse?
The opening credits have the same font and static distortion as the Videodrome signal that Max Renn views for the first time in Harlan's office, therefore the movie itself is Videodrome, and you have been infected. Every time I watch it there's always something new.
posted by Zack_Replica at 2:12 PM on March 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


Soon, all of us will have special names — names designed to cause the cathode ray tube to resonate.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:15 PM on March 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Soon, all of us will have special names — names designed to cause the cathode ray tube to resonate.

I'm pretty sure that'd be eponysterical no matter who said it.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:24 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that'd be eponysterical no matter who said it.

I know it's been said, but just for the permanent record:

Long live the new flesh!
posted by Meatbomb at 2:34 PM on March 15, 2012


Today is Cronenberg's birthday.

And Lovecraft's deathday.


We need a Google doodle to mark the occasion.
posted by cazoo at 2:46 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not Malaysia, but Pittsburgh.

That makes me strangely proud, somehow.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:52 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


cazoo, that would be one oogy Google doodle.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:52 PM on March 15, 2012


I think my favorite Cronenberg line of all time has got to be "EXISTENZ IS PAUSED", which I take every opportunity to use in my wife's presence. It makes us giggle like maniacs.
posted by WASP-12b at 2:54 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Funny, I never really thought of Videodrome as horror -- more of a scathing social commentary, along the same lines as Network.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:01 PM on March 15, 2012


In Cronenberg's Crash, there's a lovely exchange:

Ballard: What about the reshaping of the human body by modern technology? I thought that was your project.

Vaughan: (dismissive) That's just a crude Sci Fi concept.
posted by Sparx at 3:02 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


My art... keeps me sane.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:09 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is perfect as I just got my blu-ray copy of the criterion edition in the mail.

I kind of want to print the cards out and post them around my apartment while I watch it.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:46 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I only appear on television... on television.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 3:47 PM on March 15, 2012


One of my favorite movies. I can't remember where I saw it first, but for years I would be in the video store thinking: "Oh man, I should rent that weird movie. What was it called? Oh here it is 'Vision Quest'" Get it home: Matthew Modine? WTF?

I may have done that as many as three different times.

I loves me some Jimmie Woods.
posted by humboldt32 at 4:08 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, one of my favorites too, by one of my favorite filmmakers.
posted by item at 4:22 PM on March 15, 2012


I saw it while I was stuck working a shitty job in Korea. It made me soooooo homesick for Toronto.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:26 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm watching it right now on Netflix Instant. Odd watching a movie that features analog broadcasting so heavily on the Internet. It has been encoded, stored on some vast array of hard drives unimaginable at the time when the movie was made, split into packets and bounced through endless miles of fibre and routers only to pop up on a tv. Broadcast TV has only been around for mere seconds in the history of mankind and we have already moved on. There is something powerful about the idea of a signal floating in the void, to be captured by anyone, that Internet streaming lacks.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:42 PM on March 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


There is something powerful about the idea of a signal floating in the void, to be captured by anyone, that Internet streaming lacks.

I don't remember who said this, but just think of all the words and pictures that are at this moment occurring in the right ventricle of your heart.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:19 PM on March 15, 2012


No one talks about Spider!
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:33 PM on March 15, 2012


"You'll forgive me if I don't stay around to watch. I just can't cope with the freaky stuff. I'll be in the back with a Dos Equis. Stay thirsty my friend."
posted by Auden at 5:55 PM on March 15, 2012


I only appear on metafilter... on metafilter.
p0sted by pmcp at 12:39 on March 14
posted by pmcp at 6:57 PM on March 15, 2012


seanmpuckett: "No one talks about Spider"

I do. That movie is the masterpiece of Cronenberg's late period (the more or less purely psychological stuff), and it's also one of the most authentic portrayals of mental illness I've seen, to the point where you start understanding what it must feel like.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:46 PM on March 15, 2012


I do. That movie is the masterpiece of Cronenberg's late period (the more or less purely psychological stuff), and it's also one of the most authentic portrayals of mental illness I've seen, to the point where you start understanding what it must feel like.

Love the book too. Although McGrath does the unreliable narrator bit a little too often (every book of his I've read).

The commentary on the DVD is good as well.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:07 PM on March 15, 2012


I watched it for the first time last year, and was completely surprised/delighted by the Marshall McLuhan & Moses Znaimer spoofs.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:08 PM on March 15, 2012


I watched it for the articles.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:17 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Viewed on videotape in 1986 after a harrowing misadventure in a strange city which nearly ended in my and my companions actually freezing to death on a twenty-below midwinter night.

The reluctant house of acquaintances that took us in while we waited for my girlfriend (who lived in said strange city) to finish her shift and take us to her place quite neighborly got us bake out of our minds and then handed us this videotape.

Truly an unforgettable film experience. I couldn't watch movies on a VCR for two years.
posted by mwhybark at 11:00 PM on March 15, 2012


Oh! There's more!

Lunch with David Cronenberg

“Gynecological Instruments for Working on Mutant Women”
posted by Artw at 12:04 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Time has convinced me of one thing. Television is for appearing on, not looking at.

I think if I could go back and talk to 80s me or even 90s me I think they would totally freak out over the fact that I barely watch 3-4 hrs of television a week now instead of the 2-3 hrs I was watching every night back then.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:42 AM on March 16, 2012


Notes from a ... Note from a Videodrome test screening.

I was hoping for more.
posted by Rash at 9:34 AM on March 16, 2012


Search for triangles.
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember when this film came out in the UK there was a big deal over a scene where Debbie Harry stubs out cigarettes on her breasts. It was cut so that the BBFC would give it a certificate. In my head I imagined it to be the most horrific thing imaginable so when eventually I got to see the whole thing uncut (a Moviedrome presentation?) it was a real case of was that it? (As happened re a lot of things that were cut/banned at that time)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:27 AM on March 16, 2012


Rash, the interface is mystery meat and javascript but there are nine of them.
posted by RobotHero at 11:47 AM on March 16, 2012


eXistenZ was mentioned earlier, and that's another good example of the small things that Cronenberg does with his films to make his films unsettling. In an interview with Carol Spier, who was the production designer for the film, she said, "In eXistenz, there are no computers, no monitors, no TV, no telephones, no clocks. And in the costume department, no running shoes, no watches, no suits, no jackets and ties, no jewelry." This makes sense from a game designer's view, as it would take more processing power to render all the small objects and, in this case, also removes visual cues for the viewer that says "This is the future." Compare the look of a movie such as Minority Report for the other extreme. Cronenberg said, "I'm not even sure they will notice the absence of those things, but I knew it would have a real weight in creating a strange tone for the film."
All of this, for me, just adds up to repeated viewings of all of his films to see if I can find what little things he's doing this time around.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:07 AM on March 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


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