Review: Videodrome 4K UHD Limited Edition
4K UHD Blu-ray: Videodrome (1983)
One of those classic films that films fans love; unusual, brutal, a one of a kind. All from the mind of genius film maker David Cronenberg. Now I don’t like to give spoilers away in my reviews, just in case the viewer hasn’t seen the film and doesn’t want it ‘ruined’ by having the whole story written out. It’s impossible to do this with Videodrome, because 39 years later I still have no idea what the hell it’s about.
That isn’t a negative though, because Videodrome spans the ages and is as relevant now as it was in 1983.
Max Renn (James Woods) is a boss at an independent TV station and is always on the look out for something edgy to show the audience. Soft porn, mild torture – basically snuff movies that are acted.
One of the technicians at the station stumbles across a pirate signal of a show called videodrome, where people are dragged into a red room and beaten and tortured up against a wet clay wall. Max wants this show and starts to look for the producers of it. On the way he meets Nicki Brand (Debbie Harry), a radio DJ and embarks on a sadomasochistic relationship with her, encouraged by watching Videodrome.
The 4K UHD Arrow release looks incredible, every pore of Wood’s face stands out, and in a testament to the great Rick Baker, his practical body horror effects look fantastic despite them being shown in glorious UHD. A gun becomes melded to Max’s hand, he inserts a Betamax video into a slit in his stomach, all look perfectly acceptable, slightly freakish but not impossible, Rick Baker, king of special effects, long live practical effects over CG!
So, what’s so great about Videodrome?
Writer/director David Cronenberg was and is well known for “body horror”, and like most great horror films, it reflects the time it was made in fusing social commentary on our reliance on TV, and I suppose in this modern day it can translate to our belief in whatever the media/internet tells us – Bill Gates putting Microchips in covid vaccinations anyone?
I was also surprised at the still shocking elements of sex and violence. You don’t exactly see anything, but watching Debbie Harry burn herself and encourage Max to cut her for sexual gratification in such a grimy sleazy way certainly made me feel genuinely uncomfortable.
I do believe Videodrome is essentially a story that each viewer will interpret in their own way. Personally I see it as a body-horror, a warning of consumption and the human fascination with sex and death.
This is a great package which fantastic extras from Arrow, all brought to us in glorious 4K.
Long live Arrows 4K releases!
- Exclusive edition only available at Arrowfilms.com & Zavvi.com
- Brand new 4K restorations from the original camera negative by Arrow Films of both the full-length director’s cut and the US theatrical cut, approved by director David Cronenberg
- 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
- Original lossless mono soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary by Tim Lucas, the on-set correspondent for Cinefantastique Magazine and author of Videodrome: Studies in the Horror Film
- David Cronenberg and the Cinema of the Extreme, a documentary featuring interviews with Cronenberg, George A. Romero and Alex Cox on Cronenberg’s cinema, censorship and the horror genre
- Forging the New Flesh, a documentary by filmmaker Michael Lennick on Videodrome’s video and prosthetic make up effects
- Fear on Film, A round table discussion from 1982 with Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis and Mick Garris
- The complete, uncensored Samurai Dreams footage with commentary by Michael Lennick
- Helmet-Cam Test and Why Betamax?, two featurettes by Michael Lennick on the film’s effects
- The Making of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, a 1982 featurette by Mick Garris, with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Cronenberg, James Woods, Deborah Harry and Rick Baker
- Videoblivion, an interview with cinematographer Mark Irwin
- Pierre David on Videodrome, an interview with executive producer Pierre David
- AKA Jack Martin, an interview with Dennis Etchison, author of novelisations of Videodrome and The Fog, discussing Videodrome and his observations of Cronenberg’s script
- Camera, Cronenberg’s short film starring Videodrome’s Les Carlson
- Pirated Signals: The Lost Broadcast, deleted and alternate scenes from the TV version
- Original trailers
- Image gallery
- Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring two original pieces of poster artwork
- Illustrated 60-page collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Justin Humphreys, Brad Stevens and Tim Lucas, extracts from Cronenberg on Cronenberg, and a brand new roundtable retrospective with critics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Cerise Howard, Josh Nelson and Emma Westwood
- Foldout double-sided poster featuring two original pieces of artwork
- Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards
Release Date: 24th October 2022.
Review by Tina from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films via Fetch Publicity.