Short Essay on Videodrome


This film is going to leave the average viewer with a sense of frustration that manifests from a knowledge that we have just seem something, but what was it really about?   The movement of this film is inward, relentlessly inward.   The broad picture we see at first is one of a huge, controlling, malevolent, corporation using technology in the form of video to manipulate human biology.   The picture narrows as the sadomasochistic, pop-culture, radio psychiatrist, pornographically enters the picture, making Max and his involvement and obsession with sadism stand out as a motif in the film.   We learn that Spectacular Optical is counting on transgressive sexual appetite to carry out its evil plan of controlling human biology with technology, and which also causes brain tumors.   Max gets a brain tumor from watching the corporations’ programming, but he himself is responsible for this because of his behavior, and our attention shifts further toward him.   The subjective consequences of his transgressive sexual behavior are fantastic hallucinations, including an extra penis (in the form of a gun growing out the end of his arm) and a virtual vagina opening in his abdomen, revealing that this masculine protagonist must also engage in transsexual fantasies. TV’s and videotapes take on breathing, pulsating movements as Max’s identity starts to dissolve and be absorbed into technology.   It’s as if Max and technology are absorbing each other.   As Max slips further into madness and kills his partners, the real motive of Spectacular Optical is in question.   How can Max hand over the station now that he is a fugitive?   Our subjectivity is honed in on Max now that Spectacular Optical has become an enigma and by the time Max arrives at the shipyard and the wrecked out boat, S.O. has faded entirely to us.   It’s just us and Max.
The ending of the film seems almost too straightforward in the context of a film saturated in suggestive and non-suggestive sexual imagery (I...