I Craved Tragedy. I Received Comedy.
On the comic masterpiece that is ‘Crimes of The Future’
I love Videodrome. No. No. You don’t understand. I love Videodrome. I saw it as a student and it transformed what I considered narratively possible. Videodrome was prescient, yet it remains destined to come up within the context of any conversation about media. If you haven’t seen Videodrome, do yourself a favor: stop reading this and go watch it right now. Last I checked, Amazon has it. Watch it hard. Bear in mind, it came out in the early 1983, when my local cable company had only 30 channels, some just endless loops of infomercials in Spanish.
Still reading or did you just finish watching? Well, for people who didn’t watch it, here’s the plot of Videodrome: A salacious TV producer desperately seeking content to arouse himself and his audience, finds out about a snuff-porn show called Videodrome. He seeks out the producers because he will do anything for clicks (the remote control kind). Then the show poisons his mind, a bunch of really gross stuff happens to him and he becomes the inceptor for a new kind of human race, just as he decides to blow his brains out.
Can you imagine pitching that movie today?
I can’t. I can’t imagine pitching it in 1981. I certainly can’t imagine getting the money to make it. Wow. Just, wow. The balls on that guy.
And the story touches on lots of ideas we have today about how to appear on social media (Professor O’Blivion) or how anonymity brings out the darkness in us (Nicky Brand), or how it can show us our true selves, and we can be so horrified by the sight that we flee into madness (Max Renn).
Let’s back up a little bit. To understand the rest of this, you need to know the context of my seeing Cronenberg’s latest film.
I’m going through some real shit right now and I needed to escape for one evening. I just wanted a night of seeing something that would horrify me so my own troubles wouldn’t consume me in quite the same way.
You see, my widowed mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. While I was organizing my own transcontinental move, I had to deal with my mother’s rapid downward spiral, while my blessed wife and I tried to find a solution that would…