“I just can’t cope with the freaky stuff.”

David Cronenberg’s Videodrome is a fever dream that’s tough to shake, and it’s impossible to watch this film from 1983 without mapping it onto today’s internet. How it has colonized our minds, steadily rewiring the real world until every snapshot, thought, and interaction conforms to its logic. Lurking beneath videotaped sleaze and torture porn, a mysterious signal infects James Woods’s brain, warps his body, and transforms him into something ruthless and inhuman. It’s a vivid blend of body horror, sci-fi, and media critique. But now it reads like a heavy-handed metaphor for online radicalization. And like a weird feedback loop, the internet has claimed the mind of the real-life James Woods, transforming him into a pitiful troll who traffics in paranoia and spite.

Would it be possible to update Videodrome for the digital age? Television is unidirectional and, in the end, it’s an object in the room. But how do you make art out of something as omnipresent as air? More and more, it feels like trying to critique the sky.

Source: Drome by James Reeves

I remember watching Videodrome a long time ago, appropriately enough a video recording. It’s a deeply disturbing film on many levels, and there are no winners at the end. I’d forgotten that James Woods was the actor who played the main character, though I am familiar with his more recent infamy on Twitter.

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