Videodrome :: True Stories (1986)

Is True Stories a musical, a comedy, a documentary, or another Talking Heads film? In retrospect, it’s all of these things and more. True Stories is an oracular film, predicting the changing landscape of Texas while simultaneously capturing America in all its peculiarities circa the mid-eighties.

Videodrome :: Lady In A Cage (1964)

If Lady In A Cage presents a worldview, it’s decidedly misanthropic. Footage of baseball games and fighter jets are juxtaposed with heinous news reports and acts of savagery. This is America in decline, blissfully aware of its ignorance but unwilling to confront the nightmares its pacification has spawned.

Videodrome :: Less Than Zero (1987)

There are two ways to evaluate Less Than Zero: a standalone film that functions on its own cinematic merits, or the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel. Like most pieces of media that live in various forms, the appreciation or dissatisfaction largely stems from which one was encountered first, and the personal sentimentality placed upon that experience. But there’s a third way to approach Less Than Zero, and that is as a holiday film.

Videodrome :: Let’s Get Lost (1988)

Rather than characterize Baker as the trumpet-wielding James Dean or a playboy jazz rebel, Weber shows Baker for who he was: a deeply flawed man, with bruises and blemishes and all. The contrast between Baker’s personality and musicality makes Weber’s profile of Baker that much more heartbreaking. How could someone of so few words be so lyrical and poignant in their musicianship? How could someone who lived so crudely play so gently and sing so sweetly?

Videodrome :: Wisconsin Death Trip

The documentary shows news reports and photographs from a town decaying into chaos throughout the 1890s: murder, suicide, mental insanity, epidemics, arson, and economic collapse. Whether following one of the many Black River Falls residents taken to Mendota Asylum for insanity or tracing ghost sightings in the area, Wisconsin Death Trip displays a community in complete decline, stripping away the romanticization of the American frontier to reveal its true agony and despair.

Videodrome :: Cisco Pike And The Gargoyles (1972)

For director Bill L. Norton, 1972 was a big year. The UCLA graduate had two movies coming out: Cisco Pike, a counterculture drama starring Kris Kristofferson as a down-on-his-luck musician and ex-con being forced by corrupt cop Gene Hackman to sell a garage full of weed in one weekend … along with the release of his low-budget made-for-tv movie, Gargoyles. As one might guess, these two films could not be more different from one another.

Videodrome :: Near Dark (1987)

In retrospect, Near Dark has endured amongst horror aficionados as one of the most eminent genre-hybrids ever made for many reasons: the kinetic pacing that mixes art-house ambiance with multiplex populism, the seamless blending of outlaw-western with vampire-horror, and the synth-soaked score from Tangerine Dream. But Near Dark’s under-discussed ace-in-the-hole is that it’s a horror film that handles exposition with the utmost confidence and grace.

Videodrome :: Trouble Man (1972)

Rather than become a pillar of blaxploitation, Trouble Man has been abated to a cinematic footnote of the subgenre. But the impeccable soundtrack from Gaye deserves to be held in the same regard as other blaxploitation soundtracks ranging from Edwin Starr to Bobby Womack. It’s not only one of the best soundtracks you don’t hear enough about, but one of the paramount releases of Gaye’s prolific career, emblazoning him as a musical jack of all trades and a master of all of them.

Videodrome :: Tokyo Drifter (1966)

Tokyo Drifter is undoubtedly a pop film, and like the greatest pop songs, its limitations birthed its originality. Despite a muddled script adapted from pop-song lyrics, a meager budget, and a draconian studio system, Suzuki managed to outmaneuver his dire circumstances, producing a film that was even more glossy and fashionable than if he had twice or triple the budget and time. It’s pure spectacle for the sake of spectacle, an idiom of sixties pop culture that – like any great pop chorus – invites you to sing along with it.

Videodrome :: The Cinematic Metropolis

In this installment of Videodrome, Stephen Lee Naish examines the sinister and dangerous representation of urban spaces in cinema. From comedies like Adventures of Babysitting to Taxi Driver, The Warriors, and Cosmopolis, he explores how film filters our own sense of danger and makes the city a strange and intriguing place—and a hellscape once night falls.

Videodrome :: Blue Sunshine (1978)

Blue Sunshine is one of the rare 1970s films you may find filed underneath “Horror” or “Cult” or “Exploitation” that has no nudity, just a few drops of blood, and PG-rated language. It’s an odd feat for a low-budget film based around homicidal maniacs killing people because of unregulated drug use. But Blue Sunshine’s horror doesn’t stem from gore and carnage as much as an undercurrent of paranoid psychosis, a reflection of the time it was released.

Videodrome :: Tetsuo: The Iron Man

However one chooses to interpret the thematic message, part of Tetsuo’s lasting endurance is that it can be enjoyed on a purely visceral level. If you tear away all of the percolating themes, Tetsuo is a pure emulation of the sci-fi and horror content Tsukamoto grew up watching and reading. It’s a love letter to the kaiju films of Toho Studios as well as a continuum of Japanese horror; ironically dubbed “the most metal film ever made

Videodrome :: Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope (1975)

1975’s Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope defies categorization. It’s not that the film is confused; it simply doesn’t care to fit into a box. Throughout its brisk eighty-six minutes, it weaves in and out of elements of hardboiled thrillers, superhero flicks, espionage conspiracies, paranormal occultism, sleazy soft-core porn, and pulpy noir. It’s a chaotic piece of pop-art, filled with surreal lighting cues, vibrant dutch-angles, and bursts of ultra-violence and sexuality, bursting at the frames with a kind of kitschy, hyper-stylization usually reserved for comic books.