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.

Videodrome :: Dennis Hopper in White Star

Between 1972 and 1985, Dennis Hopper was persona non grata in mainstream Hollywood circles. As Hopper was unable to score a decent mainstream acting gig in American cinema, he headed to West Germany to appear as a disheveled and burned-out music manager in German director Roland Klick’s White Star (1984).

As a coherent film, White Star might not hang together, but it offers a lucid experience of Hopper’s dangerous, real-life psychological decay, and his own persona bleeding into his character’s wild nature.

Videodrome :: Vigilante (1982)

In many ways, 1982’s Vigilante is the scrappy kid brother of Death Wish. But its approach is leaner and meaner, rough around the edges and unvarnished. There’s a primal and animalistic undercurrent to Vigilante, grittier and sleazier then the Death Wish franchise or any of its “revengeplotation” contemporaries. The visual aesthetic and thematic philosophy is exploitative and nihilistic; ice in its veins and hate in its heart.

Videodrome :: The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain is offensive and grotesque in the same breath that it’s beautiful and transcendent, challenging all methods of interpretation and blowing the doors off meta-narratives in its rejection of form. It’s as subversive and tripped-out as any contemporary piece of media, serving as a gateway drug into the hardcore realm of mind-bending world cinema.

Videodrome :: The Last Tycoon (1976)

The Last Tycoon seems to view the fabled “hero’s journey” of Hollywood storytelling as a pandering lie; a disingenuous roadmap to regurgitate while navigating narratives, as phony to the audience as it is to the real life of the people who make the kinds of films that propagate it. It presents a contrarian disposition to the cinematic tradition of happy endings that works on a meta-level, unapologetically concluding itself in sorrow and confusion.

Videodrome :: The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie

Considered a monumental flop at the time of its release, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie has since developed a vehement cult following. It’s widely regarded as one of John Cassavetes’ best films and Ben Gazzara’s greatest on-screen performance. Part of the delayed attraction may be that audiences have finally caught up to what Cassavetes was attempting to do. At a time when other American directors such as Coppola and Scorsese were releasing films that would serve as the consummate blueprint for future genre films, Cassavetes was already eradicating pre-conceived narrative standards and deconstructing archetypical characters, searching for the unaffected moments where these histrionic gangsters and gamblers could be vulnerable, flawed, and resolutely human.

Videodrome :: Urgh! A Music War

Released in May 1982, Urgh! A Music War is one of the most salient artifacts from the musical movement that would later be dubbed “new wave.” Clocking in at just over two hours and featuring over thirty live performances, the anthological concert film showcases artists in their prime as well as their infancy.

Videodrome :: Doctor Death (1989)

Doctor Death isn’t your typical Halloween fare. More sci-fi than horror, it’s a post-apocalyptic Super 8 film from 1989, made by a teenaged Webster Colcord and starring his friends and family. Featuring homemade special effects that would make Rick Baker or Tom Savini smile, the nuclear fallout has dissipated as our titular anti-hero cruises around in his tricked-out school bus, tossing chemical bombs out the window, terrorizing anyone (or anything — poor dog) unfortunate enough to cross his path.

Videodrome :: Deadlock (1970)

A mysterious longhaired man in a tattered suit is stumbling his way through a barren and blazing-hot landscape. He’s been shot in the arm. The sun is cooking him alive. In one hand is a gun, in the other is a metal suitcase. Inside the suitcase? A bunch of money and a vinyl record by the cosmic rock trailblazers CAN. This is the opening scene for 1970’s Deadlock, the second feature-length film by the underrated West German auteur Roland Klick, and a movie that not only features a soundtrack by CAN, but also manages to incorporate that music into its cryptic storyline.