The Movie “Videodrome” and The Horror of Mass Media

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“Videodrome” is an 80’s science fiction horror film that contains some gore, James Woods and Betamax videotapes. Above all, the movie communicates a strong message on the perversity of mass media, its dangers to the human psyche and how it is used to manipulate the masses. This article will look at the meaning of the movie “Videodrome” and how it reveals the shadier aspects of mass media.

Warning: This article contains spoilers and disturbing subject matters.

Videodrome is a dark Canadian movie about a sleazy CEO of a small cable TV station and his discovery of a broadcast signal featuring live torture and murder. As fascination turns into obsession, then into physical illness, the movie symbolically describes, in a very extreme and graphic way, the impact of mass media perversity on the human psyche, as well as the dark forces behind it.

The movie’s odd mix of gore, taboo subject matters and social commentary make it an original, but disturbing film to watch. I am glad I did not watch the movie as a child because I’d probably have gotten nightmares for days. Thirty years later, though Videodrome‘s horror special effects appear quite corny and laughable, one thing is for sure: Its message hasn’t aged a bit. In fact, the metaphorical meaning behind the twisted scenes in the movie is as real, relevant and shocking as it ever was, which probably explains why it became somewhat of a cult classic.

Videodrome was produced in 1983 but one can argue that it was decades ahead of its time. It successfully predicted the growing control of mass media by shady forces, the coming of reality television and the propagation, through various mediums such as the Internet, of all kinds of extreme underground films.

While many perceive the movie as a criticism of the effect of mass media, some claim that it is nothing less than a manifesto from the elite to reveal the way it functions.

“This writer submits that part of the ongoing “Revelation of the Method”, the cryptocracy recently issued a kind of Rosicrucian manifesto, revealing precisely what television is doing to us and what the future of the video imperium they are planning for us will be like. The name of this manifesto is Videodrome, directed by the Canadian David Cronberg whose other works include two films about psychic assassins, Scanners which features the Kennedy-sigil exploding head and the Dead Zone”.
– Michael A. Hoffman, Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare

Let’s look at the movie’s plot and how it relates in the context of today.

Discovering the Videodrome

Max Renn is the president of CIVIC-TV, one of those sleazy television stations that specialize in low-grade programming such as soft “adult” shows and low grade violent movies. He is convinced that the public is hungry for more extreme TV experiences and that his network must bring this to its viewers.

During a TV interview, Max Renn argues that TV acts as a catharsis, meaning that it is a healthy outlet for our violent and sexual needs. He soon discovers first hand that his theory is completely false.

Renn is actively looking for something new and exciting to propose to his viewers. To do so, he has a secret contact: A TV pirate named Harlan who can intercept satellite signals from across the world. The pirate shows him a television show that will change his life.

Harlan shows Renn a television signal broadcasting nothing but ultra-realistic torture, abuse and murder performed by masked individuals. Renn believes that it is all staged and that it is exactly the kind of programming his network needs.

Renn discovers later in the movie that nothing in Videodrome is staged and that it is, in fact, snuff TV, which is real live footage of violent acts.

In the “real world”, the concept of snuff videos is taboo and controversial. However, some researchers have exposed the existence of underground networks distributing snuff videos in elite organizations. Everything from blood rituals to abuse involving mind-controlled slaves and minors is distributed and consumed by high-placed circles operating above the law. Also, high-profile crimes that bear a ritualistic aspect are sometimes recorded and sold at high price.

“Some of the Son of Sam murders were videotaped by cult-members and copies command high prices in cash, drugs and other commodities on the underground snuff-film circuit.”
– Michael A. Hoffman, Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare

The masses are introduced and desensitized to the occult elite’s taste for the violent and perverse through mass media.

“None of this ought to be too shocking to any American TV watcher since a version of this process can be seen in those glimpses of actual murders and other horrors we are shown on broadcast TV, on the “news” and in “specials”, right in the “Videodrome”. Simulated snuff-videos are already available at many of our cheery neighbourhood video-rental stores. Cable and network television broadcast the highest grade of brutalizing voyeurism.”
– Ibid.

In the movie, Max Renn is somewhat representative of the masses. Even though he knows that Videodrome is not the most engrossing show on TV, he still irresistibly attracted to its graphic material. Fascination with blood and lust is a primal and instinctive reflex and has been used as a tool to capture attention and to control since ancient times (see Circus and Gladiatorial Games in the Roman Empire). Furthermore, when no moral objections are involved, some are willing to be exposed to truly evil and twisted deeds to satisfy a craving that often turns into an obsession.

In the movie, Nicki, the woman Max is dating, gets sexually aroused by the violence in Videodrome. Completely submitting to the call of their lowest impulses, the couple gets “busy” while watching some guy getting tortured. While blood and lust are primal instincts that are meant to insure survival, we see here that they’ve been twisted and distorted by mass media to manipulate weaker minds.

Watching Videodrome quickly produces negative effects on Renn. His interest for the show quickly turns into an obsession. The tape he uses for entertainment soon begins to consume him.

Max’s obsession for Videodrome causes a blurring between reality and fiction. Here, TV takes life and literally calls him.

Max begins to experience intense hallucinations. He doesn’t see a difference between television and reality. He soon realizes that Videodrome is not just “entertainment”.

More Than a TV Show

While researching the origin of Videodrome in order to broadcast it on his TV station, Renn learns that it is much more than a TV show. One his friends tells him that the action on Videodrome is not staged and that those behind it are powerful and dangerous. While the show simply appears to be about violence, there is much more behind it. Max’s friend tells him:

“It has something that you don’t have, Max. It has a philosophy. And that’s what makes it dangerous”.

This concept is very true in mass media. While most people do not live according to a specific philosophy and do not put a lot of thought about what they watch on TV, those in power and those controlling the airwaves are often motivated by strong philosophical and political motives. This results in the communication of propaganda to people who do not even realize they are watching propaganda.

The man behind Videodrome is Professor Max Oblivion, who only communicates through TV screens.

“The battle for the mind of North America will be fought in the video arena. The Videodrome. The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those watching. Therefore, television is reality. And reality is less than television.”

Oblivion is an idealist convinced that technology, particularly television, would help lead humanity to a better tomorrow. He runs “Cathode Ray Mission”, a homeless shelter that provides a “healthy dose” television to those who cannot afford it.

Oblivion’s office is full of items relating to religion and philosophy. He believes that mass media can bring near-spiritual salvation and promise eternal life through television.

As it is the case in the real world, Professor Oblivion’s altruistic dream got taken over by people who mean business. He is killed by a shady yet powerful organization that wants to use Videodrome to control and manipulate the masses. And Max soon discovers who they are.

The organization runs behind a front company named Spectacular Optical. The eye logo and the ominous slogan “Keeping an eye on the world” is rather Illuminati-ish.

When Renn meets to head of Spectacular Optical, he is shown an introductory video that describes the organization an “enthusiastic global corporate citizen that makes inexpensive glasses for the Third World and missile guidance systems for NATO”. In other words, it is the type of mega-corporation that would be part of our world’s global elite. Spectacular Optical also makes Videodrome.

The head of Spectacular Optical, Barry Convex, tells Max that Videodrome is extreme because exposure to violence affects the nervous system and “opens receptors in the brains and the spine which allow the Videodrome signal to sink in” – and mess with people’s minds. One can wonder if there is some factual basis behind this theory: Do sex and violence create a primal response in our bodies that makes us more receptive to other messages and signals? Even if there were serious studies on the subject, I doubt they would be divulged to the public.

Max then learns that he was purposely deceived into watching Videodrome because Spectacular Optical needs to take over his TV station to broadcast its signal to the masses. To do so, Max will be used as a mind-controlled patsy to kill his partners and hand over Channel 83 to Spectacular Optical.

When the Program Programs You

Although Max realizes that weird stuff is going on, his exposure to Videodrome has rendered him utterly powerless and at the mercy of those broadcasting the signal. The movie illustrates in a rather graphic matter how individuals can easily be brainwashed and controlled by mass media.

The head of Spectacular Optimal literally jams inside Max a tape in order to program his mind and control his actions. This is a rather graphic way of representing how the elite-controlled mass media programs its viewers, figuratively inserting a tape into people to get its Agenda and messages accepted.

Controlled by the tape, Renn enters the office of his TV station and takes out his partners. He is then told to go take care of Bianca Oblivion, the daughter of Professor Oblivion. There, he is stopped short and Bianca uses a TV screen to “deprogram” him. He is however quickly reprogrammed to kill the head of Spectacular Optical, Barry Convex. Max has become a blank slate that can be programmed and re-programmed at will.

Bianca’s TV points back at Max the gun he is holding. Media therefore became a reflection of him and him, a reflection of media. The TV then shoots Max which allows him to be free from the Videodrome tape and to be “reborn” in an almost religious way. Max’s new mantra: “Death to Videodrome, Long Live the New Flesh”.

Max then goes to take care of Barry Convex, who is in an optical trade show for reading glasses and such. The theme of the show is de Medici, Florence’s prominent political dynasty, banking family and royal house of the 14th century. This choice of theme is rather interesting considering the fact that Spectacular Optical can easily be related to the occult elite we call the Illuminati.

The de Medici family can be seen as a prototype of today’s Illuminati bloodlines, as it had a stronghold on the monetary, cultural and even religious affairs of their subjects (the family produced four popes). From an occult point of view, de Medici’s translated classical works on Mystery teachings (such as the Corpus Hermeticum) are often credited for having revived hermeticsm, the Kabbalah and Gnosticism in Europe – all basic teachings of today’s secret societies. The theme of the trade show can therefore further associate Spectacular Optical with the occult elite.

The stage of the trade show contains two quotes: “The eye is the window to the soul” and “Love comes in at the eye”. Considering the fact that this organization controls people by making them watch acts of cruelty, these sayings conceal a disturbing meaning. Then again, doublespeak is a specialty of the elite.

When Renn shoots Convex, we find out that he’s some kind of alien or monster, which is somewhat reminiscent of the movie They Live (read my article about They Live here).

Dazed and Confused

After carrying out his murderous mission, Renn hides in an abandoned place. He once again finds himself in front of a TV that directly talks to him. It tells him that “death is not the end” and that it can “help him”. Is it proposing eternal life through appearing on television? Max then tells the TV what many people unconsciously feel.

“I don’t know where I am now. I am having trouble finding my way around.”

His exposure to Videodrome (mass media) has caused him to lose his thoughts and even his free will. The TV, which uses the image of Nicki to seduce him and attract his attention, replies:

“Videodrome still exists. Its very big, very complex. You’ve hurt them, but you haven’t destroyed them. To do that, you’d have to go on to the next phase.”

The TV then tells him that he needs to go “all the way” and become the New Flesh. To do that, he has to kill himself. We see here how mass media can be a manipulative force, using seduction and rhetoric to influence behavior, even if it involves shooting oneself in the head. Then, the TV says: “Here, I’ll show you”.

The TV shows Max how to shoot himself.

Right after, Max imitates what he saw on television, says  “Long live the New Flesh” and shoots himself in the head … and the movie ends on that unsettling note.

Did Max truly “complete his transformation” and become New Flesh? Probably not. Like most of what is said on television, all of this New Flesh story was most likely a bunch of BS used to manipulate his confused mind and to push him towards suicide. By shooting Convex, Max became an enemy of Videodrome and, like most mind-controlled patsies, he was pushed into a “self-destruct mode” once he stopped being useful to the organization.

On a larger scale, the ending of the movie communicates a strong statement about the influence of mass media on the world. Does it directly influence people’s thoughts and actions, even if it goes against their best interests? This movie says yes.

 

In Conclusion

While the premise of Videodrome is over-the-top science fiction, its underlying message rings even truer today than it did in 1983 when it was released. With the advent of new technologies such as the Internet and mobile devices, we are today, more than ever, surrounded by the signals of the real-world Videodrome that is mass media. Its images and message can now reach us in a variety of ways, following us anywhere we go. While not as in-your-face and extreme as the movie’s Videodrome, today’s mass media still tap into these two primal urges humans that are difficult for human to ignore: blood-lust and reproduction. These two instincts were encoded in our DNA for the survival of individuals and the propagation of the species, but they are now “soft spots” that can easily be triggered with specific stimuli, causing an immediate and powerful reactions. As people get desensitized to sexual and violent imagery, mass media constantly pushes the envelope to bring new, distorted and twisted ways to capture their viewer’s attention. While the showing of a woman’s ankle caused quite a stir a few decades ago, today Internet users keep demanding for more extreme footage to get excited. As Max says in the movie: “They need something rough”. How long will it take until all-out snuff movies become acceptable for mass consumption? Some say that we are already being introduced to the Illuminati twisted underground world as a lot of snuff is actually already in mass media and we don’t even realize it.

However, as the movie states, blood and lust are not the ultimate end, but merely a vehicle to communicate the most important aspect of it all: the Agenda. This is what it is all about. It is about materialism, superficiality, the sexualization of anything, the destruction of family values and much more. All of the articles on Vigilant Citizen show that behind the bells, the whistles, the sexiness and the eye candy, a message is being communicated – one that goes with the best interests of the elite. Watching Lady Gaga in a music video wearing a bikini and whipping some guy (which oddly resembles a scene in Videodrome) is a good attention-grabber but, as we’ve seen in many articles, there are many messages that also being communicated. The Videodrome signal that causes everything from hallucinations and brain tumors is the constant conditioning that is exerted by mass media to force the world accept a specific world vision – which is a fake as a hallucination.

In the Illuminati’s Videodrome, the masses are constantly exposed to the values that need to be accepted, the mindset that needs to be adopted and the symbolism that needs to be embraced. From mega-rituals disguised as current events to propaganda disguised as entertainment, TV viewers find themselves like Max Renn, with tapes inserted right in their belly. Don’t want your mind to end up like Max’s? Remove that tape, throw it in the garbage and think for yourself.

 

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214 Comments on "The Movie “Videodrome” and The Horror of Mass Media"


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RD Smith
1 year 11 months ago

Interesting. But you have not quite got it the whole thing. One has to pay attention not only to the overt stuff, but the background images. Such as the odd moon poster with a can below it that says "Poppycock", the newspaper on the table that refers to somebody making millions off a C.I.A. experience, the photo of Hitler in a Tutu. The set items are not incidental. The "New Flesh" is a paraphrase which all students of ancient knowledge will know immediately. The division of the two powers is also important, the eye of Spectacular Optical, the church in… Read more »

Kubrick
11 days 21 hours ago

Well spotted. I saw the Moon poster prominently 3 times (note in two diff rooms even) and the Hitler poster stuck out obviously too. I interpret that to be him being puppeted…do you agree? I missed the CIA thing…I was tired and fighting a cold/flu. Lots of symbolism throughout….first time seeing this and it was pretty good. Ahead of it’s time.

Admiral Tad Coin, Re
3 years 5 months ago

Cronenberg unofficially updated Videodrome with his film eXistenZ; which essentially incorporated video games into his theory, etc. I believe that eXistenZ might be his last truly great film. Worth seeing. Also, read up on Marshal McLuhan; which he cited numerous times as influential in writing the script. We've totally lost our ability to think clearly, and definitely have lost our use of trivium in thinking about matters in our society. Whether or not there is any one "agenda" out there or not, is really beside the point. The point is that we do have the means to regain our true… Read more »

Bypass
2 years 2 months ago

This article seems to have been posted over a year ago, not sure if it's still active. Great article on a great movie. I still can't decide whether it's a subliminal warning for the "Hollywood" culture or simply a manifesto. Somehow, it seems to be both. Anyways, I digress… QUESTION: The poster in Max Renn's apartment of the moon landing…there's a hand from a magazine article or something that's been cut and pasted over the astronaut's right hand. It seems to be pointing to one of the craters, and I'm wondering if anyone has info. on why this poster was… Read more »

Enlightened
2 years 2 months ago

I just want to say thank you to VC! A very short time ago I was 100% oblivious and ignorant to ALL the issues discussed on this site.. And I've never been one to believe that ignorance is bliss and therefore have questioned everything, however, I didn't know that there was anything like this to question.. I'm 23 years old so I grew up with stars like Britney Spears influencing my generation.. And as I grew up I noticed just how desensitized me and my generation really are, and I also noticed that the generations below mine are mind blowingly… Read more »

Issela Santina
2 years 7 months ago

I've watched the full movie twice. There are some things you might want to add about the tortured girl on TV:
Deborah "Debbie" Harry of Blondie. David Cronenberg (thank you for actually revealing all this) put her in the cast as the masochistic Nicki Brand (Nicki—nicks, aka the wounds on her shoulder/Brand—when she brands herself on the chest with a cigarette) because she was popular then.

kenj
2 years 9 months ago

Hi
Just fyi, this movie is coming on around midnight tonight/tomorrow on one of the' Encore' channels.

X
3 years 14 days ago

No. Blondie is a band. Debbie Harry is Blondie’s lead singer.

Charles Bond
3 years 16 days ago

I agree strongly with your comments about how we can come to emulate what we see. During research into how drugs affect the mind, researchers found that the amygdala, a major component of the reward pathway, can't tell truth from fiction: this is an executive function and takes place in the frontal lobes. When we are exposed to material which arouses strong emotional responses, the frontal lobes are bypassed and the memories of the material – plus their emotional impact – are processed directly by the amygdala. Just so, for people who have taken hallucinogens and have a "bad trip",… Read more »

Riddle
3 years 1 month ago

Ha! Ha ha ha! Well, this does sound like a very weird and twisted movie, but just a representation of the dark hidden real world of the occult elite…. I've got to see this movie to study it like the article illustrates. I love these old B sci-fi movies made in the 70's and 80's way before any of the technology we actually have today would ever even have been imagined, and if presented, would have been futuristic science fiction. But now, a lot of it is becoming real…. such as TVs that may watch you, as VC has written… Read more »

Riddle
3 years 1 month ago

Interresting, is that Blondie btw?! But in the image towards the beginning of the article… she is the "Lady in Red' red being a standard color of the Illuminati Occult blood rituals… red being the color of blood of course and sacrifice…. remember there was a movie called 'The Color of Money' was that it? Maybe there should be one called The Color of Blood' although it would be to make a point….

dhurga
3 years 2 months ago

The aim of the process is the degenerites: media does not create ALL of the degenerates. Some are born that way.

Riddle
3 years 1 month ago

Some are born that way…. many are *made* that way… whether by nature, or nurture, purposeful or unconscious… mundane or magical.. (and I'm not talking good magic here..)… some may refer to it as 'magick' the occult form of 'magic' not stage magic… but hidden, elite, 'mind control' type stuff… stuff of the unconscious….

Barbarella
3 years 2 months ago

I watched this movie very soon after it came out! think it kind of went straight to rental. It was a cult classic for me and my college buds. It did affect me, didn't turn into a media-drome assassin, but I think I did get the message that media is dangerous and manipulative. thanks VC!

decredico
3 years 2 months ago

The only real brainwashing is among those folks that believe in this Illuminati idiocy.

X
3 years 4 months ago

"Videodrome" is one of my favorite movies. I find it very fascinating. The same theme- a hallucination-inducing video signal- is also the subject of the "X-Files" episode "Wetwired".

dogg
3 years 5 months ago

When one watches these movies and so-called "stars," it makes one wonder when they realize that all the successful stars, producers, directors, etc., must become a member of the OTO to be a part of the entertainment industry. Which means they do these kind of things in real life. They're just telling you in your face.

MK Ultra uses pain and sex to brainwash and use people. Read Cathy O'Brien's book, Trance-formation of America.

Jujube
3 years 5 months ago

Glad to see you analyse this one, David Cronenberg's work, ALL of his works, are very complex and riddled with many messages about the media ,psychology, violence, and sexuality. I think often times, when people read VC articles, they automatically jump to ITS ILLUMINATI! It IS possible to have a movie that is a commentary against the agenda and not be a part of the agenda itself. Cronenberg himself has always been on the fringes, the closest thing to a "blockbuster" he's ever had is "The Fly"… None of his movies are easy movies, he makes difficult movies with dense… Read more »

Banff
3 years 5 months ago

Amazing article!

DarkStarAz
3 years 5 months ago

The media still does more to point out problems and foment compassion than anything else. Got a Tsunami going on in Indonesia? The problem is known instantly by everyone on earth, and responds. Every problem is presented and solutions are shared quickly.

Electronic media will save the world.

Well, that and Love…

rose
3 years 5 months ago

I heard their will be remake of the film smh typical.

rose
3 years 5 months ago

I heard teir will be remake of the film smh typical.

Stephen Blackheath
3 years 5 months ago

If you want to watch snuff movies (and I mean this rhetorically), then just type "epic fail" into YouTube. You'll get to see people killing and maiming themselves with an assortment of motor vehicles.

Funny man
2 years 11 months ago

Lighten up…it was hilarious.

Nami
3 years 5 months ago

This is one thing I never got. On "America's Funniest Videos" they would show videos of people actually getting very hurt accidentally. It wasn't "funny" in the least. That was actual pain, suffering and injury. You wouldn't know if the injury was temporary or permanent. And it was accompanied by laugh tracks and silly Bob Saget barbs, too, as though it was a friendly kids' show.

darius, London
3 years 5 months ago

I'd like to get something off my chest. I'm almost a 60 years old man who happens to be a perv. I get a kick out of monitor people I don't personally know via technology, I am certainly a committed misogynist as I have a thing for prostitutes and people with a chickpea of a brain. Well, it's easy to control people like that, isn't it? Even I despise people who are on my side as I believe in karma, don't you ever forget or forgive is my motto in life. Yes I am a little snake, a white ones… Read more »

Jujube
3 years 5 months ago

@Darius: No offense, but you call someone demented for being upset that you are dirty old man? Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? lol Seriously. You seem to revel in your debaucheries and lash out at people who has bad experiences with people like you. I am not condemning you, you have a right to be a douche bag, free will. And obviously, you don't care, you said yourself you like stabbing people in the back, and never forget. I for one, would not want to be your friend, you sound like a miserable person trying to play… Read more »

anonnymouse
3 years 5 months ago

Well, obviously you should kill yourself. Unfortunately for this world, your kind are common. Especially in your age group; "dirty old men"…I sold my youth to entertainment of your kind because my biological father was also one of you. I was only 3 when he did what he did. I was only 17 when a "dirty young man" told me I was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. I was only 18 when I got sucked into alcoholism and easy money. Luckily, I won my soul and purpose back: "you people" no longer have any power over me. It… Read more »

darius, london
3 years 5 months ago

I can tell that you have remained demented, there is no hope for ya. So I rest my case, lol just lol.

ps. you're figured out now ha :-) little man

Tamilyn
3 years 5 months ago

That was disturbing.

Bro
3 years 5 months ago

I don't actually watch TV, I download my favorite cartoons and sometimes documentaries as they air, but I'm always weary of messages being communicated and always keep my own opinion about things. Most TV these days is garbage and reality TV is the absolute worst, great article as usual VC.

Ciara
3 years 5 months ago

Well done once again VC. I have come across the movie 'The Running Man' and it puts light on the media etc. It also promotes violence and abuse. It has the same format as 'The Hunger Games' and it was made in the 80's. It has some illuminati, mind contol etc symbolism in it! Also Zoolander has a significant amount of mind control and illuminati etc in it! I think you should have a look, keep up the good work!

Proverbs31
3 years 5 months ago

kind of reminds me of a film called Beyond The Black Rainbow, a 2010 Canadian Sci-Fi. the synopsis from wiki: "Deep within the mysterious Arboria Institute, a beautiful girl (Eva Allan) is held captive by a scientist, Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers). Her mind is controlled by a sinister technology (a mysterious pyramid-shaped light). Speechlessly, she waits for her next session with the deranged Dr. Nyle. She escapes her cell under the watchful eye of Dr. Nyle peering through video monitors. She journeys through the darkest reaches of the Institute but Nyle wonʼt easily part with his most gifted and… Read more »

Proverbs31
3 years 5 months ago

the film involves a lot of one eyes, illuminated pyramid, cells, trauma, mind control, dissociation and handlers

Kassandra
3 years 5 months ago

Another film that reveals the depraved underground demand for snuff films in elite circles is "8mm".

When I saw this film, I sensed it revealed volumes about the psychopathic elites appetites. IMO a very accurate depiction.

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