“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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.