Horror director David Cronenberg certainly has imagination and, on a good day, the talent to match. Clearly excited by graphic, but generally stylish imagery, he also enjoys picking away at the scab of contemporary society to discover - and kick about - what lies beneath. For every "The Dead Zone", "The Fly" and "Dead Ringers" (all unsettling and dynamic in their own specific ways), there have been horrors (of the unintended kind) in the likes of "Naked Lunch" and "Crash". Cronenberg sometimes becomes so stylistically exuberant that he forgets to harness his admittedly striking images to credibility and plot.
"Videodrome", on a line starting with quality and ending with incompetence, is about half way along It is the story of a cable television programmer (James Woods in a mesmerising, and often overlooked, performance) who becomes transfixed by the hallucinatory power of the porn movies transmitted by his station. He is joined in this fascination by his girlfriend, an empty soul who lives for pleasure that shocks, but who has died on the inside. In fact, inside is where Debbie Harry takes you, proving that she had more to offer than the blonde seductiveness and cherry-red lips of her pop star persona.
Unfortunately, Cronenberg - after a while - seems to give up on his strong expression of strong ideas. Having begun by using hallucination to dramatic and purposeful effect, he then begins to chuck it into the mix willy-nilly in a film which has already begun to creak and become silly. At least you won't forget the moment you learned that a human could be programmed through a slot in his stomach.