36 comments

  • By Dan
    March 15, 2012
    02:02 PM

    This is a perfect example why I find the whole idea of 'test screenings' to be completely contrary to the artistic process, and ultimately pointless.
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    • By fuckyou
      March 15, 2012
      04:27 PM

      Sceenings have nothing to do with the "artistic process" they are all about marketing your POS film to make MONEY
    • By artistguy
      March 16, 2012
      12:41 PM

      Mad marketing guy over here!
  • By Josh
    March 15, 2012
    02:04 PM

    "More plot, less sex" has never been requested since.
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    • By Austin DeRaedt
      March 15, 2012
      07:32 PM

      hah!
    • By Henry
      September 17, 2013
      01:14 AM

      so true!
  • By Todd Ford
    March 15, 2012
    02:06 PM

    They were doing their job pretty well actually. Outside of cultists, very few people found anything redeeming about the movie. I think it's pretty great and have watched it many more times than any other Cronenberg, but I think he's made a number of better and more controlled movies like The Dead Zone, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, and A History of Violence.
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    • By Batzomon
      March 15, 2012
      04:38 PM

      All of those movies came after Videodrome. His previous movies had been The Brood and Scanners, so he was probably only accessible as a cult director at that time.
    • By Todd Ford
      March 15, 2012
      05:20 PM

      What I was saying Raheem is even today only cult fans dig Videodrome. I can't imagine recommending it to very many people.
    • By Not Todd
      March 16, 2012
      12:42 PM

      The Dead Zone better than Videodrome??? Naked Lunch more controlled?? You crazy Todd!
  • By Bob Luna
    March 15, 2012
    02:18 PM

    I remember seeing this on opening weekend.Myself my BFF and a coworker who got talked into it We were stunned,but this is what cinema is all about. Still years ahead of it's time,and not for the young,old or faint at heart!
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  • By Alex Kies
    March 15, 2012
    04:03 PM

    To be fair, I consider myself a Cronenberg and Videodrome fan, but I can't really imagine recommending it to anyone without a lengthy conversation before and after viewing. In many ways, I think it's almost the ultimate Cronenberg film, it's kind of the culmination of all his themes and obsessions - which is interesting considering how early in his career it came. If it had been presented to me without context, I'm sure my gut reaction would've been disgust.
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  • By thevoid99
    March 15, 2012
    04:17 PM

    I've had the unfortunate experience of attending a test screening for a film. It was for Love Actually. The film was OK but man, I never want to go to a test screening ever again. To hell with test screenings. The people who didn't like Videodrome obviously didn't get it.
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  • By PJLandis
    March 15, 2012
    05:42 PM

    It's not a great movie but It's disheartening to see that these are the type of people movie studios are relying upon and marketing towards. If I didn't live near a city with access to smaller, "art-house" (though, I think the Ritz's in Philadelphia aim broader than just artsty...lots of foreign and small-budget limited release films [Troll Hunter, was foreign but not really artsy...and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy got a pretty wide release but I'm sure a lot of people in America had to travel 30 minutes or greater to see it if they were interested])
    Reply
  • By Bharat
    March 16, 2012
    03:09 AM

    It was just ahead of it's times.
    Reply
  • By CaseMan
    March 16, 2012
    09:59 AM

    Those are great. I like how a few folks' comments could've been taken out of the script. "It's pretty disgusting." "It's vulgar." "Too much guts and gore all over the place." Whoever stated they were open-minded was lying to themselves, in my opinion. If you were open-minded, I'd think you'd come away with an appreciation of an original movie that challenges the viewer to think about the roles and combinations of television and media and sex and violence in our society. Yeah, Videodrome is absurd but that's why some people make movies...to venture into these fictional worlds where things aren't so peaches and cream and certain aspects of our culture are blown out of proportion. I mean, you could say the same things about oh, I don't know, Pulp Fiction or Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans or The Road Warrior or Death Wish or something, but you can't say those movies don't have a philosophy. You don't have to agree with them, but I appreciate that if I want to watch something that takes a completely off-center approach to some societal aspect, I can.
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  • By dasboot4211
    March 16, 2012
    10:44 AM

    I love this comment. I hate test screenings. What a waste of time. Even that I do love the comment I do have to disagree with it as well. It should say "Everything!!!" Videodrome is just a mind blowning journey of a thriller/science fiction/ horror film and James Woods is at his best here.
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  • By Shaun Pearson
    March 16, 2012
    02:54 PM

    I love the last comment - "released ON the public" - as if it were a wild animal being let out of a cage to "wound" unsuspecting innocents. Come to think of it that's what great art should be.
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    • By Shaun
      March 17, 2012
      02:11 PM

      Honestly though how can you take one-word comments seriously? It's a good indication of the person's intelligence or at least their lack of interest in film as anything but simple entertainment.
  • By john egan
    March 16, 2012
    10:32 PM

    Exiting Videodrome I was handed a form which I took the time to fill out because engaged but somewhat baffled as well. Lying on floor was a form with the word CRAP scrawled angrily in block letters.
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  • By KissMeDeadly
    March 18, 2012
    08:03 PM

    Well I don't think a one word statement on a comment card is enough information for me to judge a person's intelligence anymore than a one word comment card is enough feedback/data for me to know enough about a film to decide whether or not it is worthy of release or of my time. I think about the only thing I can definitely gather from what is written on the comment cards above is that some of those folks may need to practice their penmanship. :) Now Criterion please release these asap: Double Indemnity, Vertigo, Queen Of Spades, Laura, The Big Heat, Touch Of Evil, Cat People
    Reply
  • By Shaun
    March 19, 2012
    01:43 AM

    Dave, you are quite right which is why I continued with "or at least their lack of interest in..." : ) I'm not familiar with Queen of Spades, but your other excellent suggestions make me think I should look into it. [apologies if this gets double posted the site's acting up]
    Reply
  • By David Edelstein
    March 19, 2012
    10:47 AM

    I'm a film critic for NY Magazine and Fresh Ar these days but way beck then I was AT that focus group. I literally got called at random when I was living in Cambridge, MA and asked if I wanted to see a movie with James Woods and Debbie Harry. I didn't mention I was a fourth-string Boston Phoenix film and theater critic at the time. I brought a long a friend--Paul Attanasio, now a screenwriter. There were tons of walk-outs, beginning with the first sex scene. But Paul and I were blown away. Then we went back and sat at a long table and participated in the discussion, which mostly consisted of people one by one saying they thought it was incomprehensible crap. But Paul and I were, like, "This is f-ing amazing. No one has ever done anything like this!" It turned out Cronenberg was there and introduced himself at the end. (I didn't write about it because I thought it would have been unfair.) When Videodrome was released about a year later some of the plot points had been clarified and the sex scene was trimmed slightly but it was basically the same movie. And when I asked Cronenberg when I interviewed him for The Fly a few years later if he remembered me, he was stunned. He said, "That was you! That was great. You were important. Because every time a studio person would say, 'NO ONE's going to get this,' I'd always say, 'Yeah, but what about those TWO GUYS?'" Who says critics have nothing to contribute? I wonder if Criterion has MY focus group card--I wonder if what I said would hold up?
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  • By Carrie Rickey
    March 19, 2012
    05:11 PM

    When I reviewed for the Voice (where I preceded David by a nanosecond), I went to the critics' screening of Videodrome in NY. I had already seen it in order to write a feature for the Voice (which is the basis of some Criterion liner notes). Still, I wanted to see how it played to an audience. Afterwards, my bf told me that a prominent critic was next to him at the urinal. The critic said something to the effect, "Can you believe that c---- from the Voice gave it a good review?" Fast forward: That critic recently told me what a "transformational" movie was in Cronenberg's career. So let's just say Videodrome was a pretty good movie then and is even greater now.
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  • By Mark Cappelletty
    March 19, 2012
    05:43 PM

    I ran into James Woods at the local CVS Pharmacy in Beverly Hills about six months ago, literally the day I bought a replacement copy of the Blu-Ray of VIDEODROME (my first went belly-up for some reason). He was extremely nice and, as he left (after a spirited discussion he started about how credit card companies screw you over gift card fees), I finally had to tell him how weird it was that I was there with him the very day I picked up VIDEODROME. He says that, out of all of the films he's ever done, is the most memorable-- no one saw it at the time but people, once they see it, can't forget it. He said he'd just talked about it on the Craig Ferguson show the day before. PS - @Dave from above-- the Twilight Time is releasing THE BIG HEAT on Blu-Ray in May.
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  • By Shannon Larratt
    March 20, 2012
    02:04 PM

    It seems to me it would be pretty easy to get comments like that for almost any movie that's not completely bland and mainstream if you get an audience that's made up of the general public rather than the specific subculture that's going to be drawn to such a film. Amusing but meaningless other than in pointing out how silly these test screenings are if they don't go through an appropriate "jury selection" process.
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  • By Bob
    March 21, 2012
    11:33 PM

    Unless I'm completely mistaken and these are from some other screening I had no knowledge of, Cronenberg mentioned a few times in interviews that he received cards of this nature on an incredibly early cut of the film. One which he even acknowledges made little to no sense as he ruthlessly (his words, not mine) cut it down to under 75 minutes. Parts he removed for instance were the scenes establishing that Max even worked for Civic TV. It was also apparently without a temporary soundtrack so there were audio gaps throughout. So as terrible as those cards must've been to take, they actually got him to recut the film into something he considered better. And I don't know if he still does it, but up until at least Naked Lunch he made a note to use test screenings for each of his films. Unrelated to the actual film, but at that same screening he even recounts that he heard the sound of a baby crying throughout the film. So that also probably didn't help the experience for the audience. Nevertheless I love Videodrome quite a bit, and I'm glad I finally got to see a few of these cards I've heard talked about. I just sympathize slightly with those remarks on the cards as from everything I've read and heard about that Boston screening, it really seemed to be a terrible and incomprehensible experience. And I'm going to feel like a real idiot if I read through the comments again and missed one already mentioning this.
    Reply
  • By indi prod girl
    January 08, 2013
    09:31 PM

    Dear David and Carrie, Thank you for joining the discussion, it makes a difference to have experts join in amongst us, and your story's were great. Btw, Attanasio rocks.
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