DVD Tuesday: Videodrome, reality TV and the temple of the new flesh -- David Cronenberg saw it all!

All hail Mike Judge's Idiocracy (2006): Every time my mind is boggled by the depths to which some new reality TV show has sunk, I can't help but remember the most popular show of Judge's dystopian future: "Ow, My Balls!"

Really says it all, doesn't it?

But much though I'm amused by Idiocracy, David Cronenberg's Videodrome (1983) really blows my mind (pace Roxy Music's "In Every Dream Home. a Heartache"):. The first time I saw it I was in college, the product of a world in which there were no PCs, no cell phones, no IM, no PDAs, no social networking sites, no games more sophisticated than Space Invaders and Pong and yet I knew that Videodrome wasn't just a freaky kick.



I'd been following Cronenberg since his experimental shorts Stereo (1969) and Crimes of the Future (1970) and it was clear to me that he was on to something: In some visceral way, he got both the seductiveness and the lurking horror of a future in which we're all connected: We watch TV, TV watches us, the video signal merges with our brains and the new flesh is born from the cathode ray graveyard.

Videodrome has a permanent niche in my psyche, but I found myself thinking about it all over again when I reviewed Signal (2007), a short, sharp, shocking little parable about the pervasive power of, well, the signal -- the connection with a larger world of order and procedure and control. In the end it's little more than a gloss on George Romero's 1973 The Crazies, but that's not a criticism: People keep writing The Crazies (Eli Roth's upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's novel Cell is the newest) because it keeps speaking to us: How willing are we to surrender to groupthink and how ready are we to fight?

Send your movie questions to FlickChick.

See Maitland McDonagh and Ken Fox review this week's new flicks on the Movie Talk vodcast.


Things to Consider:

What's your favorite "us against them" horror film?

Why?

Is there anything about this kind of film that makes you uneasy?

What and why?

Previously in DVD Tuesday:

2008:

The Kingdom
M
Touch of Evil
Bonnie and Clyde
Atonement
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
Rififi
Michael Clayton
Network
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
Shoot 'Em Up
Freeway
A Mighty Wind

2007:

It's a Wonderful Life
Waitress
Laura
Cop
All About Eve
Severance
Sweet Smell of Success
Daughters of Darkness
The Crazies
Blade Runner
Zodiac
Manhunter
A Simple Plan
Taxi Driver
Renaissance
Blowup
Hot Fuzz
300
Ace in the Hole
Eyes Without a Face
Apocalypto
Citizen Kane
La Jetée
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
Bob le Flambeur
Near Dark
Perfect Blue
Pan's Labyrinth
Les Girls
The Girl Who Knew Too Much
The Queen
Expresso Bongo
I'm Not Scared
Shocking Grindhouse Double Bill! - Scanners and The Candy Snatchers
Don't Look Now
Re-Animator
Casino Royale
Pi
The Prestige
13 Tzameti
The Departed
Suspiria
Kiss and Make Up
Kiss Me Deadly
The Long Good Friday
What Alice Found
The Devil's Backbone
The Descent
The Devil Wears Prada
Pandora's Box
The Thief and the Cobbler
Nashville
Panic in the Streets/Jack Palance Interview
The Pusher Trilogy
Scarface
Slither
Sunset Blvd.
In Cold Blood
Brick