Saturday, 5 March 2016


Let's continue our trip through the very best of contemporary artwork based on the films of David Cronenberg. Reach deep inside your guts and ask yourself, "is this real, or hallucination?", because this time we're taking a look at Videodrome.

Previous entries:

In a very real way, the dystopian vision of Videodrome has come to pass. Max Renn tells Masha that the pirate channel he's been watching is "just torture and murder. No plot, no characters. Very, very realistic. I think it's what's next." Later in the film Masha confronts Max with the truth, "What you see on that show, it's for real. It's not acting. It's snuff TV."

When David Cronenberg wrote those lines thirty-four years ago, the only things resembling Brian O'Blivion's transmission were Mondo-style shockumentaries (so tame by today's standards) and the televised atrocities of Vietnam that had appalled American families the decade before. The idea that you could simply type the words "torture and murder" into a search engine and be inundated with endless images and videos of just that was unimaginable.

The media landscape has changed so drastically (and rapidly) that it compelled authors David Kerekes and David Slater to update their book Killing for Culture, expanding it beyond its focus on Mondo and snuff* to include internet horrors like the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs and ISIS executions**.

The Canadian master's sixth film has turned out to be a frighteningly prescient vision. As is the hallmark of all great sci-fi, Videodrome is more relevant today than when it was created.

A series of poster redesigns, all playing with videotape noise, from the always reliable Silver Ferox:

Adam Juresko uses the VHS glitch to distort Nicki Brand's face:

A shirt design and poster from Aaron Crawford:

Videodrome for the meme kids from Michael DiPetrillo:

An abstract interpretation from Chris Malbon:

And now to the best of the bunch. This time around I have to give it to two artists - David Huntley (aka Mute) and Gilles Vranckx (who also did that stunning giallo poster art for Amer). First, Mute's gorgeous (and trippy) likeness of Debbie Harry:

Finally, Gilles Vranckx's superb artwork for Arrow Video's special edition Blu (which every self respecting Cronenberg fan should have on their shelf next to the Criterion Videodrome dvd). Another beautiful likeness of Nicki Brand, and I love that illustration of Barry Convex coming apart!

Ok, that's it for now you Cronenfreaks. Next time: THE DEAD ZONE and THE FLY!

*It's still the definitive read on the subject. Among other things, it thoroughly debunks the myth that black market snuff is anything more than an urban legend.

**Just a personal note: I won't watch any of that stuff. Never have, never will. The evening news already takes enough of an emotional toll on me. To quote Barry Convex, I just can't cope with the freaky stuff.

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