Videodrome: Limited Edition review

David Cronenberg's horrific vision of TV's future comes of age with this comprehensive Blu-ray

The apotheosis of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg's obsession with body horror and the externalising of psychological terrors, the worryingly prescient Videodrome deals with a TV exec (James Woods) looking for ever more extreme content to show on his sensationalist station. When he chances across a pirate broadcast featuring what appears to be scenes of real torture he becomes obsessed, leading him into a world of terrifying hallucinations and violent conspiracies.

Picture: Videodrome first appeared on Blu-ray in the UK at the tail end of 2011 courtesy of Universal Pictures and was a problematic release to say the least. The disc offered no extras whatsoever, appeared be based on a dated HD master that was cut, and showed signs of excessive DNR and edge enhancement.

Thankfully, this second hi-def release uses the restoration (supervised by cinematographer Mark Irwin and approved by David Cronenberg) that was undertaken by the Criterion Collection for its 2010 US Blu-ray release. From fine detailing to clarity, colour saturation to black levels, there isn't a single aspect of this AVC-encoded 1.85:1 1080p image that isn't a vast improvement on the original UK release. The biggest surprise is the shadow delineation, with even the darkest shots containing plenty of detail.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: While the disc's uncompressed PCM mono soundtrack doesn't have quite the same impact as the hi-def imagery it accompanies, you'd be hard pressed to find any real fault with it. Dialogue is rendered with clarity and precision, sound effects are suitably squishy and Howard Shore's score energises everything with its terrific acoustic presence.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: This double-disc limited edition Blu-ray is a treasure trove of goodies for any Cronenberg fan.

The first platter is devoted to Videodrome and includes a 1997 documentary about Cronenberg's films (Cinema of the Extreme); a look at the special effects (Forging the New Flesh); a 1982 roundtable with Cronenberg, John Carpenter and John Landis (Fear on Film); the complete Samurai Dreams footage from the film; Helmet Camera test footage; an archival promo featurette; new interviews with Mark Irwin, producer Pierre David and novelisation author Dennis Etchinson; the 16 deleted scenes that only appeared in the TV edit of the film; three trailers and Cronenberg's short film Camera (2000).

In lieu of the filmmaker and actor chat-tracks that appear on the Criterion disc, film historian Tim Lucas (who was present on the set during shooting) has recorded a fact-packed commentary for this release.

The second disc, titled David Cronenberg's Early Works, features impressive restorations of four of his earliest films – Transfer (1966), From the Drain (1967), Stereo (1969) and Crimes of the Future (1970). It also houses a piece with critic Kim Newman discussing the movies along with the early work of Tobe Hooper and Brian De Palma.

Also included is a 100-page book featuring seven essays about Videodrome and those early flicks.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: This stunning limited edition is a must for any David Cronenberg fan. Grab a copy before they sell-out!

Videodrome: Limited Edition, Arrow Video, Region B BD & R2 DVD, £28 Approx