Comments on Arthur B's Cronenberg's Cathode-Ray Puzzle Boxes

Arrow Video's rerelease of Videodrome and David Cronenberg's early work revives both an old classic and some long-lost enigmas.

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Raymond H at 11:00 on 2018-05-16
It's interesting your mentioning the internet, since your description of Videodrome sounds eerily similar to something a real-life friend of mine stumbled across when he was a youngster exploring the deep web. I always remember that story because it's the only time I saw him visibly shaken when discussing something he found back then.

Also, I must deeply and humbly apologize in advance, but I have to ask, is the Japanese porn in the movie Mother porn? Because that exploded in popularity during the 80's.

Lastly, you've reminded me of another, deeper reason why I've put off watching The Brood. Er, how gross is the body horror?
Arthur B at 12:39 on 2018-05-16
Also, I must deeply and humbly apologize in advance, but I have to ask, is the Japanese porn in the movie Mother porn? Because that exploded in popularity during the 80's.

I am not familiar with the genre. Is it what it sounds like? If so that isn't what you get here. (We're talking super-traditional Japanese costume, potentially a historical setting, a sex toy cunningly hidden from casual view.)

Lastly, you've reminded me of another, deeper reason why I've put off watching The Brood. Er, how gross is the body horror?

In terms of things seen, you don't get much until the end. In terms of things implied, it's pretty rough.
Raymond H at 09:58 on 2018-05-17
Is it what it sounds like?


More or less, yes. I thought it would fit with the themes you described in the film. Thanks to the bubble economy of the 80's, education mothers (教育ママ) became even more frequent than before. As such, you had more and more young men with Tiberian levels of maternal control over their lives. Combine that with basic teenage sexual frustration and your market makes itself. The plots of these films are almost identical: There's a high school (possibly younger, but I hope you'll forgive my having no desire to look back and check) boy, whose education mother finds out that he's become sexually active, and not wanting some school-age slut to distract her precious baby boy from his exams, the mother "takes over" sexual relief duties. What's interesting is that, along with the focus on the sexual act itself (naturally, since it's, y'know, porn), there's a great deal of focus on the ending, which tends towards the boy growing tired of his madonnaly soiled mother, and tossing her aside like the piece of trash she is, or at least like the narrative tells us she is. After all, the whole reason the education mother phenomenon even became an issue was that since women, especially married women, were (and still are to some degree, but it's difficult to talk about that without coming across as a cultural white knight) barred from the workforce, the only way they could channel their desires for self-actualization was vicariously through their children. Long story short, read Anne Allison.

What you're describing on the other hand sounds more like a pink film than a proper porno, which actually fits better with the themes you've put forward. Due to the nature of Japanese censorship law, for many filmmakers pink films were the only way they could express their artistic visions without getting movies gutted. So long as you fulfilled the nudity quota put forth by producers, directors were largely allowed to do whatever they wanted (unless you're Seijun Suzuki, but that's another story). At the same time, this freedom was a double-edged sword, because just as it allowed directors to fulfill their more arthouse ideas, it also allowed them to indulge in their own, darker sexual fantasies. This is why so many pink films tend to have lots (and I mean LOTS) of sexual violence in them.

In terms of things seen, you don't get much until the end. In terms of things implied, it's pretty rough.


Okay, well as long as it doesn't delve into Audition levels of explicitness I should be fine. Thanks!
Arthur B at 10:25 on 2018-05-17
What you're describing on the other hand sounds more like a pink film than a proper porno, which actually fits better with the themes you've put forward. Due to the nature of Japanese censorship law, for many filmmakers pink films were the only way they could express their artistic visions without getting movies gutted.

FWIW, I believe the material in question was actually shot by Cronenberg specifically for use here. But he may well have researched pink movies and the like for that purpose.

So long as you fulfilled the nudity quota put forth by producers, directors were largely allowed to do whatever they wanted (unless you're Seijun Suzuki, but that's another story).

Ha, I'm not surprised to hear that. Suzuki seems to have had a knack of finding out what you're not allowed to do in every genre he set his hand to.

Okay, well as long as it doesn't delve into Audition levels of explicitness I should be fine. Thanks!

I think you should be OK, The Brood in no way makes me flinch the way my recollections of Audition do.
Raymond H at 11:21 on 2018-05-17
he may well have researched pink movies and the like for that purpose.

That makes sense. I have only a passing familiarity with him, but I know he's very much against censorship, so he'd probably find the history and actual movies of the pink film genre fascinating.

Suzuki seems to have had a knack of finding out what you're not allowed to do in every genre he set his hand to.

Heh, I know. And yet when I watch his films I get this palpable sense of joy, like he's a child playing with shiny new toys.

I think you should be OK, The Brood in no way makes me flinch the way my recollections of Audition do.

Okay. Whew! Heheh, I don't suppose you'd mind my recounting my own experience with Audition for my next article?
Arthur B at 12:08 on 2018-05-17
Let me judge when I see the article. :)
Raymond H at 13:09 on 2018-05-17
Heheh, fair enough. You'll have to wait a while though. Mid-terms AND sports festival are coming up at my school.
Raymond H at 06:14 on 2018-05-21
I watched The Brood and I really liked it. You were right. Compared to Audition it was downright family-friendly.
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