Our Favorite Couples: Max Renn and Nicki Brand of 'Videodrome'

Our Favorite Couples: Max Renn and Nicki Brand of 'Videodrome'

Jun 22, 2011


With the arrival of David Cronenberg's provocative trailer for A Dangerous Method, the director proves once again that he's fascinated with pushing the boundaries of on-screen relationships – and those of his audience. The moral, professional, and personal dilemmas that Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender face as psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung – revolving around their own tense relationship and patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightly), who Jung has an affair with – is just one of many partnerships in Cronenberg's filmography that explores transgressive desire and the cost of submitting to abject fantasy.

In the surreal and darkly sexy Videodrome we meet Max Renn (James Woods) – the head of a schlocky television station who picks up a broadcast signal of the titular show, which features sadistic snuff sessions with bound, naked women – believed to be fake. Meanwhile Max falls in lust with siren and pop-psychologist Nicki Brand (Blondie's Debbie Harry), who introduces him to her masochistic side and becomes similarly infatuated with the bizarre show. She jaunts off to become a contestant on the program, but as Max soon finds out, Videodrome's signal has a hypnotizing effect that causes disturbing hallucinations, which means the macabre acts playing out on his television screen could actually be real.

Nicki and Max's erotic adventures are fleeting (she mysteriously goes missing), but his living, breathing fantasy girl becomes reincarnated as a mistress of the "new flesh" when Max relents to Nicki's seductive call, beckoning him into his television screen. Their union is as liberating as it is bewildering for Max, who continues to peel back the layers of his inner turmoil, now terrifyingly unleashed.

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