The television screen has become the retina of the mind's eye. That's why I refuse to appear on television, except on television. Of course, O'Blivion was not the name I was born with. That's my television name. Soon all of us will have special names, names designed to cause the cathode ray tube to resonate.
After all, there is nothing real outside our perception of reality, is there? You can see that can't you?
The battle for the mind of North America will be fought in the video arena — the videodrome. The television screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore television is reality, and reality is less than television.
North America's getting soft, padrone. And the rest of the world is getting tough. Very, very tough. We're entering savage new times, and we're going to have to be pure... and direct... and strong... if we're gonna survive them. Now, you and this, uh, cesspool you call a television station... and, uh, your people who wallow around in it... and, uh, your viewers... who watch you do it— you're rotting us away from the inside. We intend to stop that rot.
Your head, we have you head in the box.
After Renn asks about the content of a box Harlan is closing inside the Spectacular Optics shop
Masha: Videodrome. What you see on that show, it's for real. It's not acting. It's... snuff TV.
Max Renn: I don't believe it.
Masha: So... don't believe.
Max Renn: Why do it for real? It's easier and safer to fake it.
Masha: Because it has something... that you don't have, Max. It has a philosophy, and that is what makes it dangerous.
Max Renn: Have you been hallucinating lately?
Harlan: No. Should I be?
Max Renn: Yes, you should be.
Harlan: I don't work with you for the money.
Max Renn: I know that. With pirates, it's never just for the money, is it?
Barry Convex: Why would anybody watch a scum show like Videodrome? Why did you watch it, Max?
Max Renn: Business reasons.
Barry Convex: Sure, sure... what about the other reasons? Why deny you get your kicks out of watching torturing and murder?
Brian O'Blivion: Max, I'm so glad you've came to me. I've been through it all myself you see. Your reality is already half video hallucination. If you're not careful, it will become total hallucination. You'll have to learn to live in a very strange new world... I had a brain tumour and I had visions. I believe the visions cause the tumour and not the reverse. I can feel the visions coalsce and become flesh. Uncontrollable flesh. But when they removed the tumour, it was called Videodrome. I was the-- I... I... was... Videodrome's... first victim...
The movie goes into more than the relatively simple issue of morality, like the ways in which television does alter us physically. It's what Marshall McLuhan was talking about — TV as an extension of our nervous systems and our senses.
I was once on a talk show with a psychiatrist who worked at the Clark Institute with criminals. He had seen my film, Videodrome and said to me, “I’m almost afraid to be sitting here next to you.” He was totally mystified as to how I could empathize with those states of mind and he obviously, could not. It is mostly intuitive with me. One of the reasons I make a movie is that I’m then in a position where I have to analyze and I enjoy that process.*My images come out of the process of making film. I do really think that movies work on the level of dream logic. However realistic or narrative they might like to think they are, they are dreamlike.