Sync or Swim: Videodrome is Human After All

videodrome sync

NOTE: This was originally featured on caragale’s Silver Screen Serenade as part of the Blogiversary Bash. This post is published on my blog for archival purposes. You can find the original here.

During my first viewing of Videodrome, I noticed the helmet looked like a prototype for a Daft Punk costume. The next day, I found an “alternate soundtrack” to the Criterion Collection print on YouTube (definitely needs some work in my opinion). But then I recalled that Daft Punk once had an album with a television screen on the front, Human After All. I put the two together and it worked. Fair warning, the film was R to begin with so it’s not exactly for the kiddies.

Credit for the composite image belongs to me.

Start the album when the Universal logo appears. The album will play exactly twice.

Points of Interest

  • The aforementioned helmet was what led me to the sync.
  • The music video for “Technologic” features a robot child watching television and receives instructions.
  • The covers for the singles of “Human After All”, “The Prime Time of Your Life”, “Robot Rock”, and “Technologic” all have televisions.

Act I

Human After All

  • It looks like the television is talking, saying that “we are human after all.”
  • Max peruses through some nude shots, satisfying some base need.
  • Max looks for some new programming for the channel, something sensational. It is only human to be curious about the unknown.

The Prime Time of Your Life

  • “Primetime” as one word refers to an evening time slot on television.
  • The satellite dish creaks like the electronic sounds heard in the song.
  • The music starts to speed up when Max sees Videodrome for the first time.

Robot Rock

  • Nicki is at a radio station.

Steam Machine

  • The song starts as the television screen flickers.
  • Max and Nicki engage in some steamy interaction, even if the world transforms into something else.

Make Love

  • In the restaurant, Max and Marsha talk about what Videodrome really is. Marsha has ties to the porn community. I think I’ll leave you to make the connection.

The Brainwasher

  • Max visits O’Blivion’s mission where people meet to get their fix of television. Is whatever they’re watching brainwashing them?

On/Off

  • We hear different audio clips as someone changes channels.

Television Rules the Nation

  • Max meets Bianca, O’Blivion’s daughter, who runs the mission.
  • It turns out that the goal of the mission is to have television become a major part of everyday life. In other words, “television rules the nation”.

Technologic

  • The robotic mantra that plays throughout the song is mouthed by O’Blivion on tape.
  • Take a look at the official music video for the song. The robot child watches himself on television, receiving instructions. This is similar to how O’Blivion tells Max about Videodrome.

Emotion

  • Max tries to come to terms with what he saw.
  • After a while, the word “emotion” starts to sound like “emulsion”, like film emulsion.

Act II

Human After All

  • Max leaves for Spectacular Optical Corporation.
  • The video message relayed by Barry Convex looks like he says “human after all”.

The Prime Time of Your Life

  • Max dons the Daft Punk prototype helmet.
  • The helmet scans in time with the electronic sounds in the beginning.
  • The helmet records Max’s hallucinations so that they can be aired later, possibly “primetime”.
  • The music speeds up once Max receives the whip in the Videodrome studio.
  • The music becomes frenzied once he sees the bound woman in his bed.

Robot Rock

Steam Machine

  • Max is reprogrammed by Barry, making him a machine of sorts.
  • The end of the song sounds like the eponymous machine is running out of steam, much like Max as he crawls away to catch his breath.

Make Love

  • Max tries to destroy everyone at CIVIC-TV, going against the statement “make love, not war”.

The Brainwasher

  • Max is reprogrammed (or brainwashed, whatever you choose) to take down Videodrome.

On/Off

  • Max is “on” a mission to “off” Videodrome.

Television Rules the Nation

  • Max wants to make sure that the song title does not happen.

Technologic

  • Max walks in time to the beat after Barry dies.

Emotion

  • Max seems to lack emotion as he is told to end it all.

While the album is not one of Daft Punk’s best, I’ll admit that my hunch produced some interesting, albeit mixed results. The lyrics don’t offer much in terms of narrative, so the connections are sparse as the movie goes on. Nonetheless, I’m proud to claim it as my second official sync.

Sync grade: B

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