If you thought John Carpenter's latest horror release, Into the Mouth of Madness, had an original story line, that's because you didn't realize how much it rips off Videodrome. James Woods plays a scuzzy adult cable TV producer whose exposure to violent and hypnotic video transmissions sucks him into a cult that is hell-bent on mesmerizing the world with the brain-toggling ideologies of Dr. Brian O'Blivion. Thinking that he's only investigating into a creepy S&M porn ring, Wood's character becomes embroiled in an espionage war between O'Blivion's cult and the feds, who want to use the power of video for their own invidious schemes. All the while, he loosens his tender grip on reality as the lines between the worlds of television and real-life blur. David Cronenberg's distinctive gore is stamped all over this Burroughs-esque film, and aside from some gratuitous and uncomfortable S&M scenes, this movie is fantastic.
Even though silly zealot Cat Stevens litters this soundtrack with his enchanted whispers, Harold & Maude is a definitive classic from the very first scene and possibly the best film in all the ampersand series. Bud Court plays the spooky Harold, a twenty-year-old rich kid who enacts his death fantasies in a series of extravagant phony suicides. While attending the funeral of a stranger, Harold meets Maude, an eighty-year-old hippie swinger, and the two fall in love. Through her vivacity, Maude teaches Harold to appreciate life and even manages to lay the little sprite in a tastefully portrayed, but nonetheless sickening bedroom scene. Every character in this film is hilarious, especially Harold's flouffy mom, and the script is flawless.