Gary Card on Body Horror, Extra Limbs and the Lasting Appeal of Videodrome

This week at Test Presents, a new London forum for fashion-relevant film screenings and discussions, the eccentric set and costume designer Gary Card will host a viewing of David Cronenberg’s cult classic Videodrome. The film, starring James Woods and Deborah Harry, highlights the growing dependence on and, ultimately, subservience to technology and media that the Canadian director envisioned in 1983. Perhaps Cronenberg’s number one fan, Gary Card talks to Hint…

Why Videodrome?
David Cronenberg is my favorite director and I wanted an opportunity to show this forgotten classic. Videodrome is probably the best example of his “body horror” period. It encapsulates all his themes: the idea of media as an extra limb or an infection, his strange prosthetic dysmorphic design, the sleazy subject matter. He’s the world’s finest horror director, but these days he’s remembered for his dramas like A Dangerous Method or History of Violence. This is my attempt to remind the world about where he came from. Or a few East Londoners at least!

East London makes you think of body horror?
Well I love the fact that although the technology in the film is totally outmoded, it’s still such relevant subject matter, how media has infected every part of our daily lives that it’s almost part of us. These days my computer feels more like an extra limb. Media is at the center of what I do every day. If I’m not making things for the media, I’m blogging, tweeting or Facebooking about what I’ve just made. It’s all-consuming to the point of suffocating. Maybe I subconsciously picked it for this reason.

What do you hope the Test Presents audience will take from the viewing?
I hope they are thoroughly freaked out by it like was when I first saw it! It really got under my skin. I was very disturbed but also strangely drawn to the idea.

That’s always a sign of a great film. What do you think your choice says about you?
I worry it says I’m a brooding maniac, but hopefully it speaks to what I’m drawn to visually. I like distorting the familiar in my work. The film is all about that. I relate to Cronenberg’s general philosophy and approach, not just with this film. He has had a huge influence on my work, both my illustrations and costume design.

When did you discover his work?
I was introduced to the film and the director by my dear friend Louis in my first year of college. I was 17 and had just moved to London. I was creatively susceptive, so everything from that time is still very significant. After that I became a huge fan of the director and watched his entire catalog of work in a matter of days.

How do you feel about the Videodrome remake?
Really? Wow. I didn’t know about it. What are they calling it? Blueraydrome? Netflixdrome?

Videodrome will screen on Thursday, May 3, 7:30 pm at the Council Chamber Screening Room, Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green, London. Tickets are available here.

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