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Scanners (1981)

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

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3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Cameron Vale (as Steven Lack)
...
...
...
...
Benjamin Pierce (as Robert Silverman)
Larry Perkins ...
Security One (as Lee Broker)
Mavor Moore ...
Trevellyan
Adam Ludwig ...
Arno Crostic
Murray Cruchley ...
Programmer 1 (as Lee Murray)
Fred Doederlein ...
Dieter Tautz
Géza Kovács ...
Killer in Record Store (as Geza Kovacs)
Sonny Forbes ...
Killer in Attic (as Sony Forbes)
Jérôme Tiberghien ...
Killer in Attic (as Jerome Tiberghien)
Denis Lacroix ...
Killer in Barn
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Storyline

Darryl Revok is the most powerful of all the scanners, and is the head of the underground scanner movement for world domination. Scanners have great psychic power, strong enough to control minds; they can inflict enormous pain/damage on their victims. Doctor Paul Ruth finds a scanner that Revok hasn't, and converts him to their cause - to destroy the underground movement. Written by Paul Reynolds <pauljr@innotts.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There are 4 billion people on earth. 237 are Scanners. They have the most terrifying powers ever created... and they are winning. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 January 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scanners  »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 4,100,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$14,225,876 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Cronenberg moved the head explosion from the beginning of the film for late moviegoers. See more »

Goofs

When Cameron "scans" the mainframe computer from the gas station telephone booth, the handset and its cord are clearly wrapped in layers of black plastic gaffer's tape. This is present throughout the entire scene and was likely done in an attempt to camouflage the special effects used in the violent destruction of the handset at the end of the sequence. See more »

Quotes

First Scanner: [ConSec is holding a press conference on a scanner demonstration] I would like to scan all of you in this room, one at a time. I must remind you that the scanning experience is usually a painful one... sometimes resulting in nosebleeds, earaches, stomach cramps, nausea. Sometimes other symptoms of a similar nature. There is a doctor present, Dr. Gattineau. I know that you've all been prepared for this, but I thought I'd just remind you just the same. There is one other thing... no one is to ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits scroll like words on the CONSEC computer monitor. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Painted Hills (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A powerful telepath or Scanner since childhood uses his powers to track down a nasty renegade
17 February 2013 | by See all my reviews

Shock specialist David Cronenberg brings us this above average terror film , that he wrote as well as filmed . There are 4 billion people on earth , 237 are Scanners. They have the most terrifying powers ever created and they are winning . A scientist (Patrick McGoohan) sends a man named Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him . They have superpowers who can read and explode brains ; in addition , they can inflict enormous pain/damage on their victims . Then , there takes place a lethal war among a bunch of potent persons with extrasensory powers , the good boys led by Cameron (Stephen Lack) and the bad guys commanded by Revok (Michael Ironside) .

Interesting and formidable Cronenberg film plenty of thrills , shocking scenes , suspense , intrigue , plot twists and being slightly entertaining , though sometimes slow-moving and receives a rather plodding treatment. The main theme of the film was taken from William S. Burroughs' 1959 novel 'Naked Lunch' , as it contains a chapter concerning "Senders", a hostile organization of Telepaths bent on world domination, a clear literary inspiration for this film . Dazzling , hypnotic entertainment that poses a challenge to its viewers , it was deemed extremely graphic for its time with some eerie scenes as when heads explode . Occasionally confusing but otherwise excellent film , portraying a peculiar ring with psychical powers . Hightlights of the picture are its first shocking scene in which a role's head blows up , spewing bone, flesh and blood all over and of course , the creepy final confrontation among protagonists. Good special effects and make-up made by expert Dick Smith and his helper Chris Wallas, the exploding head scene was accomplished by filling a latex head with dog food and rabbit livers, and shooting it from behind with a 12-gauge shotgun . The picture was well and originally directed by David Cronenberg who delivers his goods with solid skill . However , Cronenberg once called this the most frustrating film he'd ever made. The film was rushed through production , filming had to begin without a finished script and end within roughly two months so the financing would qualify as a tax write-off, forcing Cronenberg to write and shoot at the same time. Cronenberg also cited difficulty with and antagonism between the leads, particularly Patrick McGoohan and Jennifer O'Neill.

It was followed by various sequels , in which Cronenberg had no connection to his 1981 flick , these are the followings : ¨Scanners 2 : The New Order ¨ by Christian Duguay with David Hewlett , Deborah Raffin , Tom Butler and Raoul Trujillo ; ¨Scanners III: The Takeover¨ by Christian Duguay with Liliana Komorowska , Valérie Valois , Steve Parrish and Colin Fox ; ¨Scanner Cop¨ by Pierre David with Daniel Quinn , Darlanne Fluegel , Richard Grove , Mark Rolston and Richard Lynch, and ¨Scanner cop II , the showdown¨ by Steve Barnett with Daniel Quinn , Patrick Kilpatrick , Stephen Mendel and Robert Forster , among others .


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