IMDb > Scanners (1981)
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Scanners (1981) More at IMDbPro »

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David Cronenberg (written by)
View company contact information for Scanners on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 January 1981 (USA) See more »
There are 4 billion people on earth. 237 are Scanners. They have the most terrifying powers ever created... and they are winning. See more »
A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
3 wins & 9 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
rtypically cool, strange Cronenberg kind of horror movie, with a few genuine ideas See more (145 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jennifer O'Neill ... Kim Obrist

Stephen Lack ... Cameron Vale (as Steven Lack)

Patrick McGoohan ... Dr. Paul Ruth

Lawrence Dane ... Braedon Keller

Michael Ironside ... Darryl Revok
Robert A. Silverman ... Benjamin Pierce (as Robert Silverman)
Lee Broker ... Security One
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
Elizabeth Mudry ... Killer in Barn
Victor Désy ... Dr. Gatineau (as Victor Desy)
Louis Del Grande ... First Scanner
Anthony Sherwood ... Scanner in Attic (as Tony Sherwood)
Ken Umland ... Scanner in Attic
Anne Anglin ... Scanner in Attic
Jock Brandis ... Scanner in Attic
Jack Messinger ... Scanner at Door
Victor Knight ... Dr. Frane
Karen Fullerton ... Pregnant Girl
Margaret Gadbois ... Woman in Mall
Terrance P. Coady ... Security 1 Car Passenger (as Terry Coady)
Steve Michaels ... Security 1 Car Driver
Malcolm Nelthorpe ... Ray, Security 2 Car Driver
Nicholas Kilbertus ... Security 2 Car Partner (as Nickolas Kilbertus)
Don Buchsbaum ... Large Man in Mall
Roland Nincheri ... Large Man in Mall (as Rolland Nincheri)
Kimberly McKeever ... Hallucinating Guard
Robert Boyd ... Hallucinating Guard
Graham Batchelor ... Yoga Technician
Dean Hagopian ... CONSEC Programmer 2

Alex Stevens ... CONSEC Programmer 3
Neil Affleck ... Medical Student in Mall
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Brasington ... Hazmat-Suit Worker (uncredited)

Chris Britton ... Hazmat-Suit Worker (uncredited)
Jack Canon ... Hazmat-Suit Worker (uncredited)
Richard Chapman Jr. ... Hazmat-Suit Worker (uncredited)
Leon Herbert ... Hazmat-Suit Worker (uncredited)

William Hope ... Hazmat-Suit Worker (uncredited)

Thomas Kovacs ... Boyfriend (uncredited)
Ian McQue ... Scanner / Security Guard (uncredited)

Sam Stone ... Security Guard (uncredited)

Directed by
David Cronenberg 
Writing credits
David Cronenberg (written by)

Produced by
Pierre David .... executive producer
Claude Héroux .... producer (as Claude Heroux)
Victor Solnicki .... executive producer
Original Music by
Howard Shore 
Cinematography by
Mark Irwin (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Ronald Sanders 
Art Direction by
Carol Spier 
Costume Design by
Delphine White 
Makeup Department
Stephan Dupuis .... special makeup
Brigitte McCaughry .... makeup artist
Constant Natale .... hair stylist
Tom Schwartz .... special makeup
Dick Smith .... special makeup effects consultant
Chris Walas .... special makeup
Production Management
Don Buchsbaum .... production manager
Jean Savard .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jim Kaufman .... first assistant director
Anne Murphy .... third assistant director
Michael A. Williams .... second assistant director (as Mike Williams)
Art Department
Alfred .... set designer
Peter Borowski .... sculptor
Jean Bourret .... property master
Peter Bray .... set dresser
Serge Bureau .... assistant set dresser
Michel Comte .... assistant propsman
Tom Coulter .... sculptor
Peter Dowker .... sculptor
Melanie Johnson .... assistant set dresser
Barbara Jones .... assistant art director
Michael Joy .... draughtsman
Claude Simard .... construction supervisor
Ernie Tomlinson .... assistant propsman
Sound Department
Charles Bowers .... sound editor
Peter Burgess .... sound editing supervisor
Terry Burke .... assistant sound editor
Don Cohen .... sound
Paul Coombe .... sound re-recordist
Gary Daprato .... assistant sound editor
Mike Hoogenboom .... sound re-recordist
Peter Jermyn .... sound editor
Bruce Nyznik .... sound editor
Gabor Vadnay .... boom operator
Special Effects by
Don Berry .... special effects assistant
Louis Craig .... special effects assistant
Jacques Godbout .... special effects assistant
Dennis Pike .... micro effects
Gary Zeller .... special effects
Alex Stevens .... stunt coordinator
Céline Fournier .... stunt woman (uncredited)
Gary Hymes .... stunt performer (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Jock Brandis .... gaffer
François Dupéré .... key grip (as Francois Dupere)
Denis Fugere .... still photographer
Maris H. Jansons .... grip (as Maris Jansons)
Claude Langlois .... best boy
Robin Miller .... first assistant camera
Michel Périard .... grip (as Michel Periard)
Lynn Rotin .... apprentice assistant camera
Arshad Shaw .... electrician
Gregory Villeneuve .... second assistant camera
Casting Department
Ginette D'Amico .... casting assistant
Muriel Fournier .... casting assistant
Daniel Hausmann .... casting: Montreal
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Fabienne April .... assistant dresser
Renée April .... dresser
Blanche-Danielle Boileau .... costume assistant (as Blanche Boileau)
Editorial Department
Robert Boyd .... assistant editor
Chris Hutton .... assistant editor
Thomas Metzger .... color timer
Bill Wiggins .... post-production coordinator
Transportation Department
Armand Thomas .... driver: action vehicles
Charles Toupin .... driver captain
Other crew
Neil Bibby .... production assistant
Victor Blazevic .... production assistant
France Boudreau .... continuity
Robert Boyd .... assistant: Mr. Cronenberg
Christine Burt .... location manager
Pierre David .... presenter
Patrick Ferrerro .... production assistant
Kay Gray .... unit publicist
Nerses Kolanian .... production assistant
Guy Landry .... production assistant
Glendon Light .... production assistant
Marilyn Majerczyk .... production assistant
Serge Major .... production accountant
Kim Obrist .... assistant: Mr. Heroux
Danièle Rohrbach .... production coordinator (as Daniele Rohrbach)
Nick Rose .... production assistant
Victor Solnicki .... presenter
Claire Veillet .... production assistant
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
103 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:R | Brazil:16 | Canada:R | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-16 | Finland:K-15 (DVD rating) | Finland:K-18 (original rating) (1981) | France:12 | Germany:16 (re-rating) (2007) | Hungary:16 | Iceland:(Banned) | Italy:VM14 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:16 (cut) | Portugal:M/16 | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:18 | USA:R | West Germany:18 (original rating)

Did You Know?

The Jennifer O'Neill character, Kim Obrist, is named after the assistant to the producer (Kim Obrist).See more »
Continuity: After the famous "exploding head" scene, there wasn't a drop of blood on Revok or the table.See more »
Cameron Vale:Benjamin Pierce?
Benjamin Pierce:Why don't you leave me alone?
Cameron Vale:I need some help. You're the only one that can give it to me.
Benjamin Pierce:Is that right? Me?
Cameron Vale:Yes.
Benjamin Pierce:[Benjamin bursts out in laughter] Then I think you're in big trouble, chump.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Night of the Creeps (1986)See more »


What is a "scanner"?
What is Ephemerol?
See more »
13 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
rtypically cool, strange Cronenberg kind of horror movie, with a few genuine ideas, 3 August 2007
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

Scanners will definitely be one of those films I'll check out on a moments notice- if it's on late at night on the sci-fi channel that is. It's a work that sometimes tries for the low-key, and other times goes for the ultra-gory and darkly comic, but it's all pulled off nicely by director David Cronenberg with help from horror make-up legend Dick Smith. It's a story that seems to be just a pure good vs evil thriller, with Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) and Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside), where one doesn't even quite know what he is and how he can hear so many voices at once thinking in unison, and the other kills people by controlling their minds, sometimes to make their heads explode. Yet there's another element thrown in, which has to do with industry and corporations (or rather one corporation) invests interest in making sure a drug called Ephemerol (real drug (?)), to put a control on pregnant women- but it doesn't quite work. This is expanded upon, the more one thinks about it, into the idea of mind-control, and how clarity of the mind works for a scanner (i.e. the scene where the scanners are 'communing' before a shoot-out occurs, psychically linked a bit).

Other ideas start to flow from there, and it's fascinating to see how they fly out in little spurts- if not as strongly as in Naked Lunch or History of Violence- while the carnage goes on. Some of it is just downright delirious; I loved the scene where Keller, by gun-point, makes programmers try to 'turn off' Vale by tapping into the frequency that he's already been trying to jam on the other side through a phone line. Chaos ensues as we see computer chips freak out, Vale's mind goes into a freeze, then he snaps out and comes back with a big wallop that sends the power line crashing down- not too oddly enough right next to a gas station where the pump's become unhinged- and huge explosions start coming out on both ends. Cronenberg has as a sidebar the true perils of technology in dealing with such a concept like telekinesis and taking it a step further into the realm of morality and free-will (as Kim says she did before coming to Com-Sec with Vale). Meanwhile, Cronenberg keeps on with about as many shoot-outs and explosions and mania as a B-movie touched slightly by dementia, and it's usually a sweet ride technically (even if one is certain after a while which of the scanners will love or not, particularly when a van drives alongside the one holding the scanners and bullets ring out).

The big draw, of course, for most viewers are the head explosions. Actually, there's only one, but in a way it's not a bad thing really. I liked that Cronenberg uses gore, not just in the case of Scanners but in the bulk of his work, to illustrate a point (when one hears him in interviews, it's clear he takes ultra gory and horrifically bloody and organ-y violence seriously, unlike many of todays would-be horror directors). And when the head-explosion comes, it's both horrific and, in a perfect way, hilarious. We know something terrible will happen by the near spaghetti-western length drawing out of the scanner match between Redek and the other guy, and when it comes it's akin to when in RoboCop the executive gets killed by the big battle robot- you know it's coming, but it's still the thought and build-up that counts. And bear in mind, as it is Dick Smith, the climax will not disappoint even for the most weathered genre aficionado. While the biggest flaws would be in a few scenes dragging (the dialog from Ruth before his demise chiefly), and Lack's dearth of talent, it's very worthwhile to see even if you're not terribly familiar with the director. It's low-budget and inventive within the bounds of the plot.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (145 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Scanners (1981)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
How did Stephen Lack not win a Razzie for this? dzimny07
Jim Carry In Scanners talos_valcon
The exploding head... funnyguyla
TERRIBLE Acting violentworld
They can read and control other peoples' minds ... steve-3659
is scanners on blu ray? zyggums
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