6.8/10
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Scanners (1981)

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

Director:

David Cronenberg
Reviews
Popularity
3,438 ( 972)

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Cast

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

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:

10 Seconds: The Pain Begins. 15 Seconds: You Can't Breathe. 20 Seconds: You Explode. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Scanners See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 4,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,225,876
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Ironside was originally hired for a bit part of one to two scenes and was paid $5300 CDN. See more »

Goofs

Dieter Tautz cries out during Cameron's scanning of him, but his lips don't move. See more »

Quotes

Darryl Revok: This was a test campaign used in 1947 to market a new product. The product was a drug, a tranquilizer called 'Ephemerol'. It was aimed at pregnant women. If it had worked it would have been marketed all over North America. But the campaign failed and the drug failed, because it had a side effect on the unborn children. An invisible side effect.
Cameron: It created Scanners.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The original Finnish video version is cut, especially the scene were Revok caused the other scanner's head to explode was trimmed. The re-released on VHs & DVD by Future Film in 1996 is uncut. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Fictional Movie Drugs (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Could have been stronger in several key areas but is still worth seeing
9 January 2006 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Within "normal" society exists a new breed of person who possess telepathic powers. They are small in number but their powers makes them very dangerous – but also very powerful in the hands of the right people. Dr Paul Ruth runs a secretive programme trying to develop the power into a weapon but he only has one recruit – Cameron Vale. When Ruth's programme is violently attacked by scanner Darryl Revok, they realise that the battle is being lost and they prepare Vale to go undercover, in filtrate Revok's group and lead them to him.

As everyone and their dog knows, this film is always talked about for the infamous scene near the start where we are first shown the power of the scanners, however there are many scenes across the whole film that are just as strong as that one. The opening scene is powerful as it shows the ability Vale has and the lack of control he has over it while the scene where Revok escapes capture is even more sinister and gripping. This pretty much carries across the whole film although there are some slows spots and parts of the story that don't hang together as well as they should. Cronenberg is famous for his body horror but he does do tension well and here he is solid when called upon. The low budget does show through at times but mostly it is good.

The acting is a little bit ropey though, which is maybe where the limitations do show through. Lack is OK but he isn't anything special – he can say his lines well enough and not fall over while walking but he can't bring out much more below the surface than that. He reminded me of the old b-movie matinée stars who have good jaws but not much else. McGoohan is better and his presence is welcome in his scenes. Ironside is hammy but enjoyable perhaps not having as much screen time as I would have liked but effective when he is. The support is mostly pretty average, O'Neill is OK but the rest are so-so and are sometime amusing as they get scanned.

Overall though this is a classic cult film. The plot moves forward well enough although I would have liked more real life commentary from Cronenberg above the general "mental illness" metaphor that it acts as but his direction otherwise is good. The cast are mostly only OK but they do enough to keep the story moving while moments of horror and tension are well served up. Could have been better in several key areas but is still worth seeing.


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