6.8/10
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180 user 152 critic

Scanners (1981)

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

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4,761 ( 355)

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3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Kim Obrist
... Cameron Vale (as Steven Lack)
... Dr. Paul Ruth
... Braedon Keller
... Darryl Revok
... 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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 4,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,225,876
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David 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. See more »

Goofs

Clearly visible stunt actors for both Cameron and Kim as the characters are briefly shown running away from the exploding phone booth. See more »

Quotes

Cameron Vale: You called me a scanner. What is that?
Paul Ruth: Freak of nature, born with a certain form of ESP; derangement of the synapses which we call telepathy.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the credits end, the words "Max Security Self Destruct Seconds 1" flash on the screen, then the screen flashes green, as if someone shut the monitor off. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Why Horror? (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Probably one of the best sci-fi social commentaries of our time.
9 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

Well, were to begin?

First off, when I first saw Scanners, it really didn't do that much for me. Nowadays, I've learnt to view the film through more enlightened eyes, and appreciate it for the masterpiece that is most rightfully is.

Apart from the much-lauded 'exploding head' scene (which could have used a little more blood spattering everywhere) one of the film's most chilling scenes is at the very beginning when the lead character, Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) causes a woman to have a fit in a shopping mall before being captured by a pair of heavies. The scene was so convincingly played out that it really shock me up.

The more interesting aspect is the fact that most of these 'scanners'(or telepathic curiosities as the CEO of Consec calls them) are usually forced to live on the fringes of society as their telekinetic powers are feared and misunderstood by many. It would seem that the director, David Cronenberg, was using this plot device as a metaphor to comment on society's prejudicial attitudes towards the mentally ill. Like many of his low-budget horror films right up to 'The Fly' (1986) 'Scanners' has a very subversive, fly-on-the-wall take on society's ills. The modern society portrayed in 'Scanners' is a world viewed through the eyes of the outcast.

Throughout the film, there is a general feeling of starkness, from the synthesiser-tinged score by Howard Shore, to the general sparse look of the film. This gives the viewer a rather apt feeling of coldness and isolation.

Michael Ironside steals the show as the unhinged renegade scanner, Darryl Revok, who has a vast army of scanner converts at his disposal ready and willing to annihilate anyone unfortunate enough to stand in their way.

The only down side, however is the casting of Stephen Lack as Cameron Vale. Although he makes a fairly decent effort of playing his part, Lack just doesn't seem to have that much-needed 'spark' to bring his character to life.

All in all, 'Scanners' comes highly recommended as a 'must-see' feature.


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