My parents would never let me rent horror films, especially something like SCANNERS. There was plenty of times I tried to get my dad to rent it but I'd always get the classic “nice try bud”, or the “your mom will never let us watch that” response.
The closest I would get to seeing something like SCANNERS was looking at Starlog and Fangoria magazines at the bookstore in the mall. One of these magazines had a cover story on David Cronenberg's THE FLY, and I remember seeing a bunch of pictures from the movie SCANNERS. Thinking back on it now I bet the issue was a retrospective of the directors career leading up to his remake of THE FLY.
It was around this time that we got Cable T.V at our house and HBO became my new babysitter. Over the years I had forgot about SCANNERS, until I saw it listed in the HBO/Cinemax program guide. Unlucky for me the movie only showed on Cinemax and not HBO. If you were a child of the 80's you could have a pretty good guess why we had HBO and not Cinemax. Thanks a lot Cinemax After Dark!
So for me SCANNERS and Micheal Ironside's spontaneous combustion became legend, and legend became myth. So many movies so little time. Maybe one day I'll get my merit badge for seeing the horror movie with the exploding heads?
So now it's 2014 and The Criterion Collection just released David Cronenberg's SCANNERS on Blu-Ray. Criterion putting out a genre picture? It's happened before, but this is a movie I'd expect Shout Factory to give the special treatment not Criterion? (By the way, Shout Factory IS the “Criterion” of genre films). Anyways, I was happy to see it finally get the high def treatment here in the States. With Criterion doing the honors I knew I was in for something special.
The day had finally come. I was going to see “the one with the exploding heads”!
So Thursday night is movie night! Got my snacks, popped in the movie and I only took a couple sips of my drink. That's how good SCANNERS is, that's how well it holds up.
This movie is awesome! Classic Cronenberg, not quite a masterpiece but close. SCANNERS is a pitch perfect mix of horror and science fiction. I always knew what the film was about but had no idea what I was in store for. Bravo for a film to hold up as well as this one has. Let's get right to the dessert, the exploding head! Long live practical effects! It happens early in the film, and boy is it glorious. I won't lie, it put a smile on my face. Not because I am a gore hound but because for too long has CGI dulled my cinematic senses.(Looking at you MAN OF STEEL)! The art of CGI has come a long way and make the impossible possible. The new DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is a good example. But I will always be a fan of the organic.
A Scanner is someone with extraordinary psychic ability, and Darryl Revok is the most powerful one of all. Revok is a terror and must be stopped. Dr. Paul Ruth who specializes in Scanners recruits Cameron Vale, a Scanner that might just be powerful enough to stop Revok and bring him in. The closer Vale gets to finding Revok the more things start to spiral out of control. Come to find out Revok is part of a underground movement set on world domination. Can Vale be strong enough to stop Revok or is this the beginning of the end?
I love SCANNERS. Love it! No doubt about it, the film is classic David Cronenberg. When it comes to horror mixed with science fiction he has an eye for it like no other. A style he would master even more with films like VIDEODROME and his remake of THE FLY. Like I said SCANNERS is classic 'body in revolt' horror/science fiction, but I also saw something else that's pretty cool about the film.
With the risen popularity of comic book movies, SCANNERS can totally be looked at as a comic book movie. I'm not saying it is one, but the viewing experience does go up a notch viewing it in this new light. Telekinetic vs. Telekinetic hell bent on world domination, yeah in this day and age it's a X-Men movie! Now I want to see a Cronenberg X-Men movie! That would be awesome!
It took 20 years or so but I've finally seen “the one with the exploding heads”, and I am happy to say it was well worth the wait. SCANNERS isn't my new favorite film of all time, but it did exceed my expectations and that is always a good thing. As the saying goes with most David Cronenberg films, long live the new flesh!