Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Flashbacks: Scanners 1981

Scanners 1981
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Starring Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Michael Ironside and Lawrence Dane

Cronenberg is one of my favorite genre directors and even when he does something that is not in the horror genre I must see it. Scanners though, is my favorite film of his, it is one I never get tired of revisiting. It has a awesome premise and some awesome effects. I cannot get enough of head explosions. It has a superb villain in the form of Michael Ironside, this is my favorite performance of his after Ricter from Total Recall. He is malevolently evil and seems to relish his performance, which I absolutely love. The lead is great too but he is overshadowed by Ironside. This film was one of the defining moments in my film viewing experience, I was literally blown away by how extreme and over the top the film is.
The plot basics are this, We open with Cameron Vale (Lack), who is scavenging shopping mall for cigarettes and food. When a woman makes a remark about his look, he stares at her and he affects her and starts to maker her convulse and she falls to the ground. He then runs as 2 men chase him and one shoots him with a dart, he then awakens in a hospital bed. He then meets Dr. Ruth (McGoohan) and he explains that he is a scanner, a select few of the population that due to a drug their mothers were given during pregnancy gives them mental powers that can make peoples heads explode. The government is trying to round them up and quell them. They pick up another one Revok (Ironside) but he takes over his captors and plans to use his powers to take over the world. It is now up to Cameron and other like minded scanners to squash his plans for world domination.
This is a gripping movie that does not let go of you till it's shocking ending. Cronenberg's direction is dead on, with tight close ups and a great conspiracy feel to the entire film. His script is great as well, my favorite piece of the story has to be when Revok is taken in by the government and he slyly turns the tables on him, still one of my favorite scenes in any horror film. The actors are great, enough cannot be said about Ironside and how truly evil his character is in the film. I like Lack, but he is overshadowed by both Ironside and McGoohan. The SFX are phenomenal, the head explosions and the final battle between Vale and Revok is amazing. The music is quite fitting too it has a almost mesmerizing feel to it. This film for me, is by far Cronenberg's best film.
This one gets 5 out of 5 exploding heads

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