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Scanners

4.1 out of 5 stars 194 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Welcome to the world of the Scannersa race of humans with telekinetic powers that can wreak havoc beyond your most dreaded nightmare. Writer/director David Cronenberg (The Fly, Naked Lunch) brings the terror closer than ever beforehe brings it right into your mind. Cronenberg is a modern-day horror master whose name fits in easily with the likes of King, Craven and Carpenter...and Scanners, with its spectacular and shockingly realistic special effects, is a startling masterpiece of the genre. When a rogue Scanner of unparalleled power (Michael Ironside) wages a bloody war against the normals, young empath Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) is recruited to trackhim down. But Vale is inexperiencedand a battle with another Scanner could mean a grisly death...or worse. Can Vale vanquish his insanely violent, power-mad adversary? Only one thing is certain: Scanners delivers the chills-down-your-spine, heart-in-your-throat, you-can't-watch-but-you-daren't-leave goods (Time)!

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane, Michael Ironside
  • Directors: David Cronenberg
  • Writers: David Cronenberg
  • Producers: Claude Héroux, Pierre David, Victor Solnicki
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: August 28, 2001
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005K3NY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,556 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Scanners" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on October 25, 2003
Format: DVD
Every once in awhile I like to dip my toe into a David Cronenberg film. I have seen quite a few of them at this point, from some of his earliest stuff like "Rabid" to his seminal reworking of "The Fly" starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. One thing you will always get out of a Cronenberg film is a serious look at how technology and human beings interact. Like science fiction author J.G. Ballard, Cronenberg's viewpoint towards a synthesis of man and machine is always exceedingly grim, not to mention gory as all get out. The overarching theme in his cinematic examinations seems to be that humans simply do not know enough about the technology they develop, or if they do, their arrogance in the ultimate abilities of mankind never prevents them from charging into potentially damaging experiments. That we are just not far seeing enough to predict the outcome of using new drugs or messing around with human genetics may be a good message to take from a Cronenberg film. "Scanners" should fall into a "Cronenberg 101" class about these messages. Released in 1981, this film helped bring Cronenberg into the mainstream, as well as spawning a host of cheap sequels and a possible remake due sometime next year. Of course, this movie also provides the rabid horror fan with what is possibly the sickest gore scene in cinematic history.
"Scanners" tells the story of Cameron Vale, a man who has spent most of his life in a perpetual fog. Roaming through the streets of the city as a homeless person, Vale suffers from a plethora of voices constantly yammering away in his head. He cannot hold a job or have a regular life with this problem, so he copes the best way he can by always staying on the run.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The movie itself I would give 3 1/2 or 4 stars. However, the picture quality on this Criterion version is average at best....and I can't believe I'm saying that about a Criterion release. I've been a huge fan since their laser disc days. Actually, I don't think it's really Criterion's fault; I suspect it's Cronenberg's. He personally supervised this new 2K scan and transfer. He turned the contrast way, way down and did something weird with the color timing. The picture now has a greenish tint. Swell, huh? As compared to a good HD transfer on blu-ray, the picture here looks muddy, washed out, and faded. It's almost as though Cronenberg (if he's the one responsible) was going for a VHS look. Check out blu-ray.com's screen caps and see for yourself.

Additionally, I would like to encourage anyone that already owns this version of the film to check out the supplemental feature, The Ephemerol Diaries. During this feature, several segments from the film are shown. Here, the film looks SPECTACULAR. The detail, contrast, and color is gorgeous. For some reason, Cronenberg's tweaking is absent. You only wish you could actually watch the film with this version of the transfer. After having poked around a bit online, I found out these clips are from the German blu-ray, from the distributor, Subkulture.

I have already ordered the UK Blu-ray, from distributor Second Sight. You can get it on amazon's UK site, and you don't have to get the fancier steelbook version, unless you want to. However, you'll need a region-free player.

I can only recommend the Criterion version over the previously released DVDs. All other blu-ray versions, in terms of picture quality, are far more to my taste. My strongest recommendation is to pick up a region-free player and get one of the blu imports.
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Format: DVD
Scanners marks the emergence of David Cronenberg from low-budget horror auteur to one of the most unique voices in filmmaking of the last thirty or so years. He first came onto the scene directing such low-budget horror films such as Shivers, Rabid and The Brood. These three films were later said to have had that Cronenberg propensity to show the horror of the body-politic at its most basic. Cronenberg pretty much points out of how true horror might not be lurking on the outside, but within the the human body. Cronenberg makes the human body as forever changing and mutating against the individual person's wants and desire of what was suppose to be the ideal. The horror that we as a people do not and will never have control over our own body was where the true horror lie.

In 1981, Cronenberg moves from the purely physical horror to one where the technology man was forever trying to create and achieve perfection would turn on the biological aspect of the human condition. This new form of techno-organic mutation was as terrifying as it was seductive in its potential to those afflicted with it. Cronenberg begins this phase in his filmmaking voice with his excellent, underappreciated and cult-classic Scanners.

The premise for Scanners had alot in common with Stephen King's novel Firestarter in the fact that in dealt with an omnipresent and powerful organization: the CIA's shadowy branch that dealt with experimental weapons programs for Firestarter and the ultra-powerful CONSEC multinational corporation in Scanners. These two organizations experiment on random select individuals using experimental drug treatments under the guise of helpful medications. What results from these experiments are more than what was truly expected by their handlers.
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