Showing posts with label Patrick McGoohan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patrick McGoohan. Show all posts

1 April 2013

Scanners Blu Ray Review

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The horror classic Scanners is out on blu ray, and who couldn't resist seeing a head explode in high definition?

David Cronenberg's classic science fiction horror film has never looked better. It wasn't the film that launched his career but it certainly was his break into the mainstream, and includes his usual nasty touches of body horror. It's a film which has, for the most part, aged quite well. This is mostly due to some interesting editing choices that prevent it from feeling too much like a B-movie, and the absolutely fantastic special effects.

The scanners of the title are special people who can control other people's minds, and, much like the X-Men, there are those who use their power for good and those who definitly don't. The protagonist of the film, played by Stephen Lack, starts as a lost homeless man who is unable to control his “gift”. He is picked up by a doctor (Patrick McGoohan) who teaches him to control his powers and asks him to try and infiltrate a gang of evil scanners led by the dangerous Revok (Michael Ironside); but things do not go so smoothly.

The film could have easily belonged in a dvd bargain basement if it weren't for some classy choices by Cronenberg and the five star gore on display. What doesn't help the film are a few lacklustre performances. Stephen Lack gives a one note performance throughout and never seems remotely concerned by his predicament, making it astonishingly hard to care about, or be swept up in, his story. It doesn't help that his love interest looks equally as tired and uninterested as he does. Jennifer O’Neil as the female scanner who helps Lack is another black hole in the film.

Making up for these two though is Michael Ironside as the antagonist. He is simply wonderful as the dangerous, psychopathic scanner. From the start to finish, he is frightening, thrilling and a real treat to watch. Patrick McGoohan also helps the film by adding a little gravitas to the proceedings. A little theatrical, yes, but the splash of energy he adds to his scenes is very welcome.

The effects here are the real star, though. It is further proof of just how effective make up and practical effects are. They've aged fantastically well – and they look remarkable in high definition. Scanners is famous for showing a man's head explode. It's what the film was sold on; it is a fantastic effect and is still as revolting as it was thirty two years ago.

Aside from looking great, the film also sounds it. Cronenberg uses fleshy noises to add to the grotesqueness of the effects; and also through electronic sounds and slowing down actors' voices, he prevents sequences from feeling tacky or dated, where others might just simply have poor actors hold their heads shouting “Ahhhh! My mind!”.

Scanners is a great horror film, slightly let down by a few performances. It is Cronenberg at his best and I pray they never remake it. An exloding CGI head just won't do. But if they are to make it, I hope Cronenberg directs and Viggo Mortensen stars.

Harry Davenport


Rating: 18
BD Release Date: 8th April 2013 (UK)
DirectorDavid Cronenberg
Cast: Jennifer O'Neill , Stephen Lack,Patrick McGoohan,Michael Ironside

BuyScanners (Limited Edition Steelbook) On Blu-ray