Scanners (1981) UK Double Crown Poster II #New
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Scanners (1981) UK Double Crown Poster II #New

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Famed for Dick Smith's exploding head sequence, and the effects in the Scanner duel at the climax, David Cronenberg's exploration of the extremes of body horror moved up a notch. Next to come was the sublime Videodrome (1983), and while Scanners has some brilliant set-pieces, it's hurried scripting and filming schedule meant it's not as polished or thoughtful as Cronenberg's other work.

Stephen Lack (cast for his mesmeric eyes rather than acting ability) fails to convince, and it's left to Patrick McGoohan and Jennifer O'Neill to carry the emotional core of the film. Michael Ironside seized the opportunity to turn himself into one of cinema's greatest bad guys, moving on to Visiting Hours (1982), Prom Night II (1987) and Total Recall (1990), and Mark Irwin's gritty photography of the bleak Canadian landscape finds a match in Howard Shore's most sparse score.

Condition: VERY FINE / NEAR MINT

Cast: Stephen Lack, Jennifer O'Neill, Patrick McGoohan, Michael Ironside, Robert Silverman