Of the many great horror movies to come out of the 80s, not many were as defining as David Cronenberg’s Scanners. A low budget but innovative sci fi tale, Scanners also boasted some of the most talked about makeup effects of the era with the famous exploding heads sequences. But not many are aware that the film actually spawned quite a few sequels. This month, Scream Factory has blessed us with a spectacular double feature of the first two, Scanners II & III.
Scanners II involves a crooked politician who uses a scanner who has escaped from a mental facility to further his campaign through mind control. Of course, he isn’t quite aware of what kind of power he is dealing with and soon enough things spiral out of control.
Scanners III involves a young female scanner who, after taking an experimental drug, goes on a psychotic murderous rampage. The only scanner powerful enough to have a chance at stopping her is her own brother.
Scanners II is definitely the better of the two films, but for fans of the series there are things to love in both films. Scanners II retains much of the feel of the original while not quite reaching the same artistic or quality levels. Still, the story is intriguing and the effects are still mind blowing (pun intended). Scanners III takes more of the 80s direct to video approach and abandons all humanistic traits of the films before it and descends into sillier and much more hokey territory. Lucky for horror fans there is still some decent blood and gore though. This is a set you buy for part II and get a deal for getting part III included. You will probably only rewatch scenes from the third film but part II is worth another look. Now we just need someone to release the original on Blu-ray!
The Blu-ray from Scream Factory isn’t the best transfer around but is still better than the old DVD’s. Scanners II fares better of the two with a soft but surprisingly clean transfer that looks quite good for a film of its age and budget. Scanners III on the other hand has quite a bit of inconsistency in its quality, but as long as I am getting better than the DVD, I am a happy movie nut.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.