Scanner Cop (1994)

Starring Daniel Quinn, Darlanne Fluegel, Richard Grove, Mark Rolston, Richard Lynch, Hilary Shepard, James Horan, Gary Hudson, Cyndi Pass, Luca Bercovici, Christopher Kriesa, Savannah Smith Boucher, Ben Reed, Brion James, Elan Rothschild

Directed by Pierre David

Expectations: Moderate, but hopeful. Anything with a “______ Cop” title is usually worth a watch.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


I didn’t expect much going into Scanner Cop. As the fourth entry in the Scanners series of unrelated films, I figured they were probably fairly close to the bottom of the barrel. There are lots of cop movies from around this time, so I figured Scanner Cop was just another in a long line of clichéd cop movies (even if the naming convention of “______ Cop” always gets me excited for a movie). It is clichéd, without a doubt, but you can’t discredit the fact that Scanner Cop is actually a pretty damn good movie. It gets two key things right: amazing FX work by none other than unsung genre hero (and one of my favorite FX artists) John Carl Buechler, and a killer story. Unfortunately, the writing isn’t always up to par with the premise, featuring inventive lines such as “My men are dying! It’s a war out there!” populating a lot of the film’s cop dialogue exchanges. All of that is a moot point as the wild inventiveness of the situations take hold of your soul and never let go.

Consider the opening scene. A man, obviously a scanner, crashes through his dingy apartment looking for his medication. His young son looks on in fear as his father gets more and more outraged at his inability to find his pills. The father locks himself in the bathroom and while looking at his haggard face in the mirror, small human faces start pushing themselves out from his forehead. If that doesn’t sell you on Scanner Cop, then you’re beyond hope. I was howling with laughter, I was cringing in horror, I was abso-fucking-lutely riveted.

Continue reading Scanner Cop (1994) →

Scanners III: The Takeover (1992)

Scanners III: The Takeover (1992)
AKA Scanner Force, Mastermind – Total Kontroll

Starring Liliana Komorowska, Valérie Valois, Steve Parrish, Colin Fox, Daniel Pilon, Peter Wright, Sith Sekae, Harry Hill, Claire Cellucci, Michael Copeman

Directed by Christian Duguay

Expectations: Moderate. I hope it’s as fun as Part 2.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


There’s no way around it, Scanners III: The Takeover is a shitty movie. Its story is lackluster (but not without potential), and its characters start out with a lot of promise that quickly fizzles away as they settle into the molds they’ll be in for the rest of the film. It’s like the filmmakers had the idea of character arcs, but then got bored and said “Fuck it.” So why isn’t the film rated lower, you ask? That’s simple. Scanners III delivers a lot of over-the-top bullshit of the variety I enjoy immensely, and in these cases I’m always willing to forgive a lot.

The film opens with a party in a high-rise apartment. It feels like an ’80s party, but everyone’s a little more reserved and no one’s snorting cocaine off the mirrors… no one we can see anyway. One thing leads to another and some of the partygoers begin arguing the existence of scanners. Alex, our hero, is talked into proving that they do exist, and he moves his buddy slowly across the room with his mind. Some jovial asshole grabs his shoulder, breaks his concentration and Alex’s friend goes careening out of the window to his death. Stricken with grief and unable to come to terms with what his powers have done, Alex does the only thing someone looking for solace did in the ’80s/’90s. He went to study martial arts, of course. And Alex didn’t just go around the block to the local Taekwondo studio, he went to Thailand! My mind immediately reeled at the possibilities of a martial arts Scanners film.

Continue reading Scanners III: The Takeover (1992) →

Scanners II: The New Order (1991)

Starring David Hewlett, Deborah Raffin, Yvan Ponton, Isabelle Mejias, Tom Butler, Raoul Trujillo, Vlasta Vrana, Murray Westgate, Doris Petrie, Dorothée Berryman, Michael Rudder

Directed by Christian Duguay

Expectations: Low. I went back and forth about watching the sequels, as I wasn’t terribly hot on the original.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


A rogue scanner enters a video arcade and starts playing Operation Wolf… with his mind! He easily masters the silly game, moving on to play a game of pinball at the same time. But that’s not enough to satisfy his gaming urges, and soon the maniacal lunatic is controlling all the games in the arcade. They explode in a shower of hot, white sparks and the man leaves, seeking refuge in an abandoned warehouse full of mannequins. In Scanners this introductory period was concerned with setting up our hero, but here the focus is on our villain. We don’t know he’s the villain just yet, but anyone with eyes that wild ain’t gonna be talking Grandma’s kitty down from the tree with his telepathic powers.

The villain was the most interesting character in Scanners, and the same is true of Scanners II. This guy doesn’t get near enough screen time, though, which is a real shame. When the film finally gets around to introducing us to David, the hero, we find that once again he’s a boring, average guy that’s just learning to harness his psychic powers. Y’know guys, there is enough room in a movie for two interesting characters, you don’t have to pour everything worthwhile into one. In any case, this everyman is meant to be our shepherd in this updated (to the 90s) urban world of the scanners, which we know is the near future because even the police water coolers are highlighted with blue, glowing neon.

Continue reading Scanners II: The New Order (1991) →

Scanners (1981)

Starring Jennifer O’Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane, Michael Ironside, Robert A. Silverman, Lee Broker, Mavor Moore, Adam Ludwig

Directed by David Cronenberg

Expectations: Very high. I’ve seen the head explosion like fifty times, but have never seen the movie.


Oh man, this is gonna be a tough one. One one hand, I loved Scanners. It has a strange vibe with incredible visuals and some really intense moments (not to mention the gore). On the other hand, it belongs to that era of film that I almost always find slow, plodding and hard to watch. So yeah, I kinda loved Scanners while also kinda hating it. In the end, the two emotions blended into a definite liking of the film overall, but I can’t dismiss the fact that the film was kind of hard to sit through. Part of that is me, I had a super long day and I was exhausted when I started it. I knew going in it was a sticky situation, and if the film didn’t completely hold my attention I’d be quickly counting sheep. I fought—and I fought hard—but Scanners just didn’t do it for me like I expected it to. Fucking high expectations, ruining a perfectly good telepathy movie for me.

Scanners is about scanners, genetically special people who can read minds and, in certain cases, control them. Without going too in-depth, there’s one “good” scanner, Cameron, sent to hunt down Revok, played by a young Michael Ironside who’s looking very Jack Nicholson-esque. Revok is an evil scanner who blew up a dude’s head in his introduction scene a few minutes into the movie. While you might think that signals a film filled with insane, gory special effects, that’s not the case. That head explosion is the lion’s share of the gore, but there are a few other choice moments. So anyway, the drive of the movie is Cameron trying to hunt down and kill Revok, but that makes it sound action-packed (or somewhat similar to Blade Runner) and it’s not really.

Continue reading Scanners (1981) →

Breeders (1986)

Starring Teresa Farley, Lance Lewman, Frances Raines, Natalie O’Connell, Amy Brentano, LeeAnne Baker, Matt Mitler, Adriane Lee

Directed by Tim Kincaid

Expectations: Moderate. The poster looks awesome.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-Movie scale:
twostar


If I had noticed that this was a Wizard Video release prior to sitting down with it, I might have tempered my moderate expectations a bit. The only release of theirs I’ve reviewed so far was the god-awful trashfest Dreamaniac, so after the opening titles I had flashbacks to the boring mess that was that film. Thankfully, Breeders isn’t quite as bad, but it’s nowhere close to good either.

In what is probably the most impoverished story yet in our horrific October, an alien is under the city raping virgins. That’s literally it. There’s a doctor and a cop trying to figure out what is going on but they don’t have a fucking clue and neither does writer/director Tim Kincaid. After doing some research, I learned that Mr. Kincaid, in addition to directing a couple of science fiction B-Movies, is primarily a homosexual porn director. You never would have guessed it from the footage taken in Breeders though, as it features hands down some of the most gratuitous female nudity of all time. Whenever nudity comes around in any film, I always find myself questioning it and wondering if it is necessary or gratuitous. The debate only raged for about a second on this film, as it is clearly exploitative. Does every girl in the city strip nude when they arrive home? They do in this movie! The film ends with all the nude women writhing in an alien pool of white goo (symbolism?) for about the last five minutes of screen time. No shit.

Continue reading Breeders (1986) →

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,593 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages

Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Films
Lady With a Sword (1971)
Cinderella (1977)
The Shaolin Avengers (1976)
Galactic Gigolo (1987)
The Tea House (1974)
Perfect (1985)
Uncle Jasper reviews: Ten Tigers of Shaolin (1978)