Scanners is one of those holy grail titles that fans have been chomping at the bit to see on blu-ray since the format launched. Until now, all that was available was sub par imports from overseas. Demand hit a fever pitch last year when Scream Factory released their double feature set of Scanners 2 and Scanners 3 and a lot of fans were expecting Scream Factory to drop the bombshell that they were going to release it. Instead, months later, thanks to one of Criterion’s teaser images, word broke that the much loved label was releasing Scanners.
And here we are, at long last, with a high def release that this classic film deserves.
If you aren’t familiar, Scanners is about people with dangerously powerful telepathic abilities and the people who want to harness those powers for their own nefarious desires. In Cronenberg’s world, there are good scanners and there are bad scanners. Some that want to rule and some that want peace. It’s an interesting wide reaching tale that spawned two sequels and a spin off series (Scanner Cop).
Does it hold up? Yeah it does. It’s dated for sure and it’s one of a few films that I’d be curious to see a remake of, but it’s age doesn’t detract from the viewing at all and the effects are just as, well, effective as they were 33 years ago. This is especially true with the famous exploding head scene. Nowadays, this would be done with CGI but back then it was all practical effects and it is that much more impactful for it.
The only drawback here for me is that when characters are scanning, they’re basically just staring at each other so you get a lot of “fight” scenes where people are just looking really intensely at each other. Sometimes, it can illicit a chuckle. Beyond that though, it’s a fun movie with some great effects and a fascinating world to explore.
Criterion has delivered a wonderful package for this release. It’s packed with special features including trailers, interviews (old and new), a new documentary, a remastered version of Cronenberg’s first feature Stereo, and more.
The picture and sound are top notch. Criterion really gave us a great picture with this newly restored 2k transfer. David Cronenberg supervised the transfer himself so naturally it turned out great.
Love it or hate it, Scanners is a cult classic that fans have been dying to get their hands on. Criterion has given them a package worthy of their demand with great features and a blu-ray that lives up to the hopes of the film’s fans.
Scanners is available in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack now.
8/10 Exploding Heads
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.