» » Scanners (1981)

Short summary

Darryl Revok is the most powerful of all the scanners, and is the head of the underground scanner movement for world domination. Scanners have great psychic power, strong enough to control minds; they can inflict enormous pain/damage on their victims. Doctor Paul Ruth finds a scanner that Revok hasn't, and converts him to their cause - to destroy the underground movement.

Trailers "Scanners (1981)"

The effect for the exploding head scene was accomplished by filling a latex head of the actor with dog food, leftover lunch, fake blood and rabbit livers, and shooting it from behind with a 12-gauge shotgun.

David Cronenberg once called this the most frustrating film he'd ever made. The film was rushed through production - filming had to begin without a finished script and end within roughly two months so the financing would qualify as a tax write-off, forcing Cronenberg to write and shoot at the same time. Cronenberg also cited difficulty with and antagonism between the leads, particularly Patrick McGoohan and Jennifer O'Neill.

William S. Burroughs' 1959 novel 'Naked Lunch' contains a chapter concerning "Senders", a hostile organization of telepaths bent on world domination, a clear literary inspiration for this film. Cronenberg would later direct a film version of Naked Lunch (1991).

A very early treatment from 1976, entitled "Telepathy 2000" takes place in the future, begins with the protagonist (who is named Harley Quinn) telepathically raping a woman in a subway, and was set as a spy movie. In this version, a company called Cytodyne Amalgamate was breeding evil Scanners to take over the world and the U.S. Government was employing good Scanners to stop them.

The crash scene in the record store prominently features a float hanging from the ceiling for the RSO (Robert Stigwood Organization) record label, who paid for this placement. By the time the film was released, RSO had gone out of business.

David Cronenberg moved the head explosion from the beginning of the film for late moviegoers.

Stephen Lack kept the fake head of his that exploded.

For the scene where Darryl is set on fire and his head comes up, Michael Ironside wore a fake pair of eyes worn by Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man (1970).

In February 2007, Darren Lynn Bousman was announced as director of a remake of the film, to be released by The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films. David S. Goyer was assigned to script the film. The film was planned for an October 17, 2008, release, but the date came and went without further announcements, and all the parties involved have since moved on to other projects. In an interview with Bousman in 2013, he recalled that he would not make the film without David Cronenberg's blessing, which was not granted.

In an interview with Film Comment, Stephen Lack recalled feeling under-the-gun during one of his first scenes on set. "There we were, the first day of Scanners and they had me get into this 18-wheel truck with four gearshift levers and have me drive into the shot. It was horrifying. I never drove such a thing and I was pretty disoriented," he explained. "We were set up on a feeder road to the highway, and all the camera crew and staff were there, and some car on the highway slowed down to gawk-and a truck on the highway rammed them from behind. There was a death and sirens, and the whole crew jumped over the storm fence to help out. I was given a slight reprieve of an hour to figure out the gears."

Robert A. Silverman, who plays the artist/scanner Benjamin Pierce, also appears in David Cronenberg's Rabid (1977), The Brood (1979), Naked Lunch (1991), and Экзистенция (1999).

Michael Ironside was originally hired for a bit part of one to two scenes and was paid $5300 CDN.

The drug ephemerol bears an eerie similarity to the real-life scandal in the late 1950s as women who had taken thalidomide during pregnancy (marketed as relief for morning sickness) began to give birth to children suffering phocomelia or other physical deformities.

This was the nearest thing to a conventional science fiction thriller David Cronenberg had made up to that point, lacking the sexual content of Shivers (1975), Rabid (1977), or The Brood (1979). It was also his most profitable film until The Fly (1986) six years later.

The Life magazine that Revok shows Vale during their discussion at the end of the movie is from July 22, 1946. The prop is the actual issue. Revok opens it to page 38-39, but the close up is of page 48-49. The Ephemerol add is pasted over an ad for Bendix Radios on page 49.

Dr. Ruth tells Vale that he founded Biocarbon Amalgamate in 1942. Patrick McGoohan, who plays the Dr. Paul Ruth character, was 14 years old in 1942.

Top-billed Jennifer O'Neill doesn't appear until the 37 minute mark.

Kim Obrist was named after producer Claude Héroux's assistant.

The lines "I can hear myself", "I think I'm a little bit afraid" and "They were drowning me" are sampled for the track "Among Myselves" on The Future Sound of London's album "Lifeforms".

At one point in the later part of the movie, Jennifer O'Neill's character gets telepathically "scanned" by a pregnant woman's telepathic fetus. Later in her career, O'Neill authored an anti-abortion propaganda book and now works as a spokesperson for a right-to-life organization.

Production stills exist of shots in the final duel between Cameron and Revok, where the top of Cameron's head explodes, sending sparks into the air. Apparently this climax was filmed but David Cronenberg chose to omit it from the final print.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Kamick
    Scanners is Cronenberg's venture into telepathy and the strange workings of the mind(he seems to do one movie on each theme, doesn't he?) While it is not as good as many of his other movies, it's still worthwhile.

    First of all, the effects are really good. Some shots easily beat what the best CGI can do today, and some are just plain sick(you'll jump, I promise you). I was actually scratching my head over some things, thinking "how did they do that?", which is a good measure of special effects skills.

    Second, the atmosphere is very powerful. It's a dark and unknown world in here, and no-one living in it likes it at all. The characters are all slightly off colour, subnormal. Our hero is no exception. The unknown Stephen Lack does a good-enough job, what with all the grimacing and psycho-playing. The supporting cast is over all sufficient. A treat is, as usual, Michael Ironside, who gives his pretty simple character a nice edge and a personality.

    As for the story, it's sometimes hard to follow, and sometimes it lacks something. The ending is a bit rushed as well(even though the climax is incredible).

    Still, Scanners is a cult movie and if you can find time, and you're in the right mood, it's certainly worthwhile for it's innovative gore, moody atmosphere and Michael Ironside.

  • comment
    • Author: Dukinos
    Well, were to begin?

    First off, when I first saw Scanners, it really didn't do that much for me. Nowadays, I've learnt to view the film through more enlightened eyes, and appreciate it for the masterpiece that is most rightfully is.

    Apart from the much-lauded 'exploding head' scene (which could have used a little more blood spattering everywhere) one of the film's most chilling scenes is at the very beginning when the lead character, Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) causes a woman to have a fit in a shopping mall before being captured by a pair of heavies. The scene was so convincingly played out that it really shock me up.

    The more interesting aspect is the fact that most of these 'scanners'(or telepathic curiosities as the CEO of Consec calls them) are usually forced to live on the fringes of society as their telekinetic powers are feared and misunderstood by many. It would seem that the director, David Cronenberg, was using this plot device as a metaphor to comment on society's prejudicial attitudes towards the mentally ill. Like many of his low-budget horror films right up to 'The Fly' (1986) 'Scanners' has a very subversive, fly-on-the-wall take on society's ills. The modern society portrayed in 'Scanners' is a world viewed through the eyes of the outcast.

    Throughout the film, there is a general feeling of starkness, from the synthesiser-tinged score by Howard Shore, to the general sparse look of the film. This gives the viewer a rather apt feeling of coldness and isolation.

    Michael Ironside steals the show as the unhinged renegade scanner, Darryl Revok, who has a vast army of scanner converts at his disposal ready and willing to annihilate anyone unfortunate enough to stand in their way.

    The only down side, however is the casting of Stephen Lack as Cameron Vale. Although he makes a fairly decent effort of playing his part, Lack just doesn't seem to have that much-needed 'spark' to bring his character to life.

    All in all, 'Scanners' comes highly recommended as a 'must-see' feature.
  • comment
    • Author: Jack
    Scanners (1981) was another one of David Cronenberg's "body in revolt" films. This one deals with people that have telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Not your average horror film because it's quite heady. That's what I like about Cronenberg, not only does he make great psychological horror/thrillers but he makes you think. Nothing is spoon feed to you. The splatter effects have given this movie it's much deserved place in one of the best horror set pieces ever made. Two scenes stand out the most. After watching this film you'll understand why gore hounds love this movie.

    The only part of this movie that I would have changed would have been the lead. Mr. Lack was okay but I felt that Cronenberg could have found an actor with more experience. Michael Ironside was chilling, ice ran through his veins. This movie made his career as a movie heavy. Jennifer O'Neill was nice to look at and fit in well. A strong storyline and good directing made this one a must see.

    I was very impressed with this movie. The soundtrack was apt for the movie.

    I haven't watch this film in awhile. But after seeing it on D.V.D. recently, I'm still a big fan of Scanners. Sadly I'm not too fond of the sequels.


    If you love heady horror films this is a must see.
  • comment
    • Author: Livina
    A common aspect of most great films is that they take time to sink in. Into their audience and into culture. Upon seeing a good film an audience will often know whether they've liked it or not, but what they won't know is quite why. That is what takes time to sink in. As a film is thought about and even seen again once or twice does it become great. It is the basic test of time that all classics must pass in order to achieve that honored status. The term "instant-classic" has always been a marketing gimmick since if you can take in the whole of a film instantly it means that it didn't offer a lot and isn't as good as it could have been.

    David Cronenberg's films are those films that you have to see more than once. Many people today don't get that that's where the fun of a good story is: it's not a quick fix of special effects, but rather something that grows on you. Even if you end up not liking the film, the thinking about it and possibly re-seeing it will tell you WHY. Today many people don't care to go that far and just settle on eye candy. Nothing is wrong with eye candy, but when your mother told you to eat your vegetables, she wasn't just talking about food.

    "Scanners" is not just a great film that was ahead of its time when it came out, it is a great director's first conceptual masterpiece. Cronenberg showed much promise with his early works, but he was clearly on the learning curve. With "Scanners" he make use of bigger sets, more expansive special effects all while presenting a frightening aspect of ever developing computer technology in an interesting story. The kicker is that most of what the film presents is relevant in more ways than one to today's world. Maybe not quite word for word, but this film is quite prophetic and a science fiction classic. --- 9/10

    Rated R for violence and gore. Ages 13+
  • comment
    • Author: Anayanis
    After a renegade scanner named Revok (a mutant human with advanced mental powers) causes another man's head to explode, he is hunted by a second scanner hired by a semi-secret scientific organization. Meanwhile, other scanners are picked off one by one, and the hunter is left with great moral and existential questions -- where did he come from, what is his purpose and is there a right or wrong side in this human/mutant battle?

    Director David Cronenberg can seemingly do no wrong. As I watch one film after another of his, I wait to find one that is the pock mark on the perfect career. Some of his films (such as "Rabid" or perhaps "Stereo") may be of less quality than others, but I have yet to find one that is outright bad. "Scanners", for the record, ranks among his best and has become a cultural staple.

    You know you are a culturally important film when you are referenced by "Wayne's World". But seriously, this film is a science fiction story that -- like many science fiction stories -- holds some greater cultural and moral issues worth investigating.

    The issue of racism is here. Like the recent "X-Men" movies, and many other films, the idea of someone who is different in a superficial way (scanners look like ordinary humans) and is rejected raises the point that we as a society need to accept those who are not like us. Racism stinks, whether it appear in its purest form (skin color) or through religion or other means. And that is what makes this film so clever: the main character is a hero, but yet he is the outcast -- in some ways we see him as being more human than those who would have him killed.

    This also happens to be a film that focuses on one of Cronenberg's strong points: his love of science. Or perhaps science gone wrong, if you will. Does any other director really tackle this as effectively as Cronenberg? I don't think so. (Imagine what would happen if he started making a series of Philip K. Dick novels into films.)

    I suppose I did not really get into the film itself so much, but the beauty of the film is that what you take away from it if you view it critically is so much more than the plot or effects or lighting. Yes, you have a great cast (isn't Michael Ironside creepy?) and a head explodes. Yes, you have gun fights and mind control. Even a little bit of romance (but only just a pinch, nothing like a Goldblum-Davis connection in this one).

    If you cannot tell, I want you to see this movie. If you're the type of person I am, you'll find this movie so smooth and refreshing on your mental palette that the film ends before you've even realized it began -- the sign of a really great film (or a really short one, which this isn't). Give it a chance, you'll like it.
  • comment
    • Author: Stanober
    Scanners is a film about a group of human mutants that are able to basically make people go mad, and finally they can make their minds actually explode. Supposedly created out of the scientific work of a scientist working on a product for pregnant women(or something like that), the scanners(as they are called) are divided into two factions. One is out to destroy all other scanners and the other works for the labs that created them. This is an intensely philosophical film filled with many thought-provoking questions and issues. Director David Cronenberg again uses the idea of the human body in an aberrated state as the focus for terror. He directs with style and suspense, and uses a lot more gore in this than most of his previous features. Don't let that keep you from seeing this film. the acting is solid all around with Stephen Lack giving a nice performance in the lead, and Michael Ironsides giving yet another chilling performance of dementia. He sure can play one sick and crazy guy! Patrick McGoohan plays the fatherly scientist with style and finesse. One of Cronenberg's best!
  • comment
    • Author: Thundershaper
    David Cronenberg is one of the most provocative horror directors ever as one of his early films like Scanners proves. Stephen Lack has just been picked by Dr. Patrick McGoohan to infiltrate a sinister organization of scanners-people of telepathic abilities. Lack is one of them who gets administrated a drug to control his more intense urges. Michael Ironside is the one they're looking for. Jennifer O'Neill, Lawrence Dane, and Robert Silverman also lend support. See heads explode and veins pop! There's lots of exposition but more than enough gore and action to satisfy any hard core fans out there. Film actually seemed a little short but there's not a wasted minute here. All Cronenberg and horror fans should definitely seek this one out.
  • comment
    • Author: Olma
    David Cronenberg is a great director, he's made classic movies like The Brood, The Dead Zone, The Fly, History of Violence, Eastern Promises, etc. Scanners is definitely one of his best films, the effects are gory and memorable especially the famous head exploding scene, the final battle is also beautifully done. The acting is great especially from Michael Ironside who does a wonderful job as the villain Derol Revok. The music is good, the theme at the start and end is great.

    Scanners is a sci-fi masterpiece from a great director, one of David Cronenberg's best films. This film defiantly should be seen, check this out. 10/10
  • comment
    • Author: Bremar
    Cameron Vale is a down-and-out with unique mental abilities to read the thoughts of others and control their bodies. He is rescued by Dr Paul Ruth, an unusual scientist who seems to understand his condition perfectly. Vale is sent out to locate others like himself but is Dr Ruth telling him the whole story …

    David Cronenberg has always been one of my favourite directors, but I particularly like his middle period. His films up to The Brood have some amateurish elements and from Dead Ringers on he starts to get a bit too critically respected, but the movies in between, starting with Scanners, are all top quality horror. What I especially like is his ability to take avant-garde, off-the-wall ideas - the telepathy / psychokinesis notion here - and explore it in the most outlandish and experimental ways, yet still be grounded in an entertaining story. Thus, on one level this movie is an exciting thriller with car chases, explosions, corporate intrigue, traitors and family secrets. But on the other it's an art film; the hero scans a computer, a foetus in the womb is a scanner, there is a group scanner mind-sex scene, one scanner drills a hole in his head to let out the voices, whilst another builds a twenty-foot model of his own head and sits in it to escape them. Cronenberg is cerebral and can't resist exploring these ideas, but he also knows the value of good story, shocks and vigorous pacing. The whole movie can be taken as an industrial thriller, a medical conspiracy plot (with echoes of the infamous Thalidomide scandal) or one man's search for existential meaning - take your pick. For me, it does have one big liability and that's the lead duo of Lack and O'Neill, both of whom are stiff and uninteresting. This may be somewhat deliberate, because the story is so crazy, but also because McGoohan and Ironside contrast with such dynamic, extreme performances - they're both fantastic. Everything else however is first rate - Carol Spier's cold clinical production design of dank warehouses and ugly sinister office blocks, Mark Irwin's sharp photography, the noisy head-filling sound effects and Howard Shore's unsettling proto-electronic music all combine to create an atmosphere of uneasy tension. Special mention however must go to makeup maestros Dick Smith and Chris Walas for creating the unforgettably gory final showdown and the sequence with Del Grande, which gets my vote for best exploding head ever, bar none. I'm an old school effects fan, and this scene for me shows the value of not using CG - Walas built a plaster cast, filled it with butcher's leftovers and then blew it apart with a shotgun. It may be a basic approach but it looks sensational. If it doesn't shock you, you're already dead. One of the quintessential horror films of the late seventies / eighties renaissance period, this is great disturbing fun for both undiscerning fright fans and cult cinema students. I also think it represents the great Canadian director at his most imaginative, potent and entertaining - don't miss it.
  • comment
    • Author: Nuadora
    In 1980, our understanding of our own world as we continued to look to the stars was beginning to look rather incomplete. Nowhere is this more apparent today as in the field of neuroscience and mental health, where so-called charities are hard at work trying to convince people they are diseased when they really have more in common with the likes of Einstein or Spielberg. I say this because it has suddenly become trendy to make films that proclaim to explore the daily life difficulties of people who share this divergence, yet they are all flawed in one manner. By trying so hard to dramatise and commercialise something the makers have no understanding of, they create caricatures that are ridiculous and insulting. Much of my own video work concerns the fact that when films do get it right, they do so entirely by accident. Blade Runner was one such film. Scanners, David Cronenberg's first film to gain an international release (and at the time when home video was becoming a reality), is another.

    Scanners is set in a contemporary time, not wishing to make any odd predictions about our future. The only clues to the time in which the story takes place are historical references to the development of a synthetic hormone given to women during the gestational period. This drug is overtly designed to calm or sedate the women in question, but it has the effect of altering the neurology of their children. Said children grow up with the thoughts of every individual around them echoing in their heads until a point is reached where they break down. One such individual, we see as an adult named Cameron Vale. After hearing the thoughts of a woman repulsed by his appearance, and causing her to have a seizure with his reaction, he is pulled from the street by shady government agents. When he awakens, a doctor Paul Ruth sits with him and explains, at least partly, why he has been in such an acute state of distress for so long. What he neglects to tell his latest subject is that there are plenty of other scanners out there, and not all of them are nice.

    As if we needed any demonstration of that last fact, we cut to the inside of the government facility the good doctor works for. There, a scanner who has been "tamed" is giving a demonstration of his powers. Asking for a volunteer, he is met with reluctance until a seemingly ordinary man from what appears to be the scientific community puts up a hand. Asked to think of an unclassified secret that does not relate to his own organisation, the volunteer sits and calmly participates. But the man giving the demonstration shows increasing distress, convulsing and shaking as if being tortured. If you have already seen the film, you know what is coming. If you have not seen Scanners, no amount of description can prepare you. Literally, our lecturer is scanned to death, as in his head explodes. While this was not Michael Ironside's first role, starlets being groomed to be the next Nicole Kidman could not hope for a better introduction. And thus, we have the first of many performances from Ironside as a mean, ruthless sod.

    This is why Scanners is a deeply flawed would-be masterpiece. While a protagonist is only as strong as your antagonist allows him to be, Stephen Lack is best summed up in the primary role by his surname. He lacks charisma, he lacks emotion, he even looks like he lacks a pulse. This would explain why Jennifer O'Neill, passive and inactive as she is, received top billing. This is why actors who can draw an audience can command millions of dollars in fees. Put simply, one does not notice when a film has halfway decent actors because they are doing their job. That job, at least in part, is to shore up the reality of the film they are in. For all the complaints I have heard people throw around regarding the abilities of actors like Hayden Christensen or others of his generation, they might as well be Ian McKellen or Christopher Lee when compared to Lack or O'Neill. They are totally the wrong people to build a film around, and were I remaking the film with similar actors, I would shift focus to make Ironside's character the hero.

    The plot also becomes a problem in the final act. Cronenberg unwisely attempts to explain the origins of the scanner phenomenon, where our hero fits into it, what makes Daryl Revok the way he is, and why the good doctor is not so good, almost all in the one half hour. The end result is disjointed, although not quite pointless. Cronenberg does manage to spin the final scene into something of a climax, but the loss of the thread is really only highlighted by the fact that audiences remember the head explosion, a sequence that occurs in the first two reels of the film, better than the final scanning battle. Not that I am too surprised, as that shot was a tough act to follow. Nonetheless, the film's highlights are many, and they more than make up for most of the problems. The only problem that remains is that the scale of the story is simply too big for the budget, the technical expertise available, and the running time. Fortunately, Cronenberg was able to rectify this in his subsequent projects.

    When I add it all up, I consider Scanners an eight out of ten film. It is almost a masterpiece, and a must-have for fans of gore or outsider stories.
  • comment
    • Author: Uaoteowi
    "Telepathic curiosities", or Scanners, created by a mysterious drug given to pregnant women causing a "malfunction" during the birth cycle giving the infants mental powers that are a burden and blessing, are considered a threat to national security if not controlled or quarantined. Scanners look completely human, which in itself makes the task of finding them difficult for agents in the fields. But, those burdened with this phenomenon are unsettled by a cacophony of peoples' thoughts, joined in a chorus of unpleasant noises which cause major problems in living a normal existence. A certain drug, created by a Dr. Paul Ruth(the always excellent Patrick McGoohan, the type of actor who commands the screen the moment he's first shown)named Ephemerol can cease the noises, dissipating the constant agonizing arrangements of others' thoughts and feelings. A rogue Scanner, Darryl Revok(Michael Ironside)is being pursued by a scientific organization named Consec, which devote research in the study of Scanners and have Ruth under their employ. Revok is supposedly operating an underground Scanners movement to control those without their special abilities, and through a traitor in Consec, Braedon Keller(Lawrence Dane), have been running a company created by Ruth(who sold the company to Consec, joining their organization devoted to Scanners and their uncharted potential for the future), Biocarbon Amalgamate, issuing a drug to doctors for their pregnant patients, which can create a new breed of Scanners. Ruth hopes to infiltrate Revok's group using an unknown Scanner, living as a bum on the streets, Cameron Vale(Stephen Lack)in the hopes of stopping him. On his journey, and with the help of ephemeral which calms the storm that's been tormenting him, Vale will meet Kim Obrist(Jennifer O'Neill)who leads a Scanner movement in the attempts to harmonize themselves, fitting into society instead of following Revok's goal of terror. Obrist and her group's lives are in danger because any Scanner who doesn't follow Revok suffer the consequences. But, there's a special link between Vale and Revok, and Ruth is much more than what he appears.

    Watching Cronenberg's "Scanners" for the first time since I was a teenager, I must still say I'm in awe of the final effects sequence depicting a gruesome mental telepathic showdown between Revok and Vale. The modern computer graphic techniques of today just don't impress me like these home-made make-up effects where you see nerves bulge through the skin, eyeballs pop out, a face peeling, and, of course, a head exploding. Obviously, the head explosion gained "Scanners" the cred and momentum needed for film-goers to check it out, but I think Cronenberg really puts a great deal of thought into what indeed makes that effects sequence take shape. Revok agrees to scan a host of a meeting showing the slow effects of such an ability, with the end result being a head blowing apart. But, that final scene, where Revok tires of Vale's heroics in following Obrist's peaceful ideals, planning to "suck his brain dry" you have quite a yucky turn of events that still floored me..impressive considering this film is nearly 30 years old. Maybe, you have to look past the logistics of a Scanner using his mental powers to remove data from a computer's data bank(..the script explains that a Scanner links with another's nervous system not brain, and a computer also has a nervous system) with an override destruct sequence causing a lab's technical equipment to explode blasting personnel across the room, burning power lines, and even a melting phone, but I felt the overall film has a fascinating underlying theme of how those with "unique abilities" are considered "inhuman freaks", and if they are to be treated as lab animals, a revolt through the creation of a Scanner army, will achieve the goals of the cast-aways. Ironside is riveting as the formidable Revok, feared by Consec and the innocent Scanners who just wish to co-exist with the rest of the human race. O'Neill is still quite lovely as the doe-eyed Obrist who watches in horror as Revok slaughters her people joining forces with the wooden Lack. My favorite part of the film, besides the final effects sequence, is the art museum sequence where Vale meets a rather unstable Scanner named Pierce whose surreal pieces really leave a lasting impression..Pierce uses his art to keep him centered, with Cronenberg perhaps saying that through art, a troubled soul can find a type of tranquility. I think watching "Scanners" you see a birth of the artistry of special effects which would evolve to great depths such as "The Thing" and Cronenberg's own "Videodrome."
  • comment
    • Author: Felolv
    Within "normal" society exists a new breed of person who possess telepathic powers. They are small in number but their powers makes them very dangerous – but also very powerful in the hands of the right people. Dr Paul Ruth runs a secretive programme trying to develop the power into a weapon but he only has one recruit – Cameron Vale. When Ruth's programme is violently attacked by scanner Darryl Revok, they realise that the battle is being lost and they prepare Vale to go undercover, in filtrate Revok's group and lead them to him.

    As everyone and their dog knows, this film is always talked about for the infamous scene near the start where we are first shown the power of the scanners, however there are many scenes across the whole film that are just as strong as that one. The opening scene is powerful as it shows the ability Vale has and the lack of control he has over it while the scene where Revok escapes capture is even more sinister and gripping. This pretty much carries across the whole film although there are some slows spots and parts of the story that don't hang together as well as they should. Cronenberg is famous for his body horror but he does do tension well and here he is solid when called upon. The low budget does show through at times but mostly it is good.

    The acting is a little bit ropey though, which is maybe where the limitations do show through. Lack is OK but he isn't anything special – he can say his lines well enough and not fall over while walking but he can't bring out much more below the surface than that. He reminded me of the old b-movie matinée stars who have good jaws but not much else. McGoohan is better and his presence is welcome in his scenes. Ironside is hammy but enjoyable perhaps not having as much screen time as I would have liked but effective when he is. The support is mostly pretty average, O'Neill is OK but the rest are so-so and are sometime amusing as they get scanned.

    Overall though this is a classic cult film. The plot moves forward well enough although I would have liked more real life commentary from Cronenberg above the general "mental illness" metaphor that it acts as but his direction otherwise is good. The cast are mostly only OK but they do enough to keep the story moving while moments of horror and tension are well served up. Could have been better in several key areas but is still worth seeing.
  • comment
    • Author: Arador
    On the good side, the special exploding body effects are good and the "artist" scanner's sculptures are memorable and disturbing.

    On the bad side, the lead actor, Stephen Lack, has about the acting ability of a brick. I haven't seen acting this bad outside of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The movie moves slowly and fills the long spaces between action with overly involved exposition or pointless filler, and the "twist" at the end of the film is cheesy enough to make one cringe.

    Cronenberg is a great director, but only when he has a budget for something other than just special effects and only when he DOESN'T write the screenplay. Avoid.
  • comment
    • Author: virus
    Cameron Vale (played by artist Stephen Lack) is a derelict who, after a bizarre incident in a shopping mall, is rounded up by two goons who bring him to eminent doctor Paul Ruth (Patrick McGoohan). Paul reveals to Cameron the reality of his situation: Cameron is in fact a "Scanner", or a person with extraordinary telepathic abilities. Scanners can not only look into the minds of others, and manipulate them, but can also do very unpleasant things to human bodies. Paul recruits Cameron to help him track down Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside, in his breakthrough role), a rogue Scanner with plans for world domination.

    The late, great Dick Smith was the special consultant to the makeup effects crew (Stephan Dupuis, Chris Walas, Tom Schwartz), and it's these effects that take center stage in this interesting and bleak thriller from Canadian legend David Cronenberg. The exploding head that everybody remembers so vividly actually occurs only about 13 and a half minutes into the show, so viewers don't have long to wait. Of course, as has been pointed out, how does one top something like that? Well, Cronenberg waits until the end to come up with a pretty good showdown between good Scanner and bad Scanner.

    The pace is admittedly deliberate, but the ideas unfortunately don't feel completely fleshed out. Quite a bit of exposition is packed into the last act. The filming of this classic wasn't particularly enjoyable for Cronenberg as he *did* have to begin filming before his script was even finished, so he *was* unfortunately rushed. Still, his story is a damn entertaining and intense one.

    Howard Shores' music score is wonderfully over the top and scary, and sets and locations do have a very sparse look. The acting is variable; McGoohan looks bored, as if he doesn't really want to be there, and Jennifer O'Neill, while beautiful, doesn't really add anything to the film. Lack gets a lot of flak for his performance, which I'll agree isn't a particularly dynamic one, but it does suit the character, a man who was a lonely fringe dweller for a long time until being awakened into a larger reality. (Cronenberg does make an effective parallel here to the way that real life people with mental issues get treated.) Former Cronenberg repertory player Robert A. Silverman is fun in another of his offbeat parts, and Lawrence Dane is excellent as security chief Braedon Keller, but it's Ironside who completely steals the show as the nasty villain.

    While not without flaws, "Scanners" remains one of its directors' most memorable efforts to date.

    Seven out of 10.
  • comment
    • Author: Gna
    In a world populated among humans, there is a race of super-powered mutant human beings called "Scanners" who have a unique form of ESP that can read minds even destroy them literally including machines through telekinesis as well. Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) is a homeless Scanner who was minding his own business until he is to be given a task by a kind doctor named Paul Ruth (Patrick McGoohan) to hunt down an evil scanner named Daryl Revok (Michael Ironside). Joining with him is a female Scanner named Kim (Jennifer O'Neil) along his side they must try to track him and his goons down before he has a plan to take over the human race.

    A solid and underrated cult Science Fiction horror thriller from the brilliant David Cronenberg. Sure Stephen Lack's acting is very weak but the other actors like McGoohan and Ironside are just great aside from wooden Lack, i also love the realistic and gruesome make-up and gore effects by Dick Smith and Chris Wallace that still hold up today very realistically without CGI such as the famed exploding head scene everyone remembers. I also like Howard Shore's chilling music score long before his scores to "Silence of the Lambs" or "Lord of the Rings", the film is a metaphor on birth defects and how a drug can mutate a child into something different that they will grow up into even something dangerous. It also does offer a statement on humanity and how another race of being can be accepted or discriminated against sort of like how the "X-Men" movies worked out.

    It's definitely not for the squeamish but for those looking for a good thrilling and intelligent Sci-fi horror thriller then this is it.

    Also recommended: "Videodrome", "Akira", "Firestarter", "The Dead Zone (1983)", "Carrie", "Making Contact (a.k.a. Joey)", "Re-Animator", "Maniac (1980)", "The Brood", "The Fly (1986)", "The Toxic Avenger", "C.H.U.D.", "Dawn of the Dead (1978 and 2004)", "The X-Files 1 & 2", "X-Men Trilogy", "The Thing (1982)", "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", "Rabid", "Ichi The Killer", "Grindhouse", "Tokyo Gore Police", "The Shining", "From Beyond", "Brainstorm", "Altered States", "Blade Runner", "28 Days Later", "Return of the Living Dead 3", "28 Weeks Later", "Day of the Dead (1985)", "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky", "ExistenZ", "Suspect Zero", "The Gift", "Tetsuo The Iron Man", "Hulk", "The Incredible Hulk (2008)", "Cannibal Apocalypse", "Inside", "Twilight Zone The Movie", "Final Destination Series", "Tourist Trap", "Chopping Mall", "Halloween III: Season of the Witch", "The Blob (1988)", "An American Werewolf in London", "Pyrokinesis", "Battle Royale" and "The Hills Have Eyes (2006)".
  • comment
    • Author: Vispel
    You didn't need a lot of money back then to put together the very best of the best. You who are putting together films today, take note and look back. You might be able to put together something just as good as this. I doubt it, I haven't seen anything this good today. This was one awesome ride! WOW! WATCH >>>>>>>>>>>>GUARD YOUR HEAD!
  • comment
    • Author: Runeshaper
    David Cronenberg's Scanners is a very original and well made thriller that is a head exploding good time. This flick deals with people with special telepathic and telekinetic abilities known as Scanners. The government is studying them and there is a rogue Scanner that wants to use his powers to rule the world(Michael Ironside). Ironside is great here as baddie Darryl Revok and is one of my favorite on screen villans. While the film is classified mainly as horror, this has elements of sci fi and a high tech thrillers as well. Scanners is a pretty intense and cerebral film that delivers on suspense and gore. Along with other Cronenberg classics like The Brood and Videodrome, this is very much a thinking person's horror that is very original and effective that separates itself from a lot of dumb and generic slashers at the time. Scanners holds up well and is highly recommended to aficionados of horror and science fiction that haven't seen this. Excellent.
  • comment
    • Author: Gaxaisvem
    What are Scanners?

    Scanners are freaks of nature, born with a certain form of ESP; able to control minds and damage bodies at their will.

    Scanners is a mysterious, brooding film with good cinematography and a dark atmosphere to keep it going. Maybe I expected too little of this; I thought it was just going to be a fun B-movie from the 80's, which it is. But yet it feels more than that. I think this film is a lot like Inception and the original Highlander movie, a mysterious film that quickly unfolds over the course of the film. At the start, we see a man eat some leftovers from a table, and an old woman is seen gossiping insults about him. The man stares at her, and suddenly she goes into a major seizure. Suddenly, men in suits start chasing after the man through the mall, and you ask yourself, who are these people? What's going on?!

    The entire film is like this one scene, which is what makes this such a masterpiece. David Cronenberg should be proud of this achievement he made in 1981, a suspenseful, eerie and mysterious film that never loses it's own grip on the pacing. Overall, because of the greatness of this film, I just had to rate it a 10/10. An absolute masterpiece, recommended.
  • comment
    • Author: HelloBoB:D
    Shock specialist David Cronenberg brings us this above average terror film , that he wrote as well as filmed . There are 4 billion people on earth , 237 are Scanners. They have the most terrifying powers ever created and they are winning . A scientist (Patrick McGoohan) sends a man named Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him . They have superpowers who can read and explode brains ; in addition , they can inflict enormous pain/damage on their victims . Then , there takes place a lethal war among a bunch of potent persons with extrasensory powers , the good boys led by Cameron (Stephen Lack) and the bad guys commanded by Revok (Michael Ironside) .

    Interesting and formidable Cronenberg film plenty of thrills , shocking scenes , suspense , intrigue , plot twists and being slightly entertaining , though sometimes slow-moving and receives a rather plodding treatment. The main theme of the film was taken from William S. Burroughs' 1959 novel 'Naked Lunch' , as it contains a chapter concerning "Senders", a hostile organization of Telepaths bent on world domination, a clear literary inspiration for this film . Dazzling , hypnotic entertainment that poses a challenge to its viewers , it was deemed extremely graphic for its time with some eerie scenes as when heads explode . Occasionally confusing but otherwise excellent film , portraying a peculiar ring with psychical powers . Hightlights of the picture are its first shocking scene in which a role's head blows up , spewing bone, flesh and blood all over and of course , the creepy final confrontation among protagonists. Good special effects and make-up made by expert Dick Smith and his helper Chris Wallas, the exploding head scene was accomplished by filling a latex head with dog food and rabbit livers, and shooting it from behind with a 12-gauge shotgun . The picture was well and originally directed by David Cronenberg who delivers his goods with solid skill . However , Cronenberg once called this the most frustrating film he'd ever made. The film was rushed through production , filming had to begin without a finished script and end within roughly two months so the financing would qualify as a tax write-off, forcing Cronenberg to write and shoot at the same time. Cronenberg also cited difficulty with and antagonism between the leads, particularly Patrick McGoohan and Jennifer O'Neill.

    It was followed by various sequels , in which Cronenberg had no connection to his 1981 flick , these are the followings : ¨Scanners 2 : The New Order ¨ by Christian Duguay with David Hewlett , Deborah Raffin , Tom Butler and Raoul Trujillo ; ¨Scanners III: The Takeover¨ by Christian Duguay with Liliana Komorowska , Valérie Valois , Steve Parrish and Colin Fox ; ¨Scanner Cop¨ by Pierre David with Daniel Quinn , Darlanne Fluegel , Richard Grove , Mark Rolston and Richard Lynch, and ¨Scanner cop II , the showdown¨ by Steve Barnett with Daniel Quinn , Patrick Kilpatrick , Stephen Mendel and Robert Forster , among others .
  • comment
    • Author: anneli
    Scanners is one of those films that occasionally gets shown on terrestrial TV and when it does, I always try to see it. Yeah its dated -like many of the films that were made right at the end of the 70's or beginning of the 80's.

    It has to be said there is some poor acting especially from the terrible actor who played the lead role in Cameron Vale. A young Michael Ironside is perfectly cast however as the menacing Darryl Revok and Patrick McGoohan adds a bit of quality as the mysterious, flawed Doctor Ruth.

    The film starts off very well, but the second half is disappointing especially towards the end, what with Cameron Vale accessing a computer with his psychic powers (yes it was 1980- and films tended to be very exuberant about computers back then), and the disappointing way in which Dr Ruth and the corrupt informant Keller were killed off.

    The music creates a very dark and disturbing atmosphere throughout and the film ends with a gory psychic duel between Revok and Vale illustrating some of the dubious special effects. Yes it's flawed and weird at times but definitely worth seeing if you're into alternative thriller/horror movies. I give it 6/10.
  • comment
    • Author: Oparae
    Magnificently bad! And you won't have to see it all to get the best out of it, I reckon the first 6 minutes or so will do. I guess if you enjoy gurning competitions you might want to see more.

    The exploding head scene is fun, it starts out with the guy looking like John Cleese about to throw a fit, then he pops like a nice big liver-filled red balloon, loudly. Three rewinds to view the astoundingly unbespattered white desk and headless corpse mysteriously AWOL, and I'd laughed enough to know to quit while I was ahead. :) The acting at the start is odd, anyone who's seen any of the represented feelings and states of living will know these for the awful clichés that they are. To be fair, there's a scientist who should have been enlisted to play the Master in Doctor Who, but the rest look like relics from movies and attitudes 10 years earlier than when the movie was made, or more likely a slightly dim-witted idea of those times.

    I can't comment on the rest of the thing, as I didn't want to see any more.
  • comment
    • Author: Mustard Forgotten
    This film is famous for its head-exploding scene, but that fact may hurt it more than help, at least in retrospect. The scene occurs early in the film, and for all its conceptual beauty, the execution is technically sloppy--surprising, particularly since this is a David Cronenberg film. I'm a fan of most of Cronenberg's work, but in my eyes, Scanners is one of his big mistakes, albeit one that is oddly overrated by genre fans. But the primary reason the infamous scene hurts the film is that little else happens like it again, at least not until the very end, about an hour and a half later. For most of its running time, Scanners is very dated, oddly non-atmospheric, convoluted and ultimately boring low-budget science fiction dreck.

    It takes place in an alternate universe where an experimental drug has turned a number of people into telepaths who also can tap into psychokinesis when it comes to other humans' bodies and minds. There are a number of problems with this. The primary one is that Cronenberg, who also wrote the story and script, just plops us into the middle of a jargony world, with ominous government organizations, but with little backstory or explanation.

    Another problem with the premise is that a lot of the conflict involves people thinking dangerous things/doing ill will via thinking. It's a problem because thinking is something that we cannot observe or experience in others (except for scanners, none of whom will be watching the film). So what we're left with is watching scanners and their victims grimace in various ways, which end up looking like a combination of constipation, sexual ecstasy, and someone in the midst of a heart attack. Sans context--and we're not usually given enough context, that's not exactly fodder for dramatic tension; it more often has the effect of unintentional humor.

    There are also problems with the casting. Stephen Lack, who ends up being the protagonist, is oddly aloof and disengaging. He has all the charisma of the bare, clinically lit sets. Michael Ironside, as the chief antagonist, is better, but he's absent from the film for long periods of time, and he occasionally launches into bits of ridiculous overacting--maybe in an attempt to balance Lack's Mister Rogers-like drone. The rest of the cast is okay, but they're given mostly empty but ridiculous things to say.

    Unintentional humor will also creep up at this point in time with the science aspects of the film's science fiction. The computer subplot and the machinations/physics surrounding it are absurd (as they were in 1980, but most people were far less familiar with computers then), and the mention that the computer has a "nervous system" made me lament that Cronenberg didn't instead develop something like the game console from his superior film eXistenZ (1999).

    Cronenberg tries to spice things up with a few gun violence scenes and car chases/stunts, sometimes with thriller accoutrements. These scenes probably work better than any of the other material, but they're also very pedestrian, and feel like what they are--an attempt to wake the audience up from encroaching slumber.
  • comment
    • Author: Simple some movie admirers, this one is a keeper as well as a big favorite!! Anyways, released in 1981, this is the story of a man named Cameron Vale played by Stephen Lack. Like some like him, he possesses a power or a talent.....whichever you decide. He is introduced to Dr. Paul Ruth. A consultant at "Con Sec" who works with these persons known as "Scanners". He (Vale) is sent out into the world to find, convert & send over to ConSec. However, there is another Scanner by the name of Daryl Revok...played wonderfully by Michael Ironside who is on the same trail of other scanners but there's a twist. Revok is trying to convert other scanners to his cause.....but the ones who don't, well,......take it from there. Written & Directed by David Cronenberg, Scanners has made a name for itself ....especially in this one scene where a man (who works for ConSec) asks for volunteers to demonstrate the "scanning techniques". BE WARNED! This particular scene is NOT for the squeamish. Aside from that, Scanners is a movie that is sure to shock as well as scare you. I still have a 1st. edition VHS copy of this movie released on Embassy Home Video. It has since been released on DVD courtesy of MGM Home Video...and it's in Letterbox. This is a movie that definitely belongs in any collection. ....oh, by the way, Jennifer O'neill is as pretty as ever in this movie. Enjoy!!
  • comment
    • Author: Azago
    Looking at the other user comments, some choose to classify this movie as a horror movie and others as a sci - fi movie. This duality is understandable since Cronenburg draws on science to tell a horrifying story. Horror is to shock, to terrify and to create fear. Sci - fi is a form of fiction that deals principally with the impact of actual or imagined science upon society or individuals. Taking these definitions into consideration, it would be easy to say that this movie is sci - fi. However, this is not what I believe Cronenburg intended the movie to be. If you look at the scenes that made this movie into cult status, primarily the head exploding scene and the climatic scanner showdown, it is more probable that he intended this to be a horror movie illustrating the horror that man can create in pursuit of selfish gains. He wants to show the horror the body undergoes when science goes wrong or is misapplied. In this sense he well deserves his place of mention among horror icons such as King and Carpenter. But unlike most of his peers, he delivers a script of intelligence and creates believability even with the highly imaginative capabilities he has given his characters.

    There is obvious careful attention paid by Cronenburg to the scenes depicting gore. These scenes are never done as a cheap slasher scene, but as an opportunity to indicate the real horror the body undergoes when shot or burnt. This can be seen by how pieces of flesh spray out and blood splatters when people are shot. Although it may be slightly exaggerated, it is more horrifyingly realistic then how it is done in most movies where blood may just run down the body from the bullet's point of entry. Another example here is at the final scene where Cameron is battling Darryl. When his chest starts to melt, you can see the mixture of red with white thus indicating his blood is mixing with his body fat. Of course the head exploding scene has to be mentioned. The head appears to splay out as shredded remains and the blood appears extra thick as one may picture blood to be when the head explodes. This image is a cult horror scene.

    Some of the performances are noteworthy. First and foremost is Micheal Ironside who gives credibility to Darryl's megalomaniac intentions. You are either for him or you are going to die. You always believe this is what Darryl is and Ironside never falters in delivering. He is without doubt one of the world's best character actors ever. Feeling betrayed by the world for exploiting him and with vengeful intent towards a father who used him, he tries to get an ally in his brother. His brother was exploited as he was and this gives Darryl an identification with Cameron. But Cameron is not full of hate like his brother and sees Darryl as someone who needs to be stopped. This results in the very memorable finale scanner scene.

    Stephen Lack is much less memorable. Although his listlessness makes him a weaker opponent for Darryl, deliberate or not, it must be said that his acting is one of the weak points of the movie - not that there are many. Patrick Mcgoohan is good as the eccentric doctor. The only complaint that I have is the part where he is seemingly mentally tortured by the fact that the RIPE program is a full blown reality. His lines make it seem like a transparent attempt to show how an intellectual mind may crack. Lawrence Dane adds deliberate sinister intent to Keller. He seems in control and believes in what is doing. This makes him more dangerous. Jennifer O'Neil helps us to believe that she is the Scanner drawn into a battle she she does not want, but realizes that she has no choice but to stand and fight.

    The music by Howard Shore is without doubt a great contributing factor to the movies continued following. The opening score creates an image of impending horror while at the same time given it a futuristic sound to complement the sci - fi element of the film. Also the whirring of the tape drives sound like an ominous being about to reveal it's sinister contents. The opening score is used again during the climatic end scene thus adding to the impression that this is a battle between good and evil.

    The plot is rich and helps to generate authenticity for the characters. Even though some of the scanner's powers really test suspension of disbelief, the story still moves along smoothly and is kept ever interesting especially as Darryl's intentions towards mankind are revealed.

    When considering all the above factors, it is no wonder that even after over twenty years it remains a movie worth viewing. The only problem may be the outdated computer technology. But this may have it's own advantages since the scrolling green lines give it more authenticity due to the fact that it implies that the author of these files was only interested in the subject matter and not glossy appeal which indicates more methodical intent. This effect would be lost given the use of today's graphic rich programs.
  • comment
    • Author: Raniconne
    "In Nature, there is an accessible element and an inaccessible." - Goethe

    Due to several of Canada's film financing regulations, David Cronenberg began work on "Scanners" with little preparation and without a completed script. The film's eventual screenplay – generic, conventional and easy - was hastily cobbled together even as scenes were being shot. Until 1986, it was Cronenberg's most profitable film.

    The plot: Dr. Paul Ruth creates Ephemerol, a tranquilliser for pregnant women. Ephemerol has the unfortunate side-effect of creating "scanners", offspring with telekinetic and telepathic powers. Cameron Vale is one such scanner. He's recruited by Ruth in an attempt to develop psychic weapons. Unfortunately a group of evil scanners, led by the sinister Darryl Revok, hatch a plot to control all scanners and take over the world. Revok and Vale – one good scanner, one bad – are then revealed to be the sons of Dr Ruth. The brothers face off in a telepathic battle in which Vale dies, but not before switching minds with Revok.

    "Scanners" works well as a trashy B-movie; a brain-busting sci-fi comic book in the vein of John Carpenter's movies, DePalma's "The Fury" or Cameron's "The Terminator". Cronenberg adds some Greek tragedy – daddy births two sons, the good of which survives but with evil potential forever locked within – but mostly "Scanners" is interesting for its links to later Cronenberg.

    And so like many of Cronenberg's films, "Scanners" deals clunkyly with Cartesian dualism (essentially refuted in the 17th century) and what has come to be known as "the mind-body problem". This "hard problem" encompasses a range of issues (is there a mind? Are minds and bodies distinct? How can the immaterial causally interact with the material? How can you bring mental phenomena into a unified conception of objective reality? etc) but what "Scanners" mostly focuses on is causality: is it the mind or body which is responsible for effect? So while Descartes believed that the body and mind, or flesh and spirit, exist as distinct substances, the body governed by physical laws of nature and the mind by a pure, personal will which lords over all that is physical, Cronenberg's early films tend to critique Cartesian binaries and warn against an over-privileging of the mind as an agent of pure intention. Consider "The Fly", in which a scientist's body rebels against a mind that seeks total autonomy and "M. Butterfly", in which a homosexual's disconnect between body and mind results in a set of delusions and neuroses which can only be resolved by acknowledging both. Meanwhile, with "Scanners" we have an army of "world changers" who misperceive their heads as being the source of causation, telekinesis and physical manipulation. Like Desartes, they believe their brains literally move the world. Their delusions are then dismantled as the film progresses, their "mind powers" peeled back to reveal that causality lies elsewhere: the manipulations of others, daddy's will, DNA, the chemicals pumping through their bodies, the drugs ingested by their parents, outside, social forces, and Ephemerol (ironic, a drug designed to "paralyse" causing "super-action"), a drug which conjures up epiphenomenalism, the philosophical position which states that the mind/brain has no effect upon physical events. The film reverses Cronenberg's "Shivers", "Rabid" and "Fly" - in which technologically mutated bodies produce knock-on psychological mutations – and joins films like "The Brood" and "Videodrome", in which altered states in the brain produce new, bizarre and grotesque somantic states.

    Techno-cults and weird, quasi-religious sects are common in Cronenberg's filmography, but dualism itself seems to be a sort of rationalisation of Christianity's core myths. That is, the belief that man was expelled from paradise and cast into a fleshy world of sin, mortality and diseased matter, the latter in which our souls are supposedly encased. As science gradually replaced Christianity, however, such thinking was "rationalised" into Cartesian dualism (the spirit becomes the mind, the body the object of sin), before the concept was dropped altogether in favour for a kind of materialist reductionism. Here, all mental phenomena become illusory by-products of chemical and electrical activity, the world and our bodies move from being seen as corrupt to being seen as essentially meaningless, disease becomes a mechanical glitch, and all connections and correlations made between the mental and the physical are seen as being irrelevant or superstitious. The danger of this, of course, is the denial of the outside, of social causation, a depoliticization of science/medicine and a reinforcement of Capital's drive towards atomistic individualisation; everything outside the body is now irrelevant. Take a pill instead.

    Today the "hard problem" is veering toward quantum physics, some "explaining" consciousness with the "quantum consciousness hypothesis", which rejects classical mechanics. One of the ideas here is that an unobserved system behaves or evolves in a purely deterministic fashion, and that during this period it exists as a "superposition" of all possible experimental outcomes. Only when one measures or observes the system does this state collapse and provide a specific value for the measurement, though quantum mechanics itself does not offer a specific cause for this collapse. Regardless, the idea is that the division between "system" and "observer" is akin to our own minds, which themselves cause quantum collapses. Prior to the action of our minds, a system exists as a superposition of all outcomes that are compatible with the laws of physics. Our mind then exercises will by choosing a potential outcome. Quantum uncertainty (conveniently for believers, no experimental tests can reveal the actions of a quantum mind) then produces pure randomness in non-living systems and apparent free will in living systems. The main argument against the quantum mind proposition is that quantum states in the brain would decohere before they reached a spatial or temporal scale, at which they could be useful for neural processing.

    7.9/10 – Worth one viewing.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Jennifer O'Neill Jennifer O'Neill - Kim Obrist
    Stephen Lack Stephen Lack - Cameron Vale (as Steven Lack)
    Patrick McGoohan Patrick McGoohan - Dr. Paul Ruth
    Lawrence Dane Lawrence Dane - Braedon Keller
    Michael Ironside Michael Ironside - Darryl Revok
    Robert A. Silverman Robert A. Silverman - Benjamin Pierce (as Robert Silverman)
    Larry Perkins Larry Perkins - Security One (as Lee Broker)
    Mavor Moore Mavor Moore - Trevellyan
    Adam Ludwig Adam Ludwig - Arno Crostic
    Murray Cruchley Murray Cruchley - Programmer 1 (as Lee Murray)
    Fred Doederlein Fred Doederlein - Dieter Tautz
    Géza Kovács Géza Kovács - Killer in Record Store (as Geza Kovacs)
    Sonny Forbes Sonny Forbes - Killer in Attic (as Sony Forbes)
    Jérôme Tiberghien Jérôme Tiberghien - Killer in Attic (as Jerome Tiberghien)
    Denis Lacroix Denis Lacroix - Killer in Barn
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