Thursday, September 8, 2016

Psychic Brain Exploding Canadians, or Thoughts on Scanners

Scanners (1981), written and directed by David Cronenberg aka Canada’s David Lynch (who you could easily call David Lynch America’s David Cronenberg), comes from his early body horror sci-fi phase along with movies like Rabid (1977) and Videodrome (1983).  All of Cronenberg’s movies take place in a dystopian alternate universe, a subtly deceptive Canada where everything’s the same but there’s odd tweaks in the world with medical experiments, mutations, the evolution of man and machine and in Scanners, a generation of telekinetic killers hiding in plain sight.
Stephen Lack stars as Cameron Vale, a crazy homeless scanner causing random seizures in shopping malls, before his natural abilities are enhanced by Patrick “Number 6” McGoohan as Dr. Ruth, the director of ConSec, a shadowy security firm.  Cameron is damaged by his abilities, and unable to control the cacophony of thoughts around him.  Dr. Ruth uses a regimen of drugs and therapy to help him focus and turn the volume down, and then recruits him to infiltrate a group of renegade scanners.  ConSec of course, wants to create a private scanner army of psychic soldiers.
Jennifer O’Neil from Summer of ’42 (1971) and The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975) portrays Kim Obrist, a good scanner, let’s call her one of the leaders of the scanner resistance (it is a Canadian dystopian psychic spy thriller, after all).  Canadian actor Michael Ironside who you know from Top Gun 1986, Total Recall (1991), Starship Troopers (1997), Terminator Salvation (2009) as Darryl Revok, the bad scanner, in one of his most acclaimed roles.
The infamous ConSec demonstration special effects were created by Hollywood legend Dick Smith, who was responsible for Brando’s makeup in The Godfather (1972), The Exorcist (1973), Ghost Story (1981), Altered States (1980), The Sentinel (1977), The Hunger (1983), and his final film, the House On Haunted Hill (1999) remake.  However most of the mind control effects were relatively simple to portray with acting, editing and the haunting soundtrack by another Hollywood legend, Howard Shore.




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).