THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
"SCANNERS II: THE NEW ORDER and SCANNERS III: THE TAKEOVER"
In 1981, David Cronenberg released a horror movie called Scanners, about people with telekinetic powers. It was generally well-received. The film had an image that went on to become iconic in the horror realm. During the big conclusion, one scanner makes a man's head explode. It was an effect unlike anything audiences had seen before. Scanners was popular enough to spawn two sequels, neither of which Cronenberg was involved with. Those follow-ups, Scanners II: The New Order and Scanners III: The Takeover, have been combined for a double feature Blu-Ray, hitting stores Sept. 17, courtesy of Scream Factory.
Scanners II: The New Order - Released in 1991, Scanners II is the story of David Kellum (David Hewlett), a young man who discovers that he has telekinetic powers. After using them to foil a store robbery, David is targeted by John Forrester (Yvan Ponton), a corrupt police commissioner who wants to use scanners to seize power from city officials. David eventually realizes that Forrester is up to no good and, with the help of his adopted sister (Deborah Raffin), who is also a scanner, plots to bring him down. Oh, and someone's head explodes in the process, of course. Scanners II is a little self-serious, and occasionally unintentionally goofy (e.g. a subplot about David using his powers to find a sicko who has been poisoning milk.) There are a few mildly clever moments in which the scanning power is used, but that's about it.
Scanners III: The Takeover - Part three, also from 1991, is a little more fun, as it incorporates a slapstick restaurant striptease, a Thai martial arts fight, and a creative death via revolving door. (Plus, the requisite head explosion!) The plot involves a female scanner named Helena Monet (Liliana Komorowska) who begins taking an experimental drug created by her father, hoping to fend off the massive headaches brought on by her powers. Instead, it turns her into a ruthless tyrant with plans to control the world by broadcasting her scanning power over television airwaves. Her scanner brother Alex (Steve Parrish) returns from a self-imposed exile to stop her. The gore effects in Scanners III are quite good, as is the stunt work during a motorcycle chase. There's even a dash of social satire in the way the film suggests the potentially corrupting nature of television. Of course, the plot is still extremely silly, and a fair amount of the running time is devoted to actors making funny faces at one another as they engage in scanning. It's at least good for a few laughs, though. No one will ever suggest that Scanners III is anywhere close to being on par with Cronenberg's original, but there is certainly a respectable amount of corny B-movie fun contained within it.
Scanners II: The New Order and Scanners III: The Takeover both look pretty decent on the Blu-Ray, despite their low-budget origins, and it's cool to have them together on one disc. For more details on this release, please check out the Scream Factory website.
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