REVIEW: SCANNERS III: THE TAKEOVER

CAST

Liliana Komorowska (Screamers)
Valérie Valois  (Lava Storm)
Steve Parrish (Grave Matters)
Cooin Fox (Goosebumps)
Daniel Pilon (Plague)
Michael Copeman (Highlander: The Raven)

Helena Monet (Liliana Komorowska), a Scanner is troubled by the painful side-effects of her telepathic powers. This drives her to try her adoptive father’s untested, experimental drug called Eph-3 (pronounced “F3”), a variant of the drug Ephemerol prescribed to Scanners to help attenuate the myriad voices (representing the thoughts of people around them) which their natural, inborn telepathy otherwise forces them to hear. Her use of Eph-3 causes her to lose her sense of moral conscience, making her into a megalomaniac. She kills her father (Colin Fox) and takes over his pharmaceutical company. Her long-lost adopted brother Alex, also a Scanner, is alerted to her dangerous behavior and attempts to stop her.scanners202As her rise to power and desire for global dominance gains momentum, her brother must fend off the attackers whom she has sent after him and ultimately defeat his sister to save the world.ScannersScanners III: The Takeover is not a bad movie. The plot is well constructed through a tight screenplay; the story has a great villain; the acting is reasonable for a movie directly released on video.

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REVIEW: SCANNERS II: THE NEW ORDER

CAST

David Hewlett (Stargate: Atlantis)
Deborah Raffin (The Dove)
Yvan Ponton (Slap Shot)
Isabelle Mejias  (Meatballs III)
Tom Butler (Josie and The Pussycats)
Raoul Trujillo (Highlander III)
Vlasta Vrána (Rabid)

During one of his classes, a young veterinarian intern named David Kellum (David Hewlett) discovers that he has mental abilities to read and control minds of others. When he moves from his country home to the city to continue his studies, he finds difficulty in controlling himself: the congestion of many minds and the ability to hear voices overwhelm him. He stumbles across a store robbery and kills the gunman with his mind. Police Commander John Forrester watches the store’s security tape and plans to enlist David to work for him. He tells David that he knows what he is: a Scanner. And, there are others like him around the world. He asks for David’s help in tracking down elusive criminals and David agrees.scanners202After capturing a man who put strychnine in milk containers throughout the city, Forrester introduces David to Peter Drak, another Scanner who also works for him. Drak proves to be more aggressive when it comes to using his powers. Forrester teaches David techniques by using Drak as a test subject. Drak considers Kellum an enemy but is injected with the drug Eph2, a variant of Ephemerol. It calms him down before he could harm David. The drug Ephemerol was what originally created Scanners. It was administered to ease expecting mother’s discomfort in the 50’s. Its side effect caused babies to develop into Scanners. Forrester tells David that although Eph2 manages to calm a Scanner’s mind, the drug is addictive and that he should never use it. Forrester encourages him to develop and control his mental abilities on his own.ScannersDavid feels he has accomplished something by helping with law enforcement. His feeling changes when Forrester orders him to control the mayor and have her announce Forrester as the next Chief of Police. Forrester reassures him that it is the best choice for everyone and together they can stop all crimes. David, feeling guilty, disagrees and questions Forrester’s agenda. He explains to the mayor how he forced her to appoint Forrester and apologizes. They then plan a way to remove Forrester from office. David tells Forrester that he is quitting, so Forrester has Drak attack David and kill the mayor before she can react. David escapes and hides at his parents’s home. He asks his parents about his abilities, and they tell him that he was adopted. They explain that his birth parents were Cameron Vale and Kim Obrist (Stephen Lack and Jennifer O’Neill, respectively, from the first film Scanners). Vale and Obrist told them about his abilities and that he was in danger. They took David in as their own. David needs to go for a walk but while he is gone, Drak and his accomplices kill David’s mother and leave David’s father for dead. When David returns, his father tells him about his older sister, Julie Vale. He leaves his father with paramedics and begin searching for his sister.scanners2-4He finds Julie in a secluded cabin. She confirms who she is and explains that their parents were killed by Forrester for resisting him. She also states that her former boyfriend Walter agreed to test the earlier version of Ephemerol and was one of the first Scanner to use the drug, a more unstable version. Walter was kidnapped by Forrester and never seen again. Julie agrees to help David. Together they go to Forrester’s secret compound and discover that Walter is alive and is one of the test subjects with addiction in Eph2. Julie and David disable the perimeter guards. But, once inside, Julie is tranqilized by a dart. David leaves her behind to destroy the research and free the test subject Scanners.ScannersDrak attacks David in the test subject quarters. Drak almost succeeds in killing him, but is stopped by a combined attack by all test subjects, which drains away Drak’s life force. This reverses the physical damage all addicted Scanners were suffering from, as well as David’s injuries from Drak’s attack. Forrester arrives on the scene, in response to David and Julie’s assault. Television news reporters and camera crews also show up. He denies the existence of Scanners and his connection to the mayor’s death. With his power, David forces Forrester to admit his involvement and motivation before camera. Afterward, Forrester grabs a gun and tries to shoot David, but David and Julie deform Forrester with telekinesis: everything was caught on tape. David then announces that Scanners mean no harm and wish to live in peace.scanners202If you loved the first film, you have to give this one a try. It is very entertaining, great character development and delivers in the gore factor department.

REVIEW: SCANNERS

CAST

Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Jennifer O’Neill (Summer of ’42)
Stephen Lack (Dead Ringers)
Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner)
Lawrence Dane (The Creeper)
Robert A. Silverman (The Brood)

Private security firm ConSec plans to showcase a powerful new potential weapon: “scanners”, psychics with telepathy, mind-control, and telekinesis. However, when ConSec’s scanner demonstrates his powers, the volunteer turns out to be a more powerful scanner, who causes the ConSec scanner’s head to explode. When ConSec officials attempt to take the “volunteer” into custody, he kills them and escapes.Stung by this embarrassing experience, ConSec security head Braedon Keller advocates shutting down ConSec’s scanner research program. Program head Dr. Paul Ruth disagrees, saying the assassination and escape demonstrate scanning’s potential. Ruth attributes the operation to an evil scanner named Darryl Revok who, Ruth says, has his own underground network of scanners competing with ConSec’s program. He argues that ConSec should recruit scanners to their cause to infiltrate and bring down Revok’s group. Dr. Ruth brings in scanner Cameron Vale, a homeless social outcast driven mad by his undisciplined power, and injects him with ephemerol, which temporarily inhibits his scanning ability and restores his sanity. When Vale’s mind is clear, Ruth asks for his help, explaining that Vale is a scanner and Revok is killing all scanners who refuse to join him. Under Ruth’s guidance, Vale learns to control his scanning abilities.Unknown to Dr. Ruth, ConSec’s security head, Keller, works for Revok as a spy. Revok learns of Ruth’s infiltration plan and dispatches assassins to follow Vale as he visits an unaffiliated scanner named Benjamin Pierce, who may know Revok’s whereabouts. Revok’s assassins brutally shoot Pierce to death. Enraged, Vale uses his telepathic power to kill the assassins. As Pierce dies, Vale reads from his mind a name—Kim Obrist. Vale tracks down Obrist, who has formed a telepathic alliance with a group of other scanners in opposition to Revok’s group. Vale attends a meeting, but Revok’s assassins strike again; only Vale and Obrist survive. Scanning an assassin, Vale learns of a drug company, which he then infiltrates. He finds large quantities of ephemerol are being distributed under a computer program called “Ripe”, run by Revok himself through ConSec. Vale and Obrist return to ConSec, where Ruth suggests Vale scan the computer system to learn more about the Ripe program. Meanwhile, Keller attacks Obrist and kills Dr. Ruth while Vale and Obrist flee the ConSec building.Vale accesses the computer network through a telephone and pulls ephemerol shipment information. When Keller discovers this, he orders the computer system shut down while Vale is scanning it; Keller hopes to harm or kill Vale by doing so. The plan backfires and the computer explodes, killing Keller and leaving Vale and Obrist unharmed. They visit a doctor on the list of ephemerol recipients, where Obrist discovers a pregnant woman’s fetus has scanned her. Vale realizes ephemerol also causes fetuses to become scanners when administered to pregnant women. Obrist and Vale are ambushed by Revok’s men and abducted.Revok reveals to Vale ephemerol was originally developed by Dr. Ruth as a tranquilizer for pregnant women. Ruth learned about the drug’s side-effect by providing it to his wife during her pregnancies. Revok reveals that he and Vale are brothers and Dr. Ruth was their father. Because their mother received the highest dose of ephemerol, Revok and Vale are the most powerful scanners. By mass distributing ephemerol to unwitting doctors, who prescribe it to their pregnant patients, Revok plans to create a new generation of scanners to take over the world, which he will control. Revok asks Vale to join him, but Vale refuses. The two have a final telepathic battle against one another; Vale’s body is incinerated, but his mind takes over Revok’s body. Obrist enters the room to find Vale’s charred body on the floor. She hears Vale’s voice coming from the corner of the room. In the corner is Revok—but his head scar is gone and he now has Vale’s eyes. He faces Obrist and announces in Vale’s voice, “We’ve won.”ScannersScanners of course features one of the most infamous shots in horror history- the exploding head and it still pretty much packs a punch over 30 years later. Some small plot holes aside the movie runs at a good pace and is never boring and lead actor Stephen Lack does well. Far from perfect but certainly one of Cronenberg’s better offerings.