Movie Reviews 252 – Scanner Cop (1994)

Scanner CopWhat do you get when you combine Scanners and Maniac Cop? Scanner Cop!

David Cronenberg’s Scanners set the bar for pulsating mind control and exploding heads (the two are not mutually exclusive) and this late entry in the Scanner series is considered a spin-off rather that a direct sequel. The movie takes place in a world established by Scanners (and it’s sequels) where ‘psionics’ exist, people with the ability to ‘scan’ the thoughts of others but whose ability can lead to insanity if left unrestrained, which can be remedied by taking pills.

When young Sam’s psionic father spirals into poverty, disillusionment and paranoia, he finally loses control one night when he no longer has the resources to buy the pills for either himself or Sam that would allow them to remain sane and temper their scanning abilities. Samuel is then adopted by one of the cops who answered the call on the night his father dies after seeing imaginary miniature clones of himself erupting from his forehead (a special effects shot not to be missed).

Now a young man, Sam’s father, now police chief, makes sure Sam maintains a daily dose of the anti-scanning pills and he grows up to be an upstanding citizen that then joins the ranks of the police force himself. All is well for new recruit beat cop when a sudden cop killing spree begins, the most puzzling aspect being that in all cases the perpetrators are people who’ve never shown any signs of bad behaviour and have all lived or works closely with cops for years. The killers are semi catatonic after they kill the cops and in some cases claim to have killed after thinking the cops are some form of threat to them, even monstrous creatures.

With the aid of department psychologist is trying to puzzle out the mystery, Sam is faced with a choice of skipping his daily dose of pills so that he can leverage his psionic powers to find the perpetrators creating unwary cop killers.

Directed by Pierre David who not only produced all the Scanner movies but many of Cronenberg’s other movies including Videodrome and The Brood, this was his first stint in the Director’s chair. Unfortunately this a also a problem as his directorial skill set is not up to par with the likes of Cronenberg. But if you want a good head exploding romp in the psionic preserve, this will fill the bill.

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